Philosophy Professor at UNC Chapel Hill
Class Times: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2.30-4pm
Location: Rebstock 215
Course Website: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~grussell/Phil327F2010.htm
The course website is the best place to find information about the course, including readings, written assignments, exams and deadlines.
Instructor: Professor Gillian Russell
Office hours: Tuesdays 4-5pm or by appointment
Office Location: 209 Wilson Hall
Email: grussell – at – wustl – dot – edu
This course is an introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. We will study some classic arguments and texts, beginning with the standard arguments
for and against the existence of a god or gods. Readings will include seminal work by Plato, Anselm, Aquinas, Pascal, Hume and Nietzsche as well as the writings of contemporary philosophers, such as David Lewis, Harry Frankfurt and Peter van Inwagen.
The textbook for this course is Philosophy of Religion: an anthology (5th edition) edited by Pojman and Rea, (ISBN 978-0495095040.) It is the only text you will need to buy. Second hand copies are fine. Any additional required reading will be available on a-res: http://library.wustl.edu/reservesinfo.html. You should bring this text to each class.
Readings marked are in the course textbook. All others will be made available on the a-res page for the course.
As some of you already know, I will be having surgery on my knee on October 8th, and so will be away for some classes that I had not intended to be away for, and will in fact be here for some classes that I had intended to be gone for (because I’ve cancelled some talks that I had scheduled.) This new version of the schedule incorporates the changes that I have made so as to minimise disruption to the class – it replaces the original syllabus which I handed out on the first day of class. The most significant change is that the midterm has been moved up to Thursday 14th October. I will not be holding office hours on Monday 11th October, but since this is just before your exam I will schedule an extra office hour for 4pm on Thursday 7th October. I will also remain available via email, so feel free to get in touch if you have questions. Thanks for your patience and understanding.
Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion.
St. Anselm, The Ontological Argument – Saint Anselm (1033-1109)
Gaunilo’s Criticism (from A Reply on Behalf of the Fool) – Gaunilo of Marmoutiers (11th C)
A Critique of the Ontological Argument (extract from The Critique of Pure Reason) – Immanuel Kant (1781/1787)
The Five Ways (extract from Summa Theologiae) – Thomas Aquinas (1274)
The Argument from Contingency – Samuel Clarke (1705)
A Critique of the Cosmological Argument – Paul Edwards (1959)
The Watch and the Watchmaker – William Paley (1802)
A Critique of the Design Argument (extract from Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion) – David Hume (1779)
A Scientific Argument for the Existence of God – Robin Collins (1999)
Extract from Dawkins’ The God Delusion (ares)
Mysticism (extract from The Varieties of Religious Experience) – William James (1902)
The Wager (extract from Pensees) – Blaise Pascal (lived 1623-1662)
Optional extra reading: Al Hayek – "Waging War on Pascal’s Wager" http://philreview.dukejournals.org/cgi/reprint/112/1/27
The Ethics of Belief – W.K.Clifford (1877)
The Will to Believe – William James (1879)
The Argument from Evil (extract from Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion) – David Hume (1779)
Theodicy: A defense of Theism – Gottfried Leibniz (1710)
Rebellion (extract from the Brothers Karamazov) – Fyodor Dostoevsky (1880)
Optional extra reading: Candide – the short novel by Voltaire (1759) (you’ll need to buy a copy of this http://www.amazon.com/Candide-Dover-Thrift-Editions-Voltaire/dp/0486266893/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263883589&sr=8-2)
J. L. Mackie – Evil and Omnipotence (1955)
"Divine Evil," David Lewis (2001) in Philosophers Without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life, edited by Louise Anthony, OUP (Oxford, 2007.) This article is a little more difficult than most of the rest of the reading.
Against Miracles (extract from An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding) – David Hume (1748)
Of ‘Of Miracles’ – Peter van Inwagen (1998)
The Logic of Omnipotence – Harry Frankfurt (1964)
Science vs Religion – Richard Dwarkins (1996)
Nonoverlapping Magisteria – Stephen Jay Gould (1997)
Extract from Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought (2002)
Morality and Religion (extract from the Euthyphro) – Plato (lived 428/427BC– 348/347BC)
Extract from On the Genealogy of Morals – Frederich Nietzsche (1887) (a-res)
"If God is dead, is everything permitted?" Elizabeth Anderson (2007) in Philosophers Without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life, edited by Louise Anthony, OUP (Oxford, 2007.) This article is a little more difficult than most of the rest of the reading.
20% – short paper (400 words max.) due Friday, September 17th. For this paper you will chose your own topic. It should be closely related to one of the issues we’ve studied. Feel free to run your idea by me before you get started.
40% – midterm examination on Thursday, October 14th
40% – long paper (2000 words max) (due Thursday, 16th December – the first day of exam week.) For this paper you may choose your own topic, but I will also be giving out a list of suggested topics.
There is no final exam.
Students suspected of plagiarism or any other form of academic dishonesty or misconduct will be reported to the academic integrity officer for Arts and Sciences (currently Dean Killen), so that the incident may be handled in a consistent, fair manner, and so that substantiated charges of misconduct may be noted in students’ records.
For students taking the course pass/fail, the minimum letter grade required for a pass will be a C-.