Philosophy Professor at UNC Chapel Hill
Class Times: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2.30-4pm
Location: Psychology Building 251
Course Website: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~grussell/Phil327.html
Instructor: Professor Gillian Russell
Office hours: Monday 1-2pm or by appointment
Office Location: 209 Wilson Hall
Email: grussell – at – wustl – dot – edu
Teaching Assistant: John Gabriel
Office Hours: TBA
Office Location: downstairs in Wilson Hall
(go right at the bottom of the stairs and continue along to
the double doors at the end of the corridor)
Email: jgabriel – at – artsci – dot – 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.
Readings marked are in the course textbook. All others will be made available on the a-res page for the course.
Introduction to the course.
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)
Inverse Gambler’s Fallacy: The Argument from Design – Ian Hacking, Mind, 96: 331–340 (a-res) http://www.jstor.org/stable/2254310
Mysticism (extract from The Varieties of Religious Experience) – William James (1902)
The Wager (extract from Pensees) – Blaise Pascal (lived 1623-1662)
The Ethics of Belief – W.K.Clifford (1877)
The Will to Believe – William James (1879)
Optional extra reading: Al Hayek – "Waging War on Pascal’s Wager" http://philreview.dukejournals.org/cgi/reprint/112/1/27
MIDTERM EXAMINATION (IN CLASS)
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 spring break 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)
Pascal Boyer, author of Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought, will present some of his work and answer your questions. It’s very important that you read his paper (on a-res) beforehand.
The Logic of Omnipotence – Harry Frankfurt (1964)
Science vs Religion – Richard Dwarkins (1996)
Nonoverlapping Magisteria – Stephen Jay Gould (1997)
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 Thursday, February 4th
40% – midterm examination on Thursday, March 4th
40% – long paper (2000 words max) (due Thursday, May 6th)
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-.