Phil 3600: Philosophy of Religion

Spring 2018

Course Syllabus

Schedule (subject to change!)

Below is a tentative schedule of what topics we will cover, and what reading(s) you should complete BEFORE each class meeting.

M, Jan 15 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day- No Class
Suggested Video: “I Have a Dream” speech

W, Jan 17

Lecture Topic: About this course—An Intro to Philosophy of Religion
Reading assignment: None

F, Jan 19

A Brief Intro to Philosophy, its Methods, and its Relation to Religion
Reread course syllabus

M, Jan 22

Thinking Critically and Avoiding Bias
Reading: Mike Huemer “Why People are Irrational about Politics
Suggested film: Idiocracy

W, Jan 24

Philosophy's Methods continued
Reread: Mike Huemer “Why People are Irrational about Politics

F, Jan 26

A Crash Course in Epistemology: Truth, Evidence and Knowledge
Reading:This Is Philosophy Chapter 7, part I (p. 223-246) 

M, Jan 29

A Crash Course in Logic (validity, soundness, etc.)
Reading: Pike "Logic Primer"
Suggested reading: Layman, “Logic Ch.1” 

W, Jan 31

Epistemology: Knowledge and Sources of Justification
No new reading assigned.

F, Feb 2 Logic Review Day (Optional)
Reading: Pike "Logic Primer"
Suggested reading: Layman, “Logic Ch.1” 
Suggested TV show: “Sherlock” or “Elementary”

M, Feb 5

Justification, Scripture, and Evidence
No new reading

W, Feb 7 

The Idea and Attributes of God
Reading: Rowe "The Idea of God"

F, Feb 9 The Idea and Attributes of God- Continued
Reread Rowe "The Idea of God"
Humerous(?) Reading: Flying Spaghetti Monster
M, Feb 12

Rowe- The Idea of God (continued)

W, Feb 14

Arguments for God’s existence: Pragmatic Arguments-Pascal's Wager
Reading: Pascal "Pensées" (1669, excerpt)
Reading: Alan Hajek SEP Article Pascal's Wager(section 1-3)

F, Feb 16 Finish Pascal's Wager
Reading: finish Alan Hajek SEP (Section 4 to the end)

M, Feb 19

Ontological Argument
Reading: St. Anselm "Proslogion" (excerpt, 1077)
Gaunilo's reply "On Behalf of the Fool"
Anselms reply to Gaunilo

W, Feb 21

Ontological Argument: Responses
Readings: Kant: Critique of Pure Reason (excerpt)
Suggested video (9min): Crash Course on Anselm

F, Feb 23 The Modal Ontological Argument (Plantinga)
Start Cosmological Argument
Video: Quick Intro to the Cosmological Argument
Video: Craig Interviewed

M, Feb 26

Cosmological Argument
Reading: Craig, "The Kalam Cosmological Argument”
Suggested Background Video (10min): Aquinas and the Cosmological Argument

W, Feb 28

Cosmological Argument Continued
Reread: Craig, "The Kalam Cosmological Argument”

F, Mar 2 Cosmological Argument: Responses
Reading: Oppy, “Craig, Macke and the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

M, Mar 5

Finish Cosmological Argument
Reread the Conclusion section of Craig's article
Video: The Universe: God and the Universe

W, Mar 7


F, Mar 9 Teleological Argument
Reading William Paley- Natual Theology (excerpt)
Video (50min): Richard Dawkins The Blind Watch Maker

M, Mar 12

Teleological Argument: Fine-Tuning
Reading: Collins "The Fine-Tuning Design Argument"

W, Mar 14

Teleological Argument: Fine-Tuning Responses
Reading TBA
Video (4min): Richard Dawkins Darwinian Selection of Universes

F,  Mar 16 **Mid-term exams returned**
Does Morality Require that God Exists?
Video: William Lane Craig vs Shelly Kagan Debate

M, Mar 19

Divine Command Theory and the Euthyphro Dilemma-Is God the source of morality?
Reading: Shafer-Landau, “Does Ethical Objectivism Require God?”
Video: Sam Harris on God and Morality
Suggested reading on why morality does not originate from our culture:
Suggested: Rachels, “The Challenge of Cultural Relativism

W, Mar 21

Morality without God
Reading: Louise Antony, "Good Minus God"
Optional Video: Craig vs Antony Debate

F, Mar 23 Class and Office Hours Cancelled

M, Mar 26

Spring Break- no class

W, Mar 28

Spring Break- no class

F, Mar 30 Spring Break- no class

M, Apr 2

Atheist Arguments-Arguments against God’s Existence
Reading: None

W, Apr 4

Atheist Arguments-Arguments against God’s Existence
Reading: O'Leary-Hawthorne "Arguments for Atheism"

F, Apr 6 Atheist Arguments: No Evidence Argument (continued)
Reread: O'Leary-Hawthorne "Arguments for Atheism"

M, Apr 9

How to Write a Philosophy Paper
Reading: Jim Pryor "Guidelines on Writing a Philosophy Paper"
Watch: Angela Mendelovici "A Sample Philosophy Paper"

W, Apr 11

Atheist Arguments: Simplicity, Religious Diversity, and Faith
Reread: O'Leary-Hawthorne "Arguments for Atheism"

F, Apr 13

Finish Hawthorne- Faith and Religious Diversity
No new reading

M, Apr 16

The Logical Version of the Problem of Evil
Reading: First half of this IEP Article
Suggested Video (50 min): Dawkins- The Root of All Evil

W, Apr 18

Problem of Evil
Reading: Michael Tooley SEP Problem of Evil (Sections 1-2)
Suggested Reading: Second half of this IEP Article
Suggested film: “Star Trek T.N.G.: Q Who” (or any episode with Q)

F, Apr 20 Problem of Evil-Evidential Version
Reading: Rowe "The Problem of Evil"
Video (10 min): Crash Course "The Problem of Evil"
Optional Reading: Michael Tooley SEP Problem of Evil (Sections 3)
Suggested reading and video: Easy Explanation of Bayes Theorem

M, Apr 23

Problem of Evil- Objections and Responses
Reading: SEP section on Responses to Problem of Evil (Section 4-end)

W, Apr 25

Finish Problem of Evil
Reread: SEP sections from Problem of Evil (Sections 6.1, 7.2, & 7.5)
Free Will Response-Do we even have Free Will?
Video: Sam Harris- Free Will (Only 1st hour- not required to watch Q&A)
Crash Course "Determinism vs. Free Will"
Crash Course "Compatiblism"

F, Apr 27

***Final PAPER DUE***
Summary day- no new reading
Please bring laptop for FCQs in class.

M, Apr 30

God and the Meaning of Life
Reading: Craig "The Absurdity of Life without God"
Meaning of Life without God
Reading: Thomas Nagel "The Absurd"
Suggested film: “Monty Python and the Meaning of Life”

W, May 2

Review Day
Reading TBA


on official day scheduled by Registrar’s office (Posted in your mycuinfo)



Additional Resources for Students

Guidelines on writing a philosophy paper (J. Pryor)
Writing Philosophy Essays (M. Tooley)
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Oh the power of learning philosophy...

7/3/19: I am thrilled to have accepted a position as an Instructor at the University of Colorado at Denver! I was extremely impressed by the students and community when last I was there, and am excited to be returning to now teach all the core classes for the UCD Philosophy of Science Minor!

5/6/16: I'm honored to be the first person to receive both the CU Boulder Philosophy Department Morriston Teaching Award (2016) and the University of Colorado-Boulder Graduate Teaching Excellence Award (2014-2015)! My thanks go out to the many great teachers and students with whom I've been lucky enough to learn!

Office Hours: By appointment
Location: Remote via Zoom

Please feel free to drop by with any questions, or simply to chat about philosophy, life, the universe and everything...

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