What is religion? How do religious people think? Where do their ideas come from? Are any of them true? These and other questions are addressed.
Philosophy of Religion courses often focus on arguments for and against the existence of God, that is to say, the God of Christianity. But Christianity is just one kind of religion; there are many others. Some have a supreme God, others have many gods, some (arguably) have no gods at all. So this course takes a wider view of religion, looking at what people regard as sacred: that which derives its authority from the "hidden realm" (te wāhi ngaro) of gods, spirits, and ancestors. It asks about the character of religious language, looks at what religious practices aim to do, and then examines the various sources of religious knowledge: divination, dreams, visions, mystical experience, spirit possession and prophecy, and (finally) arguments, including those for the existence of God.
|Paper title||Reason, Belief and the Sacred|
|Teaching period||Semester 2 (On campus)|
|Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD)||$955.05|
|International Tuition Fees||Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.|
- One 200-level PHIL paper
- PHIL 210, PHIL 229
- Schedule C
- Arts and Music
- Suitable for all students who have an interest in philosophical questions. No previous philosophical knowledge is required, but students will be expected to read widely and write clearly.
- More information link
View more information on the Philosophy programme's website.
- Teaching staff
Course co-ordinator and lecturer: Professor Greg Dawes
- Paper Structure
- The paper has four parts:
- Part One: Religious Language and Thought
- Part Two: The Aims of Religion
- Part Three: Modes of Knowing
- Part Four: Assessing Religious Beliefs
- Teaching Arrangements
There will be three 50-minute classes each week, with one devoted to tutorial-style discussion.
- Weekly exercises in class: 15%
- Essay Outline 10%
- An essay of no more than 3,000 words: 30%
- Final examination: 45%
As well as the course outline distributed in class, a course book will be made available. Other recommended works will be accessible on Blackboard or in the Library, on Reserve.
- Graduate Attributes Emphasised
- Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Critical thinking,
Cultural understanding, Ethics, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
- Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to:
- Outline what is distinctive about religious language and thought
- Describe the various aims of religion
- Describe and evaluate the sources from which believers draw their claims to knowledge
- Evaluate those (assumed) sources of religious knowledge