Winter Semester 2022/2023

Master's Programme Philosophy of Religion at the Faculty of Catholic Theology

Compulsory Module 1: Foundations of Philosophy of Religion

202.500 VO The big questions in philosophy of religion. Winfried LÖFFLER

Start:     Tuesday 04.10.2022, in class and online 

Learning Outcome: The Students have advanced knowledge in the main issues of the philosophy of religion, e.g. the logical and epistemological status of religious beliefs, the justification of claims about God’s existence and attributes, and the argumentative structure of religious criticism. They have the competence to develop critical and well-reasoned assessments in these fields.  

Contents: Various forms and definitions of “religion”; theories about the function of religious language; arguments for and against the rationality of religious belief; the question of the existence and attributes of God; interpretations and argumentative weight of religious experience; religious and other world-views.

Methods: Lecture with discussion. The lecture will be in presence mode, but will also be live-streamed and recorded. 

Assessment: Oral exam.  

Literature: W.J. Wainwright (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion (2005).

202.501 SE Classical texts in the philosophy of religion. Josef QUITTERER

Start:     Monday 03.10.2022, online           

Learning Outcome: Knowledge in „the big questions“ of philosophy of religion, e.g. the epistemic status of religious beliefs, the rationality of statements about God’s existence and attributes, the structure of arguments critical of religion, and the ability to study independently classical texts concerning these questions, including metaphysical, anthropological and scientific contexts.

Contents: Analysis and discussion of classical texts concerning „the big questions“, e.g. the epistemic status of religious beliefs, the rationality of statements about God’s existence and attributes, the structure of arguments critical of religion, including their metaphysical, anthropological and scientific contexts. 

Methods: Reading of texts, analysis and discussion.

Assessment: Essays.

Literature: To be announced in the seminar.

Compulsory Module 2: Faith and Reason

202.502 VO Epistemology and religion. Katherine DORMANDY

Start:     Thursday 06.10.2022, online             

Learning Outcome:  Understanding of the reasons and arguments for accepting or rejecting religious truth claims or religious faith. The ability to think critically about one’s own stance on matters of religion and faith.

Contents: In a world with horrendous suffering and massive religious and secular diversity, religious faith and the beliefs that accompany it face many challenges. And religion is not like natural science – its truth claims do not lend themselves to experimentation. How can we think about religion and faith for ourselves ? This class presents some important epistemological tools for thinking about these issues. Students are encouraged to develop and articulate their own views.

Methods: Lectures and discussions.

Assessment: Short essays over the course of the semester.

Literature: Will be announced; the readings will be in English.

202.503 SE Science and religion. René VAN WOUDENBERG

Start:     Monday 03.10.2022, online

Learning Outcome: After successful completion of the course, the student will be familiar with the most influential positions taken on the relation between science and religious belief and is able to identify the reasons and motivation that underlie those positions.

Contents: This course addresses the following questions:

  1. What is the relation between science and religious belief? Are they in conflict with each other, or are they compatible?
  2. What, if anything, makes it the case that science is more than a mere opinion? Likewise, what, if anything, makes it the case the religious belief, especially Christian belief, is more than a mere opinion? These questions for the heart of the epistemology of science, as well as the epistemology of religious belief.

Methods: We use historically informed argumentation, plus conceptual analysis.

Assessment: Mid-term paper, and a final paper.

Literature:  Peter Harrison, The Territories of Science and Religion (Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2015); Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies. Science, Religion, and Naturalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); some additional papers.

Compulsory Module 5: The Philosophy of Religious Traditions

202.558 VO Jewish and Islamic philosophy. Christian KANZIAN

Start:     Friday 07.10.2022, in class, next time online in Winter Semester 2023/2024

Learning Outcome: Knowledge of the most important traditions of Jewish und Islamic Philosophy. 

Contents: In the course, fundamental questions of the relationship between religious faith and philosophical reflection will be posed, focussing on traditions of Jewish and Islamic thought. Key figures in the history of Jewish and Islamic philosophy (e.g. Maimonides, Ibn Sina) will be presented and a systematic overview of current fundamental questions will be offered. Finally, philosophical topics are dealt with in the context of the interreligious dialogue of monotheistic religions.

Methods: Lecture with discussion.

Assessment: Oral exam.

Literature: History of Jewish Philosophy, ed. D. H. Frank / O. Leaman; History of Islamic Philosophy, ed. H. Nasr / O. Leaman.

202.559 SE Philosophy of the religions: Maimonides - The Guide of the Perplexed. Christian KANZIAN

Start:     Wednesday 19.10.2022, in class, next time online in Winter Semester 2023/2024

Learning Outcome: Knowledge of Maimonides’ “The Guide of the Perplexed”.

Contents: In the seminar we will study representative passages from Moses Maimonides' “Guide of the Perplexed”. We will focus on key questions of Maimonides’ Philosophy of Religion (God's existence, God's attributes, creation), as well as basic questions of the relationship between philosophy and religion.

Methods: Common reading and interpretation of texts. 

Assessment: Final paper.

Literature: Maimonides, The Guide of the Perplexed.

Elective Module 1: Philosophy of the Good Life

202.512 VO Conceptions of a good life. Bruno NIEDERBACHER

Start:     Wednesday 05.10.2022, online

Learning Outcome: To get acquainted with different theories about the good life and to assess them philosophically.

Contents: What is a good life for human beings? Does a good life consist in happiness? If so, what does happiness consist in? In the experience of pleasure or in wealth or in power or in honour? Or does a good life consist in acting according to reason? What is reason and how is it related to emotions? We will analyse several theories about the good life, from ancient to modern philosophy, and assess them critically.

Methods: Lectures and discussions.

Assessment: Oral exam.

Literature: The literature will be announced during the lecture.

202.513 SE Philosophy, religion, spirituality. Bruno NIEDERBACHER

Start:     Thursday 06.10.2022, online

Learning Outcome: To get acquainted with philosophical issues regarding spirituality.

Contents: We will deal philosophically with spirituality and ask questions like: What is spirituality? What is its nature? Can there be spirituality without God or without belief in God? What is the relation between a worldview and spirituality? We will also deal with some questions concerning Ignatian spirituality like: Is it possible to get to know something through religious imagination? What are spiritual emotions? Is it possible to acquire moral and religious knowledge through spiritual emotions?

Methods: Reading, presentations, discussions, papers.

Assessment: Student participation and short papers.

Literature: The literature will be offered at the beginning of the seminar.

 

  General information on exams, dates and sign-on at the department (in German).

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