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Philosophy 105: Philosophy of Religion UC Davis Spring 2012 Syllabus

Lecture: MWF, 2:10 pm – 3:00 pm, Wellman 119 Instructor: Cody Gilmore ( Office: 2288 Social Sciences & Humanities Office hours: W, 2:10 pm – 3:00 pm, Th, 11:00 am – 11:50 am Phone: 530-554-4924 T.A.: Ceth Lightfield ( Texts • Linda Zagzebski, Philosophy of Religion: An Historical Introduction (Blackwell, 2007) • All other required readings will be made available via SmartSite or distributed in class. Description This is a course in the philosophy of Western monotheistic religion. Our main focus will be on the doctrine (often said to be common to Islam, Christianity, and Judaism) that there is exactly one supreme being, God, who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and morally perfect (among other things). We will begin by evaluating a series of attempts to prove, using scientific and philosophical arguments, that God exists. We will then evaluate a series of attempts to prove that God does not exist. In each case, our question will be straightforward: does the alleged proof really succeed? Some of these latter arguments will be interwoven with questions about the nature of God, or the so-called ‘divine attributes’: • What is God’s relationship to time? Is it more plausible to hold that God exists in time, or outside of time? • Would God’s omniscience – specifically, Her/His/Its knowledge of the future – deprive human beings of the ability to acting freely? • What is it for something to be omnipotent? Can we define a notion of omnipotence that is not vulnerable to “the paradox of the stone’? Finally, we will discuss the possibility of an afterlife. The course will not be an introduction to world religions. We will not be comparing and contrasting the religious beliefs of different groups of people. We will learn very little history or sociology or psychology of religion. Instead, we will try to decide (by evaluating some of the best arguments we can find) what the correct answers are to the questions posed above. Regardless of what people have believed or why they have believed it, is there really a God, and if so, what is Her/His/Its nature?


and if you are not extremely careful. and o a final exam (25%).) Academic Integrity I take plagiarism and other violations of the standards of academic integrity very seriously. We have very high standards for the papers.g. See in particular the University of California Standards of Conduct for Students. you will need to read each of them very slowly and at least twice.This will be a hard class. you can make big mistakes..or 5-page writing assignments (40% total). Students are responsible for knowing what constitutes inappropriate behavior in this regard. Students with disabilities will be given appropriate accommodations. Any student who violates these standards on an exam or assignment will be referred to Student Judicial Affairs. Such students should get in touch with me and the Student Disability Center (SDC) as soon as possible. and to come up with original ideas. to think hard. The readings are often surprisingly technical. university policies on the matter can be found in the Spring 2012 Class Schedule and Registration Guide. The course aims to help students to improve their ability to think critically and creatively about these issues (and about philosophical issues more generally). You will be engaging with complex and challenging arguments. 2 . from B to B-) for the first day late and by an additional 1/3 of a letter for each two days late thereafter. Goals Students will acquire knowledge of many of the most important issues in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion. and to express their thoughts clearly and precisely in writing. Requirements and Grading Grades will be determined on the basis of: o participation (5%) o attendance taken in lecture and discussion o no penalty for 1st four missed lectures or 1st two missed discussion sections (no excuses necessary) o each subsequent absence (for any reason) reduces your participation grade by 50%. You will need to be willing to write with clarity and precision. (I will need a letter from them on your behalf explaining the necessary accommodations. o three quizzes (10% total) o lowest quiz score dropped. Late papers and homework assignments will be marked down by 1/3 of a letter (e. no make-up quizzes for any reason o a midterm (20%) o two 4.

pp. Apr. 3. Critical Reasoning. pp. (Smartsite) Zagzebski. 4 Ontological Arguments Zagzebski. Ch. 25-37 Design Arguments Robin Collins. Apr. 122-142 Cornman. 6 Week 2 M. Ch.Tentative Schedule PART ONE: ARGUMENTS FOR THEISM Week 1 M. 9 W. “Appeal to Experience of God” No new reading First writing assignment due at the beginning of lecture W. as preparation for Quiz #1 Zagzebski. “The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe” Thomas Aquinas (selections) Francisco Suarez (selections) Cederblom and Paulsen. 11 F. pp. Critical Reasoning. “Moral Arguments for God’s Existence” Zagzebski. as preparation for Quiz #3 Moral and Experiential Arguments Robert Merrihew Adams. Apr. 25 F. Apr. “Evil and Omnipotence” Zagzebski. and Pappas. 4. 79-109. Apr. 16 Cosmological Arguments Al-Ghazali (selections) William Lane Craig. Apr. 143-160 3 . Critical Reasoning. Apr. 23 W. 20 Quiz #3 Week 4 M. pp. Apr. Apr. 2 (Smartsite). Lehrer. 13 Quiz #1 Quiz #2 Week 3 M. Ch. “The Fine-Tuning Argument” (Smartsite) Cederblom and Paulsen. 2 W. 37-48 F. 30 The Logical Problem of Evil John Mackie. Apr. pp. 18 F. Apr. 1-24 Cederblom and Paulsen. Apr. 27 PART TWO: ARGUMENTS FOR ATHEISM Week 5 M. pp. Apr.

“Nothing but Dust and Ashes” No new reading NO CLASS Second paper due. June 1 Week 10 M. 119 Wellman Final Exam 4 . details forthcoming Tuesday. 86-99 Hoffman and Rosenkrantz. June 8 Alvin Plantinga. “Evil does not make Atheism more reasonable than Theism” Replies The Problem of God and Time Midterm Exam Zagzebski. May 14 W. May 4 Week 6 M. June 4 W. May 30 F. 168-189 Death and the Afterlife Hud Hudson. May 18 Week 8 M. June 12. May 11 Week 7 M. May 28 W. pp. pp. “The Free Will Defense” No new reading The Evidential Problem of Evil William Rowe. May 7 W. May 21 W. 8:00 am – 10:00 am. “Evil is Evidence Against Theistic Belief” Daniel Howard-Snyder and Michael Bergman. May 25 Week 9 M. pp. June 6 F. pp. 77-86 Joshua Hoffman and Gary Rosenkrantz. “Omnipotence” Zagzebski. “Eternity” The Problem of Omnipotence Zagzebski. May 16 F.W. 100-121 The Problem of Freedom and Foreknowledge No Class – Memorial Day No new reading Zagzebski. May 23 F. May 9 F. May 2 F.