PHI 352: Philosophy of Religion

Socrates: What we shall see is something like a battle of gods and giants going on between them over their quarrel about reality ….One party is trying to drag everything down to earth out of heaven and the unseen, literally grasping rocks and trees in their hands, for they lay hold upon every stock and stone and strenuously affirm that real existence belongs only to that which can be handled and offers resistance to the touch. They define reality as the same thing as body, and as soon as one of the opposite party asserts that anything without a body is real, they are utterly contemptuous and will not listen to another word. (…) Their adversaries are very wary in defending their position somewhere in the heights of the unseen, maintaining with all their force that true reality consists in certain intelligible and bodiless forms. In the clash of argument they shatter and pulverize those bodies which their opponents wield, and what those others allege to be true reality they call, not real being, but a sort of moving process of becoming. On this issue an interminable battle is always going on between the two camps.

~ Plato, Sophist 246a-249d.

Most philosophers throughout the history of ideas, east and west, have addressed religious topics. One cannot undertake a credible history of philosophy without taking philosophy of religion seriously.

~ Charles Taliaferro

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to some of the central philosophical debates concerning religion. We will focus on the debates dominant in the Western tradition of religious and philosophical thought, particularly in contemporary analytic philosophy.

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