Philosophy of Religion:
Syllabus



Philosophy of Religion
Phil 331 - Fall 2017 - Dr. Keith A. Korcz
 

How To Contact Professor Korcz:

My office is in H. L. Griffin Hall, rm. 563. My office hours are MW12:00 – 1:00 and 2:15 - 4:15, Th 12:00 – 3:00, and F 12:00 – 1:00. We can also meet at other times by arrangement - just ask. The best way to contact me (or ask questions) is by e-mail at keithk@louisiana.edu. My office phone number is 482-6806


Required Texts:
1. Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction, Fourth Edition, by William L. Rowe

 

2. Course Pack
The course pack is available via Moodle.


Assignments:
Exams:
There will be two exams, each worth 20% of your course grade, and a cumulative final exam worth 25% of your course grade. The in-class exams will consist primarily of short answer and multiple choice questions. However, all make-up exams will be primarily short-answer. The exams will cover both lectures and assigned readings (material in lectures and assigned readings will not always overlap). All exams are closed book/closed note.

Paper Assignment:
The paper will be 10-12 pages long and completed in two drafts, the first draft being worth 10% of your course grade and the final draft being worth 25% of your course grade. Each draft will consist of two parts. The first part will consist of a critique of an instructor-approved, published article in the philosophy of religion. For the second part, you will present and defend an original argument on your topic. Complete information about the paper assignment, suggested topics, etc., will be provided later on a separate handout.

Grading:
The course grades will initially be determined according to the standard scale, i.e., 90-100% = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D, 59% and below = F, and then may be modified as follows:  Course grades might be curved, but, if so, the curve would not be such that any student's grade is lowered. Such factors as improvement over the length of the course, class participation, etc., may be taken into consideration, especially where doing so may improve a borderline grade. You must complete all course assignments (namely all exams and both drafts of the paper) to receive a passing grade (i.e., a grade other than F, NC or U).

Class Policies:

If you miss class, for whatever reason, it is your responsibility to get class notes from another student. Missed assignments can be made up, and absences excused, only if an appropriate excuse, e.g., illness requiring medical attention, participation in certain university-sponsored events, dangerous weather, etc., is provided. If you miss an assignment due date, you must notify me within one week of either the due date or the cessation of a medically documented persistent vegetative state in order to make up the assignment. An unexcused late assignment will be dropped 2/3 of a letter grade per day it is late. For every five unexcused absences or partial absences, your course grade will be dropped by a letter grade. Finally, be sure you are familiar with all university policies described in the UL Lafayette Undergraduate Bulletin and Code of Student Conduct. All assignments for this class must be completed individually, and any instance of academic dishonesty on any assignment will be sufficient to fail the course.


Disability Accommodations:

Students needing academic accommodations for a disability must first be registered with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to verify the disability and to establish eligibility for accommodations. Students may call 337-482-5252 or visit the ODS office in the Conference Center/Agnes Edwards Hall, room 126. Once registered, students should then schedule an appointment with the professor to make appropriate arrangements.


Internet Resources:
The course home page (http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~kak7409/331PhiofReligionHome.html) contains links to useful sites regarding the subject matter of the course, study aids, the on-line syllabus, and other resources. The on-line syllabus contains links to the home pages of the authors of our readings and optional readings available on-line. A Moodle page will also be activated for this course.
You are also encouraged to visit my home page, which contains a link to the home page for this class as well as hundreds of organized links to research and philosophy oriented web sites and a section on how to survive your first philosophy course, among other things, that you may find interesting and useful. The address for my home page is http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~kak7409.


Emergency Evacuation Procedures:

A map of this floor is posted near the elevator marking the evacuation route and the Designated Rescue Area. This is an area where emergency service personnel will go first to look for individuals who need assistance in exiting the building. Students who may need assistance should identify themselves to the teaching faculty.


COURSE CALENDAR & PLANNED READING ASSIGNMENTS


NOTE: Topics, readings and assignments are tentative and may be changed.
 
CP = Course Pack, available via Moodle.  
ONLINE = See the online syllabus linked from the course home page (URL above).


1. Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion
CP: "What Is Philosophy?" by Keith Korcz; Rowe: Introduction.

2. The Nature of God
Rowe: Chapters 1 & 10.
Monday, September 4 - Labor Day - No Classes.


3. Faith and Reason
CP: "Faith and Reason" by Keith Korcz; Rowe: Chapter 6 (pp. 91 - 104).

4. Arguments For & Against God's Existence
a. For: The Arguments From Biblical Inerrancy
CP: "The Great Gulf Between Scholars and the Pew" by Michael D. Coogan, selections from The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible by Robin Lane Fox, "The Problem of Apparently Morally Abhorrent Divine Commands" by Wesley Morriston.
b. For: The Arguments From Experience
Rowe: Chapter 5 & Chapter 6, pp. 104 – 110 only.

EXAM #1: WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20.

Thursday, October 5 - Friday, October 6 - Fall Holiday - No Classes.
c. Against: The Problem of Divine Freedom 
CP: "The Problem of Divine Perfection and Freedom" by William Rowe.
d. For: The Arguments From Miracles & Prayer
(CP): "The Case of the Weeping Madonna" by Lynn Rosellini; Rowe: Chapter 8; (CP): "David Hume and the Probability of Miracles" by George Mavrodes; "Can Science Prove That Prayer Works?" by Hector Avalos. OPTIONAL: LINK: "Of Miracles" by David Hume.
e. For: The Cosmological Arguments
Rowe: Chapter 2; CP: "The Five Ways" and "God's Perfection" by St. Thomas Aquinas.

FIRST DRAFT OF PAPER DUE: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 11, AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS.


Monday, October 16 - Advising for SP18 begins.

EXAM #2: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25.

f. Against: The Argument From Divine Hiddenness
CP: "Divine Hiddenness Justifies Atheism" by J. L. Schellenberg.
g. For: The Ontological Arguments
Rowe: Chapter 3; CP: "A Modal Version of The Ontological Argument" by Alvin Plantinga.
h. For: The Design Arguments
Rowe: Chapter 4; CP: "The Teleological Argument" by Robin Collins.
i. For: Prudential Arguments
(CP): "Making Believe" by Margaret P. Battin.
j. Against: The Logical Problem of Evil
Rowe: Chapter 7, pp. 112 - 119.
k. Against: The Evidential Argument Regarding Evil
Rowe: Chapter 7, pp. 119 - 131; CP: "The Problem of Evil" by Richard Swinburne, "Evidential Atheological Arguments" by Alvin Plantinga.


5. Philosophy of Atheism
a. Atheism and Humanism
CP: "Humanist Manifesto II" and "Humanist Manifesto III.”

FINAL DRAFT OF PAPER DUE: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS.

Thursday, November 23 through Friday, November 24 - Bad Time to be a Turkey - No Classes.


b. Life After Death

CP: "Problems With Accounts of Life After Death" by Linda Badham; Rowe: Chapter 10.
c. Creationism and Evolution
CP: "Science, Religion, Politics, Law and Education" by Tim M. Berra.

LAST DAY OF CLASSES: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1.

FINAL EXAM: TUESDAY, DECE,BER 5, FROM 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM, IN REGULAR CLASSROOM.



Some Helpful Tips:

1. On class evaluations, students often state that they would tell friends planning to take this class that good class attendance and good class notes are essential to doing well on the exams.

2. Keep up with the readings - they further explain and help you to remember test material.

3. If you're having trouble understanding course material, do not hesitate to discuss it with the instructor!