This is an introduction to the Continental philosophy of religion which orients itself around philosophical discussions of religion as a form of intoxication. This module will be divided into two parts. First, it will familiarise students with how Continental philosophy has developed in response to methodological and historical questions. Second, it will then show how Continental philosophy applies to the philosophy of religion by discussing traditional religious problems—e.g., the existence of God, the problem of theodicy, the conception of the good life—and seeing how seminal Continental thinkers engage with these issues in diverse ways. The first part of the module will discuss critical, historical-based methodologies in: philosophical hermeneutics (Gadamer and Ricoeur), phenomenology (Dupré and Marion) and geneaology (Foucault). The second part of the module will utilise contemporary scholarship consisting in contemporary philosophers applying the aforementioned methodological approaches to religious problems.
Total Contact Hours: 40
Method of assessment
Introduction to Essay (500 words) – 15%
Text Commentary (2,000 words) – 35%
Essay (3,500 words) – 50%
Anderson, P.S. (2003). "Feminism in the Philosophy of Religion" in Explorations in Contemporary Continental Philosophy of Religion, eds. Deane-Peter Baker and Patrick Maxwell (Amsterdam, NY: Rodopi), pp. 189–206.
Critchley, S. (2001). Continental Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Dupré, L. (1993). Passage to Modernity: An Essay in the Hermeneutics of Culture (New Haven: Yale University Press).
Joy, M. (2010) (ed.), Continental Philosophy and the Philosophy of Religion (Dordrecht: Springer).
Ricoeur, P. (1995). Figuring the Sacred, ed. Mark Wallace (Minneapolis: Fortress Press).
---------- "Religion, Atheism, and Faith" in The Conflict of Interpretations, ed. D. Ihde (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1974), pp. 440–467.
Ward, G. (2004). The Blackwell Companion to Postmodern Theology (Oxford: Blackwell)
See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)
On successfully completing the module, students will be able to:
Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of what continental philosophy is according to its history, themes, methods and thinkers;
Understand religion through a broad range of continental philosophical approaches including those that are at the forefront of the discipline;
Employ a systematic understanding of hermeneutical, phenomenological, feminist and genealogical approaches to understanding key questions and problems in religious discourse;
Use the critical approaches of continental philosophy to evaluate arguments, assumptions and abstract concepts;
Demonstrate a significant understanding of how religion is shaped by the history of philosophy.
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