Ancient philosophical influences
Plato’s views on understanding of reality including his reliance on reason as opposed to the senses
Plato’s views on the Forms including the nature of the Forms; hierarchy of the Forms
Plato’s views on the analogy of the cave including details of the analogy, its purpose and relation to the theory of the Forms
The philosophical views of Aristotle in relation to understanding of reality including Aristotle’s use of teleology
The philosophical views of Aristotle in relation to the four causes: material, formal, efficient and final causes
The philosophical views of Aristotle in relation to the Prime Mover: the nature of Aristotle’s Prime Mover and connections between this and the final cause
I can compare and evaluate Plato’s Form of the Good and Aristotle’s Prime Mover.
I can compare and evaluate Plato’s reliance on reason (rationalism) and Aristotle’s use of the senses (empiricism) in their attempts to make sense of reality
I can refer to appropriate scholarly views, academic approaches, and sources of wisdom and authority in relation to ancient philosophical influences.
Arguments based on observation
The teleological argument including Aquinas’ Fifth Way and Paley
The cosmological argument including Aquinas’ first three ways.
Challenges to arguments from observation including the challenge of evolution and details of Hume’s criticisms of these arguments for the existence of God from natural religion
I can evaluate whether a posteriori or a priori is the more persuasive style of argument
I can evaluate whether or not teleological arguments can be defended against the challenge of ‘chance’
I can evaluate whether cosmological arguments simply jump to the conclusion of a transcendent creator, without sufficient explanation
I can evaluate whether or not there are logical fallacies in these arguments that cannot be overcome
Arguments based on reason
The ontological argument including references to: Anselm, Gaunilo’s criticism and Kant’s criticisms.
Evaluate whether a posteriori or a priori is the more persuasive style of argument
Evaluate whether or not existence can be treated as a predicate
Evaluate whether or not the ontological argument justifies belief
Evaluate whether or not there are logical fallacies in this argument that cannot be overcome
I can refer to appropriate scholarly views, academic approaches, and sources of wisdom and authority in relation to arguments for the existence of God.
God and The World
The nature and influence of religious experience, including mystical and conversion experience.
I can provide examples of mystical and conversion experiences
I can explain the views and main conclusions of William James
Different ways in which individual religious experiences can be understood, including: as union with a greater power, a psychological effect such as illusion and as the product of a physiological effect.
I can evaluate whether personal testimony or witness is enough to support the validity of religious experiences
I can evaluate whether or not corporate religious experiences might be considered more reliable or valid than individual experiences
I can evaluatewhether or not religious experience provides a basis for belief in God or a greater power
The problem of evil & suffering
The logical (the inconsistency between divine attributes and the presence of evil) and evidential (the evidence of so much terrible evil in the world) aspects of the PoE
Theodicies that propose some justification or reason for divine action or inaction in the face of evil including Augustine’s use of original perfection and the Fall and Hick’s reworking of the Irenaean theodicy which gives some purpose to natural evil in enabling human beings to reach divine likeness
I can evaluate whether or not Augustine’s view of the origins of moral and natural evils is enough to spare God from blame for evils in the world
I can evaluate whether or not the need to create a ‘vale of soul-making’ can justify the existence or extent of evils
I can evaluate I can evaluate whether or not it is possible to successfully defend monotheism in the face of evil