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Philosophy 720: Recent Work and Research in Philosophy of Religion

Spring 2016
Prof. Keith DeRose
Mondays 7:00-8:50, LC103

Somewhat Tentative Syllabus

The first meeting will be on Friday, Jan. 22. All subsequent meetings, starting on Jan. 25, will be on Mondays.

Short Course Description: A study of recent work in the philosophy of religion, with a focus on the problem of evil, the possible place of human freedom in a world governed by God, and the epistemology of religious, and particularly, theistic, belief.

Course Requirements: Auditors: Auditors should do the readings for each meeting, and attend in participate in each week’s discussion.

Those taking the course: Those taking the course should:

  • do the readings for each meeting, and attend in participate in each week’s discussion
  • Choose the reading for one meeting (or perhaps a half a meeting) of the seminar, and lead the discussion of that meeting (or half-meeting) and
  • Complete the below written work

Written work, due dates: all should be submitted by email attachment, by 4:30 pm on the date due, to

  • Paper proposal, 350-700 words (about 1-2 pages), due on Wed. March 30
  • Course Papers, 4,900-6,650 words (about 14-19 pages), due Wed. April 27

The first three-four meetings of the seminar, on Jan. 22 and 25, will be a presentation of the two focus topics of the course: Free-will-involving approaches to the problem of evil, and religious belief/acceptance, with special attention to possible topics for student work. After that, the exact path the course takes will follow student interests.

We will start with free-will-involving approaches to the problem of evil, bringing everyone up to speed on: the basic forms of the problem of evil, the main types of answer to the problem, the basic free will defense, compatibilism/incompatibilism, the dependence of the FWD on incompatibilism, middle knowledge, conditionals of freedom, Molinism, the limitations of the free will defense.

Barnett-Philosophy Without Belief (focus: very bottom of p. 11 to the top of p. 18)

DeRose-Knowledge Deserts Appendix

God’s Existence/Delusions of Knowledge post: link

Really Believing in Hell post: link

D. Lewis “Evil for Freedom’s Sake?”: link

N. Van Leeuwen, “Religious Credence Is Not Factual Belief”: link



F22  Dustin

F29 Todd

M7 Jordan

M28 Adam

A4 Gabe


A18 Layne


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