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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Undergraduate Course: Hume's Philosophy of Religion (PHIL10199)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course will introduce Hume's principal works on religious topics, discussing the major elements of his critique of religion, and the various interpretations that have been given of his religious position.
Course description The course will be based on a systematic coverage of Hume's central works on religious topics, including the sections of the first Enquiry dealing with religious questions, the Natural History of Religion, and the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. It will consider his arguments against religious positions, the grounds for his critique of religion, his scepticism, and the question whether he should be seen as an atheist.

Provisional list of topics.
1. Enquiry Sec. 10: Miracles.
2. Enquiry Sec. 11: Natural Religion and Morality.
3. 'On the Immortality of the Soul'.
4. 'On Suicide'.
5. 'The Natural History of Religion'.
6. Dialogues 2-3: The Argument from Design.
7. Dialogues 4-5: The Concept of God.
8. Dialogues 9: The Cosmological Argument.
9. Dialogues 10-11: The Problem of Evil.
10. Dialogues 12: Hume's Scepticism.
11. Overview of Hume's position on religion.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Mind, Matter and Language (PHIL08014) AND Knowledge and Reality (PHIL08017)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students studying on MA Cognitive Science (Humanities) are permitted to take this course without having met the pre-requisites of Mind, Matter and Language and Knowledge and Reality. However, it is advisable that students discuss the suitability of the course with their PT and the course organiser before enrolling.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have completed at least 3 Philosophy courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of central topics in Hume¿s critique of religion
  2. Critically review how issues in Hume¿s critique relate to contemporary debates
  3. Read closely, analyse and criticise early modern philosophical texts
Reading List
Primary Reading (all works by David Hume):
Enquiry concerning Human Understanding 10 and 11
Treatise of Human Nature I.4.5
'On the Immortality of the Soul'
'On Suicide'
'The Natural History of Religion'
Dialogues concerning Natural Religion.

Recommended Secondary Reading.
N. Kemp Smith, Introduction to Hume, Dialogues.
R. Swinburne, 'The Argument from Design', Philosophy 1968.
J. Gaskin, Hume's Philosophy of Religion.
J. Earman, Hume's Abject Failure.
R. Fogelin, A Defense of Hume on Miracles.
D. O'Connor, Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Hume on Natural Religion.
A. Bailey and D. O'Brien, Hume's Critique of Religion: Sick Men's Dreams.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Mindsets: Enquiry and Lifelong Learning
Skills: Research and Enquiry, Personal and Intellectual Autonomy
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Andrew Mason
Course secretaryMiss Ann-Marie Cowe
Tel: (0131 6)50 3961
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