Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Postgraduate Course: Philosophy, Science and Religion 1: The Physical World (Online) (PHIL11160)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will introduce students, at an advanced level, to key contemporary questions and debates at the intersection of philosophy, science and religion. It provides the necessary background for graduate work in these areas.
Course description This course (along with its sister course, 'Philosophy, Science and Religion 2: Life and Mind') will explore philosophical aspects in the debate between science and religion, and the ways in which philosophy has mediated. This course will focus on the physical sciences and their metaphysical implications.

The course will focus on three different fields of scientific research (cosmology, quantum physics, and earth sciences) and ask, what metaphysical interpretations-if any-research in these fields has. This will then allow us to compare these metaphysical interpretations of scientific theories to interpretations of religious text as complementary or competing strategies for making sense of the world around us.

Philosophical work on laws of nature, causation, naturalism and related topics will be introduced to help facilitate the discussion and to provide students with advanced tools to engage in debates concerning particular scientific theories.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 16/09/2024
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Courses will primarily be assessed through the submission of an essay of no more than 3000 words on a topic set by the course organiser. This will account for 85% of the student's course mark. The remaining 15% of the final course mark will be determined by the student's successful participation in the online activities associated with the course, such as the completion of quizzes, the preparation of an online presentation, or contributions to discussion boards and wikis.
Feedback Students have the opportunity to submit a formative essay by week 6 deadline on Turnitin via Learn. The essay cannot be draft of summative essay but it can be on the same topic.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate good understanding of particular scientific theories and their implications for philosophy and religion
  2. demonstrate analytical skills and philosophical acumen in written and oral contributions
  3. engage critically with key textual sources
  4. engage constructively in cross-disciplinary conversations
  5. emonstrate an openness to personal growth through a commitment to dialogue across intellectual and cultural differences
Reading List
Representative Reading list

Baggott, Jim. Beyond measure: Modern Physics, Philosophy, and the Meaning of Quantum Theory, OUP 2004.

Beebee, Helen. The non-governing conception of laws of nature. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61:517-594, 2000.

Bird, Alexander. Philosophy of Science. Routledge, 1998.

Carroll, John, 1990, 'The Humean Tradition,' The Philosophical Review, 99: 185-219.

Cartwright, Nancy.: 1997, 'Where Do the Laws of Nature Come From?' Dialectica 51, 65-78.

De Cruz, Helen. Religion and Science, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2017.

Harris, Mark. The nature of creation: examining the bible and science. Acumen, 2013.

Kragh, Helge. Physics and Cosmology, in: Buchwald, J.Z and Fox, R. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Physics. OUP 2013

Loewer, Barry., 1996, 'Humean Supervenience,' Philosophical Topics, 24: 101-126.

Manson, Neil. The Fine-Tuning Argument. Philosophy Compass. Wiley, 2009.

Northcott, Michael. Eschatology in the Anthropocene. In: Hamilton, C., Gemenne, F. and C. Bonneuil (eds.) The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis. Routledge, 2015.

Santana, Carlos. Waiting for the Anthropocene. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 70(4), 2019.

Sellars, Wilfrid. Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man, in: Science, Perception, and Reality, 1963.

Smeenk, Chris. Philosophy of Cosmology, in: Battermann, R. (ed) The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics. OUP 2013
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will acquire and enhance the following main graduate attributes:
- The ability to read and understand philosophical, religious and scientific texts relevant to issues in science and religion and to engage critically with them.
- The ability to engage in constructive discussion with peers and across disciplinary boundaries.
- The ability to engage philosophically with key areas in the current science-religion interface to show strong analytical skills and philosophical acumen in approaching these debates.
- The ability to engage in independent research.

Students will acquire and enhance the following transferable skills:
- General analytical skills (the ability to construct, reconstruct, recognise and critically assess arguments and evidence).
- Organisational skills (the ability to manage time, to complete a large-scale and complex project)
- Providing constructive criticism to their peers.
- General research skills (the ability to find, recognise and organise information relevant to a project, and to assess the import of it).
- Critical thinking (the ability to select and evaluate relevant data in texts).

Students will acquire and enhance the following professional skills:
- The ability to reconstruct and assess philosophical and theological arguments using the tools of logic and relevant evidence.
- To present complex ideas in different formats.
- The ability to formulate a research goal (of an essay, or dissertation) and to complete a project including large-scale complex projects on time.
- The ability to identify and use the methods and resources necessary for a given project.
Keywordslaws of nature,quantum mechanics,cosmology,creation,earth systems,naturalism
Course organiserMr Giles Howdle
Course secretaryMs Olivia Coltman
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information