Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Metaphysics 2: Natural Theology and Atheism

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study unit examines the various arguments for the existence of God. These include: Aquinas's five ways for the existence of God (the argument of the Unmoved Mover, the argument of the Uncaused Cause, the argument from Contingency, the argument from Degree, and the Teleological argument); Anselm's Ontological argument together with its elaboration by Kant; the argument from religious experience and the argument from evil.

Study-unit Aims

The aims of this study-unit are (a) to demonstrate the rational grounds for the existence of God as proposed by a number of philosophers; (b) to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the proofs of the existence of God; (c) to adopt a critical stance towards each of these proofs.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- be familiar with the use of strictly philosophical argument in such theological contexts as Aquinas’s Summa;
- explain the general philosophical problems raised in any attempt at talk involving God.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- assess the proofs for the existence of God;
- evaluate these proofs in relation to contemporary discourse on the existence of God.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

Bullough, E., (Trans.), Elpington G.A. (ed.) (1989) The Philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas, Ayer Co., Salem, New Hampshire, USA.
Kretzmann, N., and Stump, E., (eds.) (1993) The Cambridge Companion to Aquinas. Cambridge: CUP. (Important Chapters: 1-4, 9).
Martin. C. (ed.) (1988) The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. London: Routledge. (Important Chapters: 1-4).
McInerny, R. (1990) A First Glance at St Thomas Aquinas. Notre Dame, Indiana, USA: University of Notre Dame Press.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Mark Sultana

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