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Level 5

5AAT2602 Faith and Enlightenment: Philosophies of Religion from Anselm to Kant


The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

Credit value: 15
Module Tutor: Dr Clare Carlisle Tresch
Assessment: One 2,000-word essay (40%) and one 2,500-word essay (60%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Teaching pattern: a one hour weekly lecture and a one hour weekly seminar over ten weeks
Pre-requisites: none

This 15-credit module will build on the Level 4 module ‘Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion’ by considering the themes of Faith and Enlightenment over the historical period from Anselm to Kant.  The module will be structured around four core texts, each of which relates to the ‘ontological argument’ for the existence of God.  These texts are: Anselm, Proslogion; Descartes, Meditations(selection); Spinoza, Ethics, Part I; and Kant, Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone (selection).  The ‘ontological argument’ provides a guiding thread for reflection on how these four philosophers approach religious faith philosophically, and for critical discussion of conceptions of enlightenment and modernity used to characterise developments in European philosophy from Descartes onwards.  Particular attention will be paid to ideas of illumination or enlightenment within each core text, through a consideration of literary features such as metaphor alongside rational arguments.


Further information

Module aims

This module builds on the Level 4 introductory module in Philosophy of Religion, aiming to provide a more advanced understanding of influential approaches to the Philosophy of Religion within a given historical period.

Discipline specific aims:

  • To engage students in reading core philosophical texts with a critical understanding of their concepts/vocabulary and argumentative structure
  • To encourage critical reflection on philosophical themes and arguments
  • To strengthen students’ analytical and interpretative skills
  • To facilitate understanding of the historical and social context within which philosophy is practised over a given historical period
Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the four core texts in their historical context
  • Understand and analyse the ‘ontological argument’ for God’s existence
  • Reflect critically on the concepts of ‘Enlightenment’ and ‘Modernity’
  • Grasp methodological issues in the philosophy of religion
  • Show an appreciation of the complex relationship between philosophy and theology, and reason and faith, within the historical period from Anselm to Kant
Past syllabi

Previous syllabus document is not available as this is a new module. For more information, please contact the module tutor.

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