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RE L 225: Th e P h ilos op h y of Re ligion Wheaton College Fall 2012 T/R 9:30-10:50 am

Course Description

If God exists, why is there so much evil in the world? Why were there Nazis? How do I know why there were Nazis? I dont know how the can opener works. With these memorable words, the character of Woody Allens father in the 1986 movie Hannah and Her Sisters gently chides his son as he suffers from an acute philosophical and spiritual crisis. Large scale questions about the meaning of life, the existence of God, the existence of evil and/or suffering, and the legitimacy of competing faith traditions, doctrines and practices (just to name a few) are arguably unavoidable and implicit in any critical investigation of philosophy or religion. This course will begin to examine these questions through the close reading of a number of classic texts on issues of ethics, moral psychology, gender, cognition, theology and theodicy in Western thought, coupled with relevant secondary literature and theory that will help us to contextualize these debates within their given historical milieu and development. We will treat these categories of analysis both chronologically and with an emphasis on identifying and tracing their evolution in philosophical and theological circles. We will begin with a consideration of Jewish, Hellenistic and early Christian moral traditions in order to establish a foundation for understanding their influence on later Enlightenment, Romantic and contemporary interpretations and ideologies. We will then consider the significant impact of the World Wars of the twentieth-century on more recent discourses on the philosophy of religion. Additional, allied topics of concern will include technology and the cognitive sciences, animal rights, materialism, the body and religion in contemporary popular culture. This class will meet twice a week for discussion, although I will lecture at times in order to offer background information on the subject of our readings and/or to set the table for discussion.
Instructor information

Robyn Faith Walsh Knapton 103 508-286-3695

walsh_robyn@wheatoncollege.edu

Office hours: Tuesday and Thursday 12-3pm and by appointment I strongly encourage you to come visit during my office hours if you have any questions or concerns.


Course Goals and Objectives

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The purpose of this course is to introduce you to some of the discourses within the field of the philosophy of religion, its historical context and development in the Western world. At the conclusion of our time together, you should feel that you have gained some facility with the broader epistemological and ontological questions at stake in the philosophical analysis of religious thought (e.g., the nature and existence of a deity/deities, the reality of suffering, the complex relationship of religion and science) and how scholarship has attempted to make sense of them. Through our work together, you will also have the opportunity in this course to learn to:

learn to read both primary and secondary texts critically and to engage these sources with a variety of scholarly tools, including comparanda from a variety of disciplines improve your research, academic writing and communication skills through various course assignments and class discussion apply the subject matter of this course, and the critical thinking skills you will learn throughout the semester, to your broader academic interests

Course Requirements

Attendance and Participation (20%): While I will be doing some lecturing, this is primarily a discussion class and, therefore, it is essential that you attend regularly in order to contribute your questions and ideas. We will also be participating in a number of in-class activities (including leading class discussion). Missing these activities will adversely affect your grade. Response Papers (25%): You are required to submit 7 short response papers throughout the semester, in advance of the class for which the paper is written. In essence, these papers are an opportunity for you to reflect on the topic of the week, the readings and for you to put forth some discussion questions for the class. You are free to choose the weeks for which you will write a paper (limit 1 per week), but you must complete at least 3 before mid-semester. More details on this assignment will follow. Midterm (25%): In-class consisting of a series of short answer questions. Final Project (30%): There are 3 options for your final project, due the last day of finals. 1) Book Review: A 10 pp. (aprox. 3000 words) reflection on Chapter 1 (What is the Origin?) of Pascal Boyers Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought (Perseus, 2001). The expectation for this assignment is for you to critically engage his argument(s) in light of our work in the course. This option is particularly recommended for freshmen and sophomores. 2) Research Paper: A 10-15 pp. (aprox. 3000-4500 words) research paper on a subject of your design, in consultation with me. This option will also require approval in advance via a research proposal. 3) Special Project: If you have a creative idea for a relevant project related to your major, come see me. Similar to the research paper, this will require a proposal in advance and close consultation with me along the way. Some examples of an appropriate final project might include an art study, creative writing, a movie, interviewing notable scholars and so on. More detailed information on each of these assignments will follow.


Grading Policies & Other matters

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If you submit work after set deadlines, without prior written permission from me, you should expect points deducted from that assignments final grade. Missed exams will only be allowed to be made up in exceptional circumstances. If you are unable to attend class for some reason, please contact me as soon as possible. Absences for which an official deans letter or health services note is provided will not count against your final grade. You are expected to adhere to the academic policies of the college and the Honor Code. Violations of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action. Students with any disabilities of which I should be aware, please contact me as soon as possible in order to make the appropriate arrangements. Cell phones are to remain off at all times while class is in session. The use of laptops for anything other than class business may result in the general banning of said laptops.
Required Books & Other Course Materials

All of our readings will be available on our course website in PDF form. The books below will be used more substantially and are available at the bookstore. Georges Bataille, Erotism: Death & Sensuality (City Lights Books, 1986). Hilary Kornblith, Knowledge and its Place in Nature (Oxford, 2005). Gordon Marino, ed., Basic Writings of Existentialism (The Modern Library, 2004).
Weekly readings and assignments

Assigned readings and written assignments should be completed before class. Please bring all readings and assignments with you to our sessions. Recommended Readings are not required, but you may find them helpful. This syllabus is subject to fine-tuning and modification, but expect no major shocks.
W e e k 1: De f i n i n g Re li g i on

What do we mean when we use the word religion? Before we can delve into the question of the philosophy of religion, we want to establish a common vocabulary and begin to understand how religion is currently being discussed in the field.
Tues day , Aug us t 28 th I n troducti on to the cours e
Recommended Reading:

Willi Braun, Religion, pp. 3-34; William Arnal, Definition, pp. 21-34; Burton Mack, Social Formation, pp. 283-296 in Braun & McCutcheon, eds., Guide to the Study of Religion (Continuum, 2000).
Thurs day , Aug us t 30 th Reli g i on as an ob j ect of s tudy

Russell T. McCutcheon,

More Than a Shapeless Beast: Lumbering through the Academy with the Study of Religion, pp. 3-20 in Critics Not Caretakers (SUNY Press, 2001).

Eric Hobsbawm,
Recommended Reading:

Philosophy of Religion | 4 Introduction: Inventing Traditions, pp. 1-14 in The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Russell T. McCutcheon, Redescribing Religion as Social Formation: Toward a Social Theory of Religion, pp. 21-39 in Critics Not Caretakers (SUNY Press, 2001). S. Stowers, The Ontology of Religion, pp. 434-449 in Braun & R.T. McCutcheon, eds., Introducing Religion (Equinox, 2008).
W e e k 2: G re e k & Rom a n P h i losop h i c a l Th oug h t: Th e F oun da ti on s of ( W e ste rn ) E th i c s

Why does the West have its particular moral preoccupations and distinctive ways of thinking about ethical issues? What do we know about ancient philosophical anthropologies? We will look to select Hellenistic philosophical texts for answers to these questions and build a foundation for further consideration of these issues throughout the semester.
Tues . , S ep temb er 4 th I n troducti on to Hellen i s ti c P hi los op hy

Long & Sedley,

Introduction, pp. 1-9; Epicurean Epistemology, pp. 7890; Stoics: Physics, pp. 377-386 in The Hellenistic Philosophers (Cambridge University Press, 1987). On Diogenes, Crates, and Hipparchia, in Lives of Eminent Philosophers
The S tructured S elf

Diogenes Laertius
Thurs . , S ep t 6 th

Christopher Gill

Psychophysical Holism: Stoicism, pp. 29-46 in The Structured Self in Hellenistic and Roman Thought (Oxford University Press, 2006).

W e e k 3: G re e k & Rom a n P h i losop h i c a l Th oug h t: Th e E m oti on s a n d se x ua l e th i c s

Expanding on our work from last week, we will consider the role of the emotions in ancient philosophical constructions of the self, as well as the specific question of sexual ethics in the West, with a focus on discourses concerning sexual activity, the gods, self-control and civic responsibility. We will also look at proposed philosophical justifications for eugenics, from Plato to the present day.
Tues . , S ep t 1 1 th The Emoti on s & The Human Con di ti on

Martha Nussbaum

Therapeutic Arguments (Chapter 1), pp. 13-47 in The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics (Princeton University Press, 2009).


Recommended Reading

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Margaret Graver, A Science of Mind, pp. 15-34; The Pathetic Syllogism, pp. 35-60 & Vigor and Responsibility, pp. 61-83 in Stoicism and Emotion (The University of Chicago Press, 2007).
Thurs . , S ep t 13 th S ex & Ci vi c s oci ety

Kathy Gaca

Desires Hunger and Plato the Regulator (pp. 23-58) in The Making of Fornication: Eros, Ethics and Political Reform in Greek Philosophy and Early Christianity (University of California Press, 2003). You might also find it useful to skim through the Introduction (pp. 1-20) to get a sense of her larger project.

Recommended Reading:

Mark J. Adair, Platos View of the Wandering Uterus, The Classical Journal 91:2 (1996), pp. 153-163. John Harvey Kellogg, The Sexual Relations, esp. pp. 127-130, in Plain Facts for Old and Young (I.F. Segner, 1882). Public domain, Google books. Christopher Faraone, Magical and Medical Approaches to the Wandering Womb, Classical Antiquity 30:1 (2011), pp. 1-32.
W e e k 4 : J uda i sm & E a rly C h ri sti a n i ty: Di vi n e La w

We continue to examine the role of various Greco-Roman philosophical systems, as well as Judaism, in the emerging theology of Christianity. Notably, we will consider shifting interpretations on the meaning of sexual im/morality among the earliest Christians and its influence on the West.
Tues . , S ep t 1 8 th Thurs . , S ep t 20
th

N o Clas s Ros h Has han ah The Roots of ( Chri s ti an ) S exual Morali ty

Kathy Gaca

Driving Aphrodite from the World (selections) (pp. 224240) in The Making of Fornication (University of California Press, 2003). Moral Psychology and Platonic Discourse (Chapter 1), pp. 15-49 (focus esp. on pp. 20-42) in The Death of the Soul in Romans 7 (Mohr Siebeck, 2008).

Emma Wasserman,

Recommended Reading

Peter T. Struck, Chrysippuss Reading and Authorial Intention: The Case of the Mural at Samos, pp. 279-282 in Birth of the Symbol: Ancient Readers and the Limits of Their Texts (Princeton University Press, 2004).

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W e e k 5: J uda i sm & E a rly C h ri sti a n i ty: Se lf - M a ste ry

Building on our work from last week, this week we will reflect on the foundations of broader Christian ethics and the implications for achieving what we might term salvation.
Tues . , S ep t 25 th Thurs . , S ep t 27
th

N o Clas s Y om K i p p ur Chri s ti an ethi cs

Stanley Stowers

Jesus as a Teacher of Ethics According to Matthew in Stoicism in Early Christianity, eds. Dudenberg, et al. (Hendrickson, 2011)

Exodus (19-24); Daniel (9,12); Matthew (5); Luke (6:17-49)


W e e k 6 : A ug usti n e De sc a rte s: Sa lva ti on H i story & C a rte si a n Dua li sm

With Augustine came a new concept of salvation. With Descartes came a new way of conceiving of the self. We will examine these shifts in personhood and the path to the afterlife, with particular attention to how these interpretations continue to hold sway in many of our current discourses, particularly on the body.
Tues . , Octob er 2 n d Des i re & Con s equen ce

Augustine G. Meilaender,
Recommended Reading

The City of God and On Marriage (selections) Sweet Necessities: Food, Sex and Saint Augustine, Journal of Religious Ethics 29.1 (2001), pp. 3-18.

Peter Brown,I Beseech You: Be Transformed: Origen (Chapter 8), pp. 160177 in The Body and Society: Men, Women, and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity (Columbia University Press, 1988). C.T. Mathewes, Original Sin and the Hermeneutics of Charity: A Response to Gilbert Meilaender, Journal of Religious Ethics 29.1 (2001), pp. 35-42.
Thurs . , Oct 4 th Cartes i an Duali s m

Descartes
Recommended Reading

(selections)

Martin & Barresi, Everything That Happened and What it Means, pp. 290-305 in The Rise and Fall of the Soul and Self (Columbia University Press, 2006).
W e e k 7 : Sturm un d Dra n g ?
Tues . , Oct 9 th Thurs . , Oct 1 1 th N o Clas s , Lon g Week en d mi dterm i n clas s

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W e e k 8 : Th e E n li g h te n m e n t & G e rm a n Rom a n ti c i sm : Th e Li m i ts of H um a n K n ow le dg e

Is morality rational? What is our ethical obligation to our fellow human beings? How can we be sure about the nature of God? Through an examination of Kant, Schleiermacher and Hegel, we will trace the evolution of thought on these questions and consider whether one can or should, in fact, deny knowledge in order to make room for faith.
Tues . , Oct 1 6 th True Reli g i on

I. Kant

Conclusion: On Determining the Boundary of Pure Reason, pp. 104-118 [99-113] in Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, ed. Gary Hatfield (Cambridge University Press, 1997). The Nature of Religion (Second Speech), in On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers (Harper, 1958).

F. Schleiermacher
Recommended Reading:

A. Seyhan, What is Romanticism, and where did it come from? pp. 1-20 in The Cambridge Companion to German Romanticism (Cambridge U. Press, 2009). Gary Hatfield, Introduction, pp. ix-xxxiv (esp. Notes on Terminology & Structure of the Work) in Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, ed. Gary Hatfield (Cambridge University Press, 1997).
Thurs . , Oct 1 8 th S p eculati ve I deali s m

G.W.F. Hegel

Selections from The Concept of God, The Consummate Religion and The Third Element: Community, Spirit in Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion (University of California Press, 1988).

Recommended Reading:

S. Prickett, Epilogue, pp. 264-268 in Origins of Narrative: The Romantic Appropriation of the Bible (Cambridge University Press, 1996).
W e e k 9 : N i e tz sc h e : P roto- P ost M ode rn i sm

Charging forward into the late nineteenth century, existentialist thinker Friedrich Nietzsche exposed religion as a form of ideology, questions the existence of universal constants and famously declared the death of God. We will focus our energies on Nietzsches critique of Christianity and the significance of his emphases on subservience and inferiority and its echoes in Karl Marx. We will also discuss how Nietzsche inspired thinkers like Sigmund Freud (and what exactly happened with that horse).
Tues . , Oct 23 rd I n troducti on to N i etzs che: G ood & Evi l

Nietzsche

On the Genealogy of Morals, pp. 107-144 in Basic Writings of Existentialism, ed. Gordon Marino (The Modern Library, 2004).

Walter Kaufmann

Philosophy of Religion | 8 Nietzsches Repudiation of Christ, pp. 288-334 in Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (Meridian Books, 1959).
G od i s Dead

Thurs . , Oct 25 th

Nietzsche

On the Genealogy of Morals, pp. 145-187 in Basic Writings of Existentialism, ed. Gordon Marino (The Modern Library, 2004). Fear and Trembling, pp. 3-39 in Basic Writings of Existentialism, ed. Gordon Marino (The Modern Library, 2004).

Sren Kierkegaard
Recommended Reading:

James C. Livingston, Karl Marx, pp. 229-233 in Modern Christian Thought: The Enlightenment and the Nineteenth Century (Fortress Press, 1997). J. Ratner-Rosenhagen, Dionysian Enlightenment (Chapter 5), pp. 219-262 (focus on the section Nietzsche and the Nazis pp. 239-250) in American Nietzsche (University of Chicago Press, 2012).
W e e k 10: W W I & W W I I : Sh a tte ri n g th e P rog re ssi on of H i story

This week we will consider whether Hegel and 19th century idealism, and notion of the progression of history, are dealt a fatal blow with the advent of the Second World War. We will also question the War itself and to what extent National Socialism was a religious movement. As we move more deeply into existentialism, we will also ask to what extent does death frame life and, in the aftermath of war, and in the face of the uncertainties of reality, how, if at all, can we find meaning in life?
Tues . , Oct 30 th P oli ti cal reli g i on

Adolf Hitler

State Selection of the Fit, pp. 428-435 and Personality and the Conception of the Folkish State, pp. 442-451 in Mein Kampf (Riverside Press, 1962). The Concepts of Religion, Political Religion and the Study of Nazism, Journal of Contemporary History 42:1 (2007), pp. 9-24. The Holy Reich: Conclusion, pp. 261-267 in The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945 (Cambridge University Press, 2003).

Stan Stowers,

R. Steigmann-Gall,

Recommended Reading:

David Konstan, Anger, Hatred, and Genocide in Ancient Greece, Common Knowledge 13:1 (2007), pp. 170-187.


Thurs . , N ovemb er 1 st Death frami n g li fe

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Martin Heidegger

The Possible Being-a-Whole of Da-sein and BeingToward-Death, pp. 295-336 from Being and Time in Basic Writings of Existentialism, ed. Gordon Marino (The Modern Library, 2004). Being and Nothingness (selections), pp. 337-409 in Basic Writings of Existentialism, ed. Gordon Marino (The Modern Library, 2004).

Jean-Paul Sartre,
Recommended Reading:

Georges Bataille, (1936-1939), pp. 178-222 (The Sacred Conspiracy, Nietzsche and the Fascists, Propositions, Nietzschean Chronicle, The Obelisk) in Vision of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939 (University of Minnesota Press, 1989).
W e e k 11: A f te rm a th : Th e odi c y & Suf f e ri n g

How can we speak descriptively and therapeutically on the subjects of suffering and evil? What are the natural rights of human beings and under what circumstances can they be violated? We will also examine the question of human exceptionalism and look at these same questions through the lens of animals, animal cognition and animal suffering.
Tues . , N ov 6 th Human s ufferi n g

Talal Asad,

Reflections on Cruelty and Torture, pp. 100-124 in Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Stanford University Press, 2003). Affinities Between Reproduction and Death (Chapter IV), pp. 55-62 Transgression (Chapter V), pp. 63-70 in Erotism: Death & Sensuality (City Lights Books, 1986).

Georges Bataille,

Recommended Reading:

Talal Asad, Thinking About Agency and Pain, pp. 67-99 in Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Stanford University Press, 2003). Georges Bataille, Murder, Hunting and War (Chapter VI), pp. 71-80 & Murder and Sacrifice (Chapter VII), pp. 81-88 in Erotism: Death & Sensuality (City Lights Books, 1986).
Thurs . , N ov 8 th An i mal s ufferi n g

Hilary Kornblith,

Knowledge as Natural Phenomenon, pp. 28-69 in Knowledge and its Place in Nature (Oxford, 2005).


Recommended Reading:

Philosophy of Religion | 10

Paula Casal, Is Muliculturalism Bad for Animals? The Journal of Political Philosophy 11:1 (2003), pp. 1-22. Peter Harrison, Theodicy and Animal Pain, Philosophy 64:247 (1989), pp. 79-92.
W e e k 12: W om e n & Re li g i on : Subve rti n g P a tri a rc h y

If knowledge is a natural kindwhat is gender? The concept of gender possesses the potential to signify a number of kinds of difference (biological, cultural, linguistic), but how is this difference marked? As we question how gender is (a) given, we will reflect on whether the terms of our cultural discourse(s) writ large are so phallocentric as to have been and be hopelessly limiting.
Tues . , N ov 1 3 th p hallocen tri s m/log ocen tri s m

Daniel Pals, Judith Butler,


Recommended Reading:

Religion and Personality: Sigmund Freud, Eight Theories of Religion (Oxford, 2006), pp. 53-84. Freud and the Melancholia of Gender, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge, 1999), pp. 73-84. Platos Pharmacy, selections.
Con s tructi on s of the other ( ?)

Jacques Derrida,
Thurs . , N ov 1 5 th

Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray,

Gender: The Circular Ruins of Contemporary Debate, pp. 11-18 in Gender Trouble (Routledge, 1999). The Wedding Between the Body & Language, pp. 13-22 Approaching the Other as Other, pp. 23-27 Civil Rights and Responsibilities for the Two Sexes, pp. 202-213 in Key Writings (Continuum, 2004).

Recommended Reading:

Jaill Raitt,

The Vagina Dentata and the Immaculatus Uterus Divini Fontis, Journal of the American Academy of Religion 48:3 (1980), pp. 415-431. Textual Harassment: Desire and the Female Body, The Good Body: Asceticism in Contemporary Culture, eds. Winkler & Cole (Yale University Press, 1994), pp. 49-63.

Margaret R. Miles,

Philosophy of Religion | 11
W e e k 13: Sturm un d Dra n g re vi si te d

Tues . , N ov 20 th Thurs . , N ov 22 n d

N o Clas s : S B L/AAR Con feren ce Than k s g i vi n g B reak

W e e k 14 : Te c h n olog y & C og n i ti ve Sc i e n c e : I n troduc ti on

Shifting from examining concepts of the mind to the mind itself, we consider the benefits to merging the study of what it means to be human with the field of cognitive science. Specifically, we will begin to study the intersections of cognitive science and religion with an eye to its critiques of, among other categories, epistemology, postmodernism and ethics. We then apply the lessons of embodiment and perception to the question of personhood.
Tues . , N ov 27 th i n troduci n g cog s ci ap p roaches to reli g i on

Edward Slingerland,

Introduction, pp. 1-28 in What Science Offers the Humanities: Integrating Body and Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2008). Investigating Knowledge Itself, pp. 1-27 in Knowledge and its Place in Nature (Oxford, 2005).
Techn olog i es & S oci al con s tructi on s

Hilary Kornblith,

Thurs . , N ov 29 th

N. Isaacson,

Preterm Babies and the Mother Machine pp. 89-100 in Culture in Mind: Toward a Sociology of Culture and Cognition (Routledge 2002). Counterintuitive Concepts and Gods, pp. 86-93 in Minds and Gods: The Cognitive Foundations of Religion (Oxford, 2006).

Todd Tremlin
Recommended Reading:

R. Rorty, Cultural Politics and the Existence of God, pp. 53-77 in N. Frankenberry, ed., Radical Interpretation in Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2002). M. Bloch, Are Religious Beliefs Counter-Intuitive? pp. 129-146 in N. Frankenberry, ed., Radical Interpretation in Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2002).
W e e k 15: Te c h n olog y & C og Sc i : W orldvi e w s , C oun te ri n tui ti on & P op ula r C ulture

We continue our investigation of the offerings of cognitive science for the humanities with a reconsideration of a central text for the Religious Studies department at Wheaton: Ninian Smarts Worldviews. We conclude by asking: how pervasive is religion today? Have the masses been driven out of the pews and into a secular existence? Has modernity rendered religion hopelessly counterintuitive?


Tues . , Decemb er 4 th Revi s i ti n g worldvi ews

Philosophy of Religion | 12

Ilkka Pyysiinen, Ninian Smart

Religion, Worldview, and Ethics, pp. 143-195 in How Religion Works (Brill, 2001). Introduction, pp. 1-11 & Exploring Religion and Analyzing Worldviews, pp. 12-34 [13-36] in Worldviews: Crosscultural Explorations of Human Beliefs (Prentice-Hall, 1995).
i ron y & redes cri p ti on

Thurs . , Dec 6 th

Russell T. McCutcheon,

Redescribing Religion and Film: Teaching the Insider/Outsider Problem, pp. 179-199 in Critics Not Caretakers (SUNY Press, 2001). Is Everything Sacred? Vanity Fair (October 2004). http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2004/10/leb owitz_excerpt200410

Fran Lebowitz,

Recommended Reading:

Charlie Rose interview with Fran Lebowitz and Frank Rich (discussion on religion up to 7:00m) http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/1208 Monty Python Life of Brian _____________________________________________________________________________ Possible Project/Paper topics: (1) How have certain artists/writers/literary movements/cultural commentators/scientists influenced the philosophy of religion in the 20th century (e.g., Algonquin Round Table, Picasso, Gore Vidal, Woody Allen, the search for Higgs Boson, advances in cognitive science, etc.)? (2) A film that offers a humorous examination of the historical progression of some of the main themes and/or philosophical movements studied in the course; A film that reenacts a debate between some of our interlocutors (e.g., Hegel and Schleiermacher). (3) How have religious philosophical discussions impacted political systems (contemporary or past)? (4) A focused study on religious philosophical ideals in popular culture (expressed by lay persons) that, in fact, reflect established, systematic and formal philosophical positions in the field (e.g., see video of Katharine Hepburn on our course website). (5) An investigation on how/whether the development of the idea of the autonomous self (Descartes), the cult of personality (Hitler), and the cult of fame (Lebowitz) have contributed to shifts in cultural media tastes (think the Kardashians and/or broad political discourse). (6) Develop an existential justification for rebuilding the Twisted Sisters on campus! (7) How did Augustine alter our understanding of Paul?

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