PHIL 3600-001 -- Philosophy of Religion
Spring 2014
MWF 10:00-10:50
HLMS 211

Chris Heathwood
Office: HLMS 192
Hours: Wed 3:00-5:00, and by appointment

James Hall
Office: HLMS 15 (in the basement of Hellems)
Hours: Mon, Fri 11:00-12:00
, and by appointment

Course Description
In Western philosophy of religion, we attempt to answer fundamental questions concerning the important doctrines of the major Western religions, especially the doctrines concerning God.  We attempt to answer questions about

Unfortunately, we will have time to cover only some of these topics.  We will approach them by way of the writings of some important philosophers, classic and contemporary.  Our goals will be to understand and evaluate some of the important theses and arguments on these topics.

This is a course in the philosophy of religion.  It is not a course in comparative religion, the history of religion, or the psychology of religion.  Though these are important questions, we will not be asking what the religious beliefs of some group are, or how they differ from the beliefs of some other group, or what cultural circumstances might have led them to adopt their religious views.  We will be trying to figure out the correct answers to questions like the questions above.

This is a challenging course, especially for non-majors.  Much of the reading is difficult and must be read slowly and more than once.  Many of the ideas and arguments presented in lecture and in the readings are unfamiliar, difficult, and technical.  You will be expected to know the material thoroughly, to think deeply, and write very clearly and precisely about the issues.  You must have taken at least two courses in philosophy at the university level to be eligible to take this course.  But more experience than that is recommended.  Talk to me about it if you are unsure.

Course Website
The course website, which you should check regularly, can be found here:

There you will find:

No book is required. We will supply the readings via the course website. Some of these will require a password, which I will give you in class.

Class Mates
So that you will have someone from whom to get the notes (and any other pertinent info) should you miss class, introduce yourself to two classmates and get their email addresses and phone numbers.

Course Requirements
1. Technology.  You must have an email account and regular access to the internet, and you must check your email address and the course website frequently. Text messaging during class is strictly prohibited.  First-time offenders will be asked to leave their phones on my desk for the remainder of class; repeat offenders will be excused from class.  When you get to class, turn your cell phone OFF. If you use a laptop in class, you may use it only for taking notes. No web-surfing, emailing, facebooking, etc.  If you use a laptop, disable the wifi.

2. Quizzes and/or Homework (20%).  To do well in this class, you must attend class regularly, arrive on time, complete each reading assignment on time, take notes on readings and in class, ask questions when you have them, and contribute to class discussions.  There will be pop quizzes designed to test whether you have done the assigned reading and have been coming to class (and are coming to class on time – pop quizzes occur at the start of class).  If you keep up with the readings, come to class, and take notes on both, the quizzes should be easy.  If you don't do these things, they will be difficult. There may also be occasional homework assignments. You can drop your lowest quiz score.

For many of the readings, I supply reading questions. Have them with you as you are doing each reading. Write down what you take the answers to be. If there is a pop quiz on the reading, it is likely -- though not guaranteed -- that the questions on the quiz will be take from the questions below. Reading quizzes are open-note, but not open-reading, so if you do this, you're very likely to do well on the reading quizzes.

3. Two Papers (40%).  You are required to write two papers (see below for tentative due dates).  I'll say more about the papers later.  Late papers will be penalized unless you have a legitimate, documented excuse.

4. Two Exams (40%). There will be two exams during the semester: a midterm exam and a cumulative final exam. These will be in-class, short-answer, bluebook exams.  To help you prepare, and to give you an idea about the sorts of questions you can expect, a study guide will be made available before each exam.  Furthermore, the class meeting before the exam will be devoted to reviewing the study guide.  But you must come prepared for this review session by having written out answers to questions on the study guide.

The midterm will take place over two consecutive class periods. The final exam will take place during our scheduled final exam time slot. See below for dates.

If you miss an exam, you will be permitted to take a makeup exam only if you have a legitimate, documented excuse (e.g., non-trivial illness, religious obligation, nuclear war.). If you must miss an exam, you need to let us know in advance.

Your final grade for the course is determined according to the following scheme:

20% 100 points
First Paper 20% 100 points
Midterm Exam 20% 100 points
Second Paper 20% 100 points
Final Exam 20% 100 points
100% 500 points

We don't grade on a curve, so it is theoretically possible for everyone to get an A (and also for everyone to get an F). But assuming that grades are distributed throughout the spectrum of grades in the normal way, the average grade in the class will probably be about a B-.

There are no "extra-credit" opportunities (with the exception of possible extra-credit questions on exams). So there's no need to ask if you can "do extra credit" to boost your grade. If you want to get a good grade, never miss class, always arrive on time, always do the reading, take notes on readings and in class, ask questions when you have them, contribute to class discussions, start working on your papers early, start working on the study guides for exams well in advance, work on these study guides by actually writing out your answers to the questions on them (as you would have to do if it were a question on the real exam), come to the review sessions having already put a lot of work into the study guides, come to office hours when you are confused about the material, and arrange study groups with your classmates.

We will use a standard "non-curved" grading scale, as follows:



Course Schedule (continually evolving)

Date Topic

Readings, Homework (due on date listed; subject to change)

M 1/13 Introductions, Roll, Syllabus  
  W 1/15 Finish Syllabus
The Nature of God
Hand Out Questionnaire
Rowe, "Introduction" (2007)
Rowe, "The Idea of God" (2007), pp. 4-11

F 1/17 The Nature of God
Slides for The Nature of God
Rowe, "The Idea of God" (2007), pp. 11-18
: Questionnaire Due
M 1/20 NO CLASS:
Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
HW: watch these two videos:
(1) MLK speech; (2) Bicycle Thieves
W1/22 Review Questionnaire Results
Our Definition of God
Aquinas, excerpt from Summa Theologica (1274)
  F 1/24 Omnipotence
Slides for Omnipotence
Re-read Aquinas, excerpt from Summa Theologica (1274)
Mavrodes, "Some Puzzles Concerning Omnipotence" (1963)
M 1/27 Omnipotence Frankfurt, "The Logic of Omnipotence" (1964)
W 1/29 Omnipotence  
  F 1/31 God and Morality
Slides for God and Morality
Mortimer, "Morality is Based on God's Commands" (1950)
Plato, excerpt from Euthyphro (380 BC)
Antony, "Good Minus God" (2011)
M 2/3
God and Morality
OPTIONAL: Dallas Morning News Opinion Blog, "Can you have morality without the existence of God?" (2014)
W 2/5 God and Morality


  F 2/7 Freedom and Foreknowledge Augustine, excerpt from On the Free Choice of the Will (c. 395)
Plantinga, "On Ockham's Way Out" (1986), pp. 235-237 (2/3 of the way down)
M 2/10 Freedom and Foreknowledge
Handout 1 - Augustine's Formulation
Plantinga, thru to the end of §I (p. 243)
  W 2/12 Freedom and Foreknowledge
Handout 2 - Our Official Formulation
re-read Plantinga, "On Ockham's Way Out" (1986), thru to the end of §I (p. 243)
  F 2/14 Writing a Philosophy Paper read the Paper Guidelines
read the First Paper document
re-read Plantinga's reply to Boethianism, from p. 239 (1/4 of the way down) to p. 240 (a little over halfway down)
M 2/17 Freedom and Foreknowledge
Handout 3 - Ockham's Way Out
Plantinga, §II.

W 2/19 Freedom and Foreknowledge Plantinga, §IV.
F 2/21 Pascal's Wager First Paper Due (no new reading assignments)
M 2/24 Pascal's Wager
Handout 4 - Pascal's Wager
Pascal, excerpt from Pensées (1669)
Hájek, "Pascal's Wager" (2012), §§1-3
Midterm Study Guide up
W 2/26 Pascal's Wager Hájek, rest
  F 2/28 Pascal's Wager / Midterm Review  
M 3/3 Review for Midterm Exam  
W 3/5 Midterm Exam, Part 1  
  F 3/7 Midterm Exam, Part 2 (bring a bluebook)
M 3/10 return and discuss papers and midterms  
W 3/12 Ontological Argument Anselm, excerpt from the Proslogion (1077), with an introduction by editors Pojman and Rea

F 3/14 Ontological Argument
Handout 5 - Anselm's Ontological Argument
Gaunilo, Anselm, Gaunilo's criticism and Anselm's rejoinder (1077)
M 3/17 Ontological Argument
Kant, excerpt from The Critique of Pure Reason (1789)
  W 3/19 Ontological Argument
Handout 6 - Kant's Objection to the Ontological Argument
Heathwood, "The Relevance of Kant's Objection to Anselm's Ontological Argument" (2011)
  F 3/21 Ontological Argument  
S  P  R  I  N  G     B  R  E  A  K
M 3/31 Religion without God? Poe, "Colleges Should Teach Religion to Their Students" (2014)

W 4/2 The Fine-Tuning Argument Collins, "God, Design, and Fine-Tuning" (~2002), §§I-II
OPTIONAL: Maudlin, "The Calibrated Cosmos" (2013)
  F 4/4 The Fine-Tuning Argument Re-Read Collins, §§I-II
Ananthaswamy, "Is the Universe Fine-Tuned for Life?" (2012)
M 4/7 The Fine-Tuning Argument Collins, §III
W4/9 The Fine-Tuning Argument
Handout 7 - The Fine Tuning Argument
Collins, §§IV-V

F 4/11 Second Paper
Arguments for Atheism
Hawthorn, "Arguments for Atheism" (1999), §1
Read Second Paper Topics (though more will be added)
Re-Read Philosophy Paper FAQ
M 4/14 Arguments for Atheism Hawthorn, §§2.1-2.3

W 4/16 Arguments for Atheism
Handout 8 - The "No Evidence" Argument
Hawthorn, re-read §2.2
F 4/18 Arguments for Atheism

Hawthorn, re-read §1.4; read §2.4 and §3

M 4/21 Life After Death

Second Paper Due
Begin working on the Study Guide for the Final Exam

W 4/23 Life After Death Kagan, "Dualism vs. Physicalism" (2012)
Kagan, "Arguments for the Existence of the Soul" (2012), pp. 24-49.
  F 4/25 Life After Death Kagan, "Arguments for the Existence of the Soul" (2012), pp. 49-56.
M 4/28 Review for Final Exam  

W 4/30 Final Exam, Part 1  

F 5/2
Return/Review Final Exam, Part 1
More review for Final Exam
Sa 5/3 Final Exam, Part 2 (Saturday, May 3, 4:30 p.m., in our room: HLMS 211) BRING A BLUEBOOK!

Academic Integrity
All students of the University of Colorado at Boulder are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of this institution. Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior. All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the Honor Code Council (; 303-735-2273). Students who are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy will be subject to both academic sanctions from the faculty member and non-academic sanctions (including but not limited to university probation, suspension, or expulsion). Other information on the Honor Code can be found at and at

Anyone caught violating the academic integrity policy (in any way) will automatically receive an F for this course, and may be subject to expulsion from the university. I take cheating very seriously.

Disability Services
If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to me a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner so that your needs can be addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities. Contact: 303-492-8671, Center for Community, N200, and

Religious Observances
Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to reasonably and fairly deal with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments, or required attendance.  Please let me know well in advance about any such conflicts, so we can address them.  For more information about the university’s policies on these matters, see

Classroom Behavior
Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, color, culture, religion, creed, politics, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and gender expression, age, disability, and nationalities. Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student's legal name. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this preference early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records. See policies at and at

Discrimination and Harassment
The University of Colorado at Boulder Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures, the University of Colorado Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures, and the University of Colorado Conflict of Interest in Cases of Amorous Relationships Policy apply to all students, staff, and faculty. Any student, staff, or faculty member who believes s/he has been the subject of sexual harassment or discrimination or harassment based upon race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status should contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) at 303-492-2127, or the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) at 303-492-5550. Information about the ODH, the above referenced policies, and the campus resources available to assist individuals regarding discrimination or harassment can be obtained at