Modules for course VV56 | BA/PHRE
BA Philosophy and Religion

These are the modules currently offered on this course in the 2018–19 academic year.

You can also view the modules offered in the years: 2017–18; 2019–20.

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Year 1 Modules

Optional Modules

120 credits from:

  • VPR-1103: Existentialism (20) (Semester 2)
    The module will begin with an overview of the meaning of existentialism, its key themes and thinkers. The module is then divided into five parts. In part one we examine the philosophical groundwork that underpins existentialism as a theory. Here students will be introduced to such ideas as Sartre’s concepts of consciousness, being, nothingness, facticity and transcendence. In part two we explore the importance of freedom to the human condition, and the meaning behind Sartre’s famous slogans, ‘we are condemned to be free’, and ‘existence precedes essence’. Here we will examine the first of our contemporary films, The Truman Show, in order to demonstrate the validity of these ideas within society today. Part three then surveys the notion of the ‘absurd’ as a philosophical concept and identifies its trace in literature, art, and film. Students will examine a variety of responses to the absurd, including those outlined by Kafka, Camus, and Kierkegaard. We will then watch the film Ground hog Day with a view to identifying how these responses can be portrayed in contemporary film. Part four examines Sartre’s notion of bad faith, and the ease in which we fail to respond adequately to the demands of existentialism. Finally, part five considers the effect that others have on our existence and in our capacity to engage our lives authentically.
  • VPR-1104: Death of God (20) (Semester 1)
    The module begins by examining how the events of Nietzsche’s life and the cultural climate of his time are reflected in his writing style and the ideas he seeks to expound. Following this introduction, the module is divided into four parts. In part one we explore the philosophical context for why God’s death is deemed a necessity for Nietzsche. Here we look at his criticism of Christianity and Platonism, and examine his concepts of will to power, slave and master morality, bad conscience and ressentiment. In part two we examine the nature of God’s death, and by looking at a variety of Nietzsche’s writings, we piece together how God ‘died’. In part three, we begin to investigate the implications of the death of God for our understanding of morality, truth, and suffering. Here students are introduced to Nietzsche’s idea of a revaluation of values, and his famous conceptions of the Übermensch (or superman), eternal recurrence, and the relevance of Dionysus. Finally, in part 4 we revisit the key ideas that have been explored within this module to entertain a controversial yet coherent reading of Nietzsche’s philosophy—one that proposes the possibility of God’s return.
  • VPR-1105: Ethics: Religious Perspectives (20) (Semester 2)
    The module will begin with a discussion of the origin of ethics and will examine some of the relevant survivng materials relevant to the subject from the great civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt (including the stories about heroes who exemplified the kind of virtues most admired, and the legal codes which defined acceptable and unacceptable conduct). The module will then examine the ethical values of the Jewish religion, as reflected in the Old Testament, and the ethical values of the Christian tradition as reflected in the New Testament. This will be followed by an overview of ethical concerns in the Buddhist tradition. The module will conclude with an examination of the ‘divine command’ theory of ethics and will consider to what extent the moral good should be identified with God’s will or God’s command.
    or
    VPC-1105: Moeseg: Agweddau Crefyddol (20) (Semester 2)
    Bydd y modiwl yn dechrau gyda thrafodaeth ar darddiad moeseg a bydd yn edrych ar beth o'r deunyddiau perthnasol i'r pwnc sydd wedi goroesi o ddiwylliannau mawr Mesopotamia a'r Aifft (yn cynnwys storïau am arwyr a ymgorfforai'r rhinweddau a edmygid fwyaf, a'r codau cyfreithiol a ddiffiniai ymddygiad derbyniol ac annerbyniol). Bydd y modiwl wedyn yn archwilio gwerthoedd moesegol y grefydd Iddewig, fel yr adlewyrchir hwynt yn yr Hen Destament, a gwerthoedd moesegol y traddodiad Cristnogol, fel yr adlewyrchir hwynt yn y Testament Newydd. Yn dilyn hynny ceir golwg gyffredinol ar faterion moesegol sy'n gysylltiedig â'r traddodiad Bwdistaidd. Daw'r modiwl i'w derfyn drwy edrych ar ddamcaniaeth foesegol 'gorchymyn dwyfol', a bydd yn ystyried i ba raddau y dylid uniaethu daioni moesol ag ewyllys Duw neu orchymyn Duw.
  • VPR-1106: Intro: Judaism & Christianity (20) (Semester 1)
    The module outlines of some of the basic tenets of the Jewish faith as reflected in the Old Testament and the Christian faith as reflected in the New Testament. Among issues considered will be the contribution to the Jewish faith by the rabbis and the controversies faced by Judaism over the centuries, culminating in a discussion of issues relating to the holocaust. Among Jewish philosophers discussed will be Maimonides and Martin Buber. The modules will then turn to the Christian faith and will examine some of the theological issues arising from the New Testament, with a particular focus on Paul’s theology and the Early Church Fathers, such as Origen and Eusebius. There will also be a discussion of a representative sample of major Christian thinkers over the centuries.
    or
    VPC-1106: Iddewiaeth a Christnogaeth (20) (Semester 1)
    Man cychwyn y modiwl fydd astudiaeth o rai syniadau yn yr Hen Destament a’r Rabiniaid cynnar; yna eir ymlaen i drafod rhai o’r pynciau dadleuol a gododd ynglyn â’r grefydd hon dros y canrifoedd gan ddiweddu gyda thrafodaeth o’r holocost a rhai o syniadau prif feddylwyr y grefydd dros y blynyddoedd. Yn troir at y Testament Newydd a chanolbwyntio ar Paul cyn mynd ymlaen i ystyried cyfraniad y Tadau Eglwysig a rhai o’r prif feddylwyr Cristnogol dros y canrifoedd.
  • VPR-1109: Introduction to Islam (20) (Semester 1)
    Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion, yet for most people its beliefs and practice remain obscure despite having close religious connection with Judaism and Christianity. For this reason, this module has been designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to Islamic faith, philosophy and practice. The module will introduce students to the study of Islamic theology by exploring the emergence and development of Islam, from its origins in the seventh century to its modern revival. Therefore, the module will guide students through the following aspects of the study of Islam: (1) Introduce students to the history and development of early and modern Islam (against the background of social and cultural contexts); (2) Examine core Islamic beliefs and practices; and (3) Investigate the wider Islamic tradition by surveying Islamic law, philosophy and mysticism.
  • VPR-1110: Themes - Eastern Religion/Phil (20) (Semester 2)
    This module offers an introduction to the philosophical and religious development of key eastern religious traditions - Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Shinto – and provides a detailed overview of their origins, histories, doctrines and scriptures. In order to explore a wide spectrum of religious and philosophical beliefs, the following will be considered teaching priorities: (1) Survey of the beliefs and practices of six Eastern religions and philosophies; (2) understand the multifaceted religious heritage of the six Eastern religions – from the pre-modern era to contemporary religious practice; (3) Examination of the mutual influences and intersections of the Eastern religions and philosophies and how they interact with other elements of Eastern culture and society; (4) Deconstruct the East and West meeting points, focusing on the spread and influence of Eastern religion and philosophy in the West.
  • VPR-1300: Intro to Philosophy of Religio (20) (Semester 1)
    The module begins by clarifying the state of the analytic philosophy of religion at the turn of the 20th century, reflecting upon its inheritance of 19th century ‘modernity’. This is contrasted with some concurrent developments in the continental tradition (German Romanticism, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche). This is the context from which, and into which, Wittgenstein speaks. We will cover the early, middle, and late eras of Wittgenstein’s thought, and show the revolutionary impact that his thought had for the philosophy of religion. We track the various directions in which Wittgenstein’s influence was felt; for example, in A. J. Ayer’s verificationism, or those overtly ‘Wittgensteinian’ philosophers of religion such as D. Z. Phillips. The ‘meta-philosophy of religion’ is introduced throughout, as we tackle the question of how best to philosophise about religion.
  • VPR-1301: Introduction to Logic (20) (Semester 2)

Year 2 Modules

Optional Modules

120 credits from:

  • VPR-2100: Metaphysics (20) (Semester 2)
  • VPR-2101: Early Modern Philosophy (20) (Semester 1)
  • VPR-2200: The Problem of Evil (20) (Semester 1)
  • VPR-2206: Sex and Society (20) (Semester 1)
    The module will begin by addressing the moral permissibility of various kinds of sexual activity. Must it be heterosexual? Must sexual activity take place within the confines of the institution of marriage? What are the arguments for and against the ordination of gay bishops in the Church of England? Should the Church give its blessing to gay marriages? The module will then explore the predominant view of the Old and New Testaments concerning sex, marriage and divorce. It will then trace the rise of the concern for gender equality and the influence of the feminist movement. Finally, consideration will be given to the way in which questions about sexual morality lead to more general issues about social relationships.
    or
    VPC-2206: Crefydd, Cenedligrwydd a Rhiwi (20) (Semester 2)
    Bydd y modiwl yn dechrau drwy roi sylw i ba fathau o weithgaredd rhywiol a oddefir yn foesol. Oes raid iddo fod yn heterorywiol? A ydyw'n rhaid i ryw ddigwydd o fewn sefydliad priodas? Beth yw'r dadleuon o blaid ac yn erbyn ordeinio esgobion hoyw yn Eglwys Loegr? A ddylai’r eglwys roi ei bendith ar briodasau hoyw? Bydd y modiwl yn edrych wedyn ar y farn amlycaf yn yr Hen Destament a'r Newydd ynghylch rhyw, priodas ac ysgariad. Bydd wedyn yn olrhain cynnydd y pryder ynghylch cydraddoldeb gender a dylanwad y mudiad ffeministaidd. Yn olaf, ystyrir y ffordd y mae cwestiynau ynghylch moesoldeb rhywiol yn arwain at faterion mwy cyffredinol yn ymwneud â chysylltiadau cymdeithasol.
  • VPC-2207: Astudiaeth Annibynnol (20) (Semester 1)
    Mae’r modiwl yn rhoi cyfle i fyfyrwyr weithio ar bwnc o'u dewis eu hunain. Gall y pwnc fod yn rhyngddisgyblaethol ei natur a bydd yn gysylltiedig ag un o'r disgyblaethau a gynrychiolir yn y radd, neu'r ddwy ohonynt. Bydd yr ymchwil a wneir wedi'i seilio ar ffynonellau eilaidd a bydd yn dangos ymwybyddiaeth o wahanol ddulliau gweithredu methodolegol a'r gallu i leoli, dethol a chyfuno gwybodaeth o amrywiaeth o ffynonellau.
  • VPR-2209: Psychology of Religion: TMH&D (20) (Semester 2)
    The module will begin with a survey of the concept of madness to highlight the difficulties in its definition, and to appreciate the variety of explanations attributed to it in Western culture through the ages. Students will be introduced to the intimate relationship between psychology and religion as two different yet interrelated approaches for making sense of ‘madness’, and the problems apparent in attempts to distinguish between the two. Following this we shall explore two key psychoanalytic models that were developed early in the 20th century for making sense of ‘madness’ and religious experience: the models of Freud and C.G Jung. Students will apply these models to prominent case studies of demonic possession (both medieval and contemporary) in order to evaluate the limitations and benefits of either a psychological or religious diagnoses and possible cure.
  • VPR-2217: Fundamentalism (20) (Semester 1)
    Today people across the world are struggling to counteract the upsurge of religious fundamentalism, creating a growing interest around this phenomenon. With this in mind, the module will examine: (1) the nature of fundamentalism, detailing its historical background and manifestation in Islam, Christianity, and other world religions; (2) the relationship with scripture will be examined; and (3) The module will explore a variety of vivid case studies – from the Wahhabis in the Islamic world, the Christian coalition of the United States, to the Hindu nationalists of India - in order to provide a much-needed window into fundamentalism. These case studies will provide insight into the various social structures, cultural contexts and political environments in which fundamentalist movements have emerged around the world.
  • VPR-2220: Political Philosophy (20) (Semester 2)
  • VPR-2400: Buddhism in the Modern World (20) (Semester 2)
  • VPR-2401: God and Government (20) (Semester 2)
  • VPR-2402: The Holocaust: Philo & Pel Rep (20) (Semester 1) or
    VPC-2402: Yr Holocost: Ymatebion Crefydd (20) (Semester 1)

Year 3 Modules

Compulsory Modules

Semester 1

  • VPR-3300: Undergraduate Dissertation (40)
    In this final level dissertation students will mainly be working alone to produce a dissertation of approximately 10,000 words. The content of the dissertation will be determined by the students in conjunction with their supervisor. As students may choose to undertake project which involves research in both philosophy and religion, they may consult other members of the teaching team in addition to their supervisor. Students will also be asked to produce a 20 minute assessed oral presentation on their dissertation.
    or
    VPC-3300: Traethawd Hir (40)
    Yn y traethawd hir lefel derfynol hwn bydd myfyrwyr yn gweithio'n bennaf ar eu pennau eu hunain i lunio traethawd hir o tua 10,000 o eiriau. Y myfyrwyr, mewn cydweithrediad â'u goruchwyliwr, fydd yn penderfynu ar gynnwys y traethawd hir. Oherwydd y gall myfyrwyr ddewis gwneud project sy'n cynnwys ymchwil mewn athroniaeth a chrefydd, gallant ymgynghori ag aelodau eraill y tîm addysgu yn ogystal â'u goruchwyliwr eu hunain. Gofynnir i fyfyrwyr hefyd ddarparu cyflwyniad llafar 20 munud ar eu traethawd hir a chaiff ei asesu.

Semester 2

  • VPR-3300: Undergraduate Dissertation
    In this final level dissertation students will mainly be working alone to produce a dissertation of approximately 10,000 words. The content of the dissertation will be determined by the students in conjunction with their supervisor. As students may choose to undertake project which involves research in both philosophy and religion, they may consult other members of the teaching team in addition to their supervisor. Students will also be asked to produce a 20 minute assessed oral presentation on their dissertation.
    or
    VPC-3300: Traethawd Hir
    Yn y traethawd hir lefel derfynol hwn bydd myfyrwyr yn gweithio'n bennaf ar eu pennau eu hunain i lunio traethawd hir o tua 10,000 o eiriau. Y myfyrwyr, mewn cydweithrediad â'u goruchwyliwr, fydd yn penderfynu ar gynnwys y traethawd hir. Oherwydd y gall myfyrwyr ddewis gwneud project sy'n cynnwys ymchwil mewn athroniaeth a chrefydd, gallant ymgynghori ag aelodau eraill y tîm addysgu yn ogystal â'u goruchwyliwr eu hunain. Gofynnir i fyfyrwyr hefyd ddarparu cyflwyniad llafar 20 munud ar eu traethawd hir a chaiff ei asesu.

Optional Modules

80 credits from: