Summer 2019 - PHIL 302 D100

Topics in Epistemology and Metaphysics (3)

Philosophy of Religion

Class Number: 4315

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    WMC 2202, Burnaby

    Th 9:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    WMC 2220, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    PHIL 201 or 203.



An exploration of philosophical issues concerning, e.g.: causation, time, modality, or the self; the realism/nominalism or realism/idealism debate; relativism; the concept of truth; naturalized epistemology; global epistemological skepticism or perhaps a 'local' form of skepticism such as skepticism about induction or about sensory belief. May be repeated for credit.


Selected Topics: Philosophy of Religion

[Note: students with credit for PHIL 331 in Spring 2017 may not take PHIL 302 in Summer 2019 for further credit.] 

The topic of this course is philosophical theology: the philosophical study of the concept of God and related concepts.  For a significant portion of the history of philosophy, philosophical and theological questions were so deeply intertwined as to be more or less inseparable. The aim of this course is to consider the major philosophical questions about God in both their western historical context and as they are treated in contemporary contexts. We will begin by considering the problem of evil: how is the existence of natural and human-caused evil compatible with the existence of a perfectly good God? We will then turn to the classical arguments for the existence of God, including the cosmological argument, the teleological argument and, most importantly, the ontological argument. We will then turn our attention to the divine attributes, especially including omnipotence, foreknowledge and freedom and we will pay special attention to the question whether the attributes traditionally ascribed to God are consistent with our basic understanding of the world and the things that populate it. In closing the course, we will consider two further topics: the historical debate over God’s causal role in the ordinary course of nature and the epistemology of religious belief.


  • Medium-Length paper (1500 word minimum) 25%
  • Medium-Length paper (1500 word minimum) 25%
  • One long final paper (3000 words minimum) 50%


Written work for this course will be submitted via Turnitin, a third party service licensed for use by SFU. Turnitin is used for originality checking to help detect plagiarism. Students will be required to create an account with Turnitin, and to submit their work via that account, on the terms stipulated in the agreement between the student and Turnitin. This agreement includes the retention of your submitted work as part of the Turnitin database. Any student with a concern about using the Turnitin service may opt to use an anonymous identity in their interactions with Turnitin. Students who do not intend to use Turnitin in the standard manner must notify the instructor at least two weeks in advance of any submission deadline. In particular, it is the responsibility of any student using the anonymous option (i.e. false name and temporary e-mail address created for the purpose) to inform the instructor such that the instructor can match up the anonymous identity with the student.



Plantinga, Alvin. God, Freedom and Evil. ISBN: 978-0802817310 

Other materials will be made available through the library website or through Canvas

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.