Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


As philosophers such as Charles Taylor have observed, in the contemporary world it is no longer the case that belief in 'God' is the default setting, and no longer do the majority opt to embrace one of the more 'traditional' religious forms of life. In fact, the present climate is characterised by the availability of a variety of religious and non-religious options, movements, or ways of life. In this context, what does it mean to speak of 'God' when 'god' is a word that is used to describe all manner of things? This course will examine the development of the philosophical arguments addressed to these questions in the modern period. Students will learn to evaluate the key writers on the subject, and will be expected to identify the evolution of philosophical factors which have contributed to major changes in religious thought.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2020.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Evaluate the main developments that have occurred in the modern understanding of religious thought;

2. Critically analyse key movements in modern religious thought debated today;

3. Reflect upon and synthesise the philosophical implications of modern religious claims;

4. Demonstrate advanced writing, research and information technology skills appropriate to studies of philosophy and the history of ideas.


This course will examine the philosophical arguments concerning 'God', the gods, and transcendence developed by a variety of modern thinkers. Figures covered may include: Immanuel Kant; Friedrich Nietzsche; William James; Martin Buber; Paul Tillich, Hannah Arendt; Jacques Derrida; Emmanuel Levinas, and, Richard Rorty.

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Book review in the style of a public outlet - 30%

Essay: Research essay - 40%

Online Learning Activity: Online Learning Task - 30%

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.