Arguing for and Against God's Existence


Course Objective

The student has:
Insight in classic and contemporary arguments for and against God's
The ability to cogently reflect on the epistemic credence of these
Insight in well-known objections against each of the discussed arguments

Course Content

Ever since Plato, philosophers have developed arguments for and against
the existence of God. Well-known examples include Aristotle’s argument
for the existence of an unmoved mover, Anselm’s argument for the
existence of a being than which none greater can be imagined, Leibniz’s
argument for the existence of a necessary being that is the cause of all
contingents, and the argument against God’s existence from evil. With
the rise of positivism in the second part of the nineteenth century and
the decline of metaphysics that went with it, the interest in arguments
for and against God’s existence faded away. However, the last decennia
of the twentieth century witnessed a resurgence of metaphysics. This
resulted in a revival of interest in these arguments. In this course, we
study both traditional and contemporary arguments for and against God’s
existence. Arguments for God's existence that are discussed include
cosmological, teleological, ontological, moral, aesthetic, and
modal-epistemic arguments. Arguments against God’s existence to be
discussed include the argument from evil, the argument from God’s
hiddenness, and the argument from allegedly incompatible divine
attributes. We will also investigate the meaning and function of
arguments for God’s existence. Are these arguments to be considered as
proofs? Are they necessary for rational belief in God? How do they fit
into a theistic worldview?

Teaching Methods

There will be lecture and one workshop per week.

Method of Assessment

One final, written exam (100%)


Literature will be spread via Canvas.

Target Audience

Mandatory for Master students Philosophy of Religion (Exploring a
Discipline). Elective for other Master's students.

Recommended background knowledge

Basic level understanding of epistemology and ontology.

General Information

Course Code W_FRAAGE
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Religion and Theology
Course Coordinator dr. ir. G.J.E. Rutten
Examiner dr. ir. G.J.E. Rutten
Teaching Staff dr. ir. G.J.E. Rutten

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

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