EPR100: Ethics, Philosophy and Religion

What is the meaning of life? What does it mean to be human?  What do we owe to other people?  How can we understand our relationship with the divine?  What does it mean to talk about the divine or the infinite?  Can we have decent and meaningful human relationships without the presence of something greater? Are these questions universal, or culturally specific?

Tutor: The course normally recruits around 60 students per year, and is taught by 5 members of the academic staff and 2-3 postgraduate teaching assistants.

EPR 100 is designed to offer students the knowledge, academic techniques and skills to approach fundamental questions about the meaning of life and the human condition with confidence and, crucially, to consider what is at stake in ethical reasoning with self-assurance and maturity.  The perspectives offered by EPR 100 include the philosophical, theological, religious, western, Asian, the cross-cultural, ancient and modern. By taking EPR 100 you will acquire a range of essential theories, approaches and questions that will enable you to understand and assess practical ethical standpoints, to offer criticism of them and to develop your own independent views.

The course covers a range of core themes and perspectives including western and Asian philosophical and religious ethics and the authorities upon which ethical standpoints are grounded and the implications of evolution for religion and ethics.  The course is divided into five main areas:

  1. Philosophical Conceptions of God
  2. Sources and Resources for Christian Ethics
  3. After God?  The Fragmentation of Ethics, Philosophy and Religion
  4. Ethics, Philosophy and Religion in Asia
  5. Darwinism, Religion And Ethics

Teaching Method

The course consists of a two weekly one-hour lectures over two and a half terms, plus a weekly seminar.

Assessment

50% Coursework (four essays)
50% Examination (three hours)