BA Philosophy and Religion

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
World Philosophies: Ethics and Ideas in the History of Thought

Course unit fact file
Unit code RELT21701
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Philosophy has played an important role in religious and ethical thinking around the world for millennia. The answers that philosophers have given to fundamental questions about the nature of truth, being, the cosmos, language, and the good life have been shaped by their commitment to religious truth, which they often saw as complementing rather than opposing philosophy. Traditions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam trace their philosophical lineage to the ancient Greek philosophical tradition. Philosophy in the Hinduism is a rich discipline with a distinctive genealogy.


Hence, in this survey course students will be introduced to the history of philosophical thought in the Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, and Christian traditions. Lectures will focus on themes that continue to be relevant in philosophy today, including metaphysics, philosophy of language, logic, ethics, cosmology, psychology, and epistemology. Students will learn how pre- and early-modern thinkers and religious figures responded to familiar philosophical questions in sometimes familiar, sometimes unfamiliar, but always fascinating ways.



Available on which programme(s)?

BA Religions and Theology

BA Philosophy and Religion

(BA Theological Studies in Philosophy and Ethics)

BA Comparative Religion and Social Anthropology



  • To provide an opportunity for second year undergraduates to deepen their knowledge and understanding key concepts and debates about philosophical questions in different religious traditions
  • To understand how key thinkers and philosophical movements have influenced religious thought.
  • To appreciate the enduring religious relevance and importance of long-standing philosophical problems.


Teaching and learning methods

Knowledge transfer in lectures will be augmented and consolidated by means of group work on classic texts in seminars.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate a deeper understanding of key thinkers and philosophical movements in different religious traditions
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how religious and philosophical questions intersect.
  • Understand how key philosophers and philosophical movements have influenced religious thought.


Intellectual skills

  • Enhance your ability to formulate clear and convincing arguments within essays.
  • Demonstrate a greater ability to problematize intellectual positions that philosophers have taken.
  • Learn to critically engage with both primary and secondary sources with a view to forming your own opinions.


Practical skills

  • Debate in a group setting (seminars) key philosophical concepts, movements and thinkers.
  • Conduct research by using more extensive primary and secondary material.


Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Have increased confidence in public speaking skills.
  • Form reasoned arguments in other contexts.
  • Recognise and critique other arguments or positions. 


Assessment methods

Assessment task 

Formative or Summative



Source AnalysisSummative 2000 words 50%
Essay Summative 2000 words 50%

Feedback methods

Feedback Method 

Formative or Summative 

Written feedback on essay Summative 
Written feedback on source analysis Summative 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Alexander Samely Unit coordinator
David Law Unit coordinator
Kamran Karimullah Unit coordinator

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