Syllabus for PHI-370 

PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION 


COURSE DESCRIPTION

Philosophy of Religion (PHI-370) explores the philosophical issues involved with religion as a universal human phenomenon. Topics include definitions of religion, proofs for the existence of God, the nature and variety of religious experience, the immortality of the soul, the problem of evil, the relation between religion and ethics, and the relation between science and religion. The course examines the philosophy of religion from a multicultural perspective. It includes readings from the most influential religious traditions.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

On successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Define religion.
  2. Describe the different dimensions of religion.
  3. Distinguish among the different meanings of the sacred from impersonal to anthropomorphic.
  4. Assess the significance of gender issues applied to God and/or the gods and language regarding them, especially in prayer and liturgical expression.
  5. Critically assess the different arguments for the existence of God.
  6. Explain the place of religious experience in the overall context of religious life.
  7. Analyze the problem of theodicy, also known as the problem of evil.
  8. Examine the role of religion in grounding ethics.
  9. Analyze the meaning and possibility of an afterlife.
  10. Explain the conflict between science and religion.
  11. Evaluate points of commonality for inter-religious dialogue and cooperation.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

ISBN-13: 978-0534505493

Supplemental Resources

Links to assigned Web resources will be provided in the study assignments of relevant assignment modules.

COURSE STRUCTURE

Philosophy of Religion is a three-credit online course, consisting of six (6) modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to complete the study assignments, complete and submit six written assignments and two journal assignments, and take a proctored midterm examination and an unproctored, online final examination. You are also required to take part in five graded online discussions and an ungraded "Introductions" forum.

The course's six assignment modules contain the learning objectives, detailed study assignments, written and journal assignments, and discussion questions.

Consult the course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

Philosophy of Religion requires you to participate in five (5) graded discussion forums on the class Discussion Board. In addition you are required to participate in an ungraded "Introductions" forum in module 1.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted activity and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Your initial responses and subsequent comments on classmates' responses are due on the days specified by the course Calendar.

Written Assignments

Philosophy of Religion requires you to complete six (6) written assignments. Check the course Calendar for when you are to submit these assignments to your mentor. Go to the Assignment Modules area of the course Web site to find the written assignment questions you are asked to reflect upon and submit to your mentor.

Responses to written assignment questions are expected to be well developed and reasonably detailed essays. Your answers should be at least three (3) double-spaced typewritten pages each.

Your answers should clearly demonstrate your understanding of the assigned readings and any Web sites that may be assigned. Refer primarily to these materials for your answers, but also complement this information, when necessary, with material from other print or online sources. Do not merely copy answers from your sources, but when you make use of such material, be sure you cite it properly (i.e., with footnotes or endnotes).

Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.

Journal Assignments

Philosophy of Religion requires you to complete two (2) journal assignments. Check the course Calendar for when you are to submit these assignments to your mentor. Go to the individual modules on the course Web site to find the journal assignment questions you are asked to reflect upon and submit to your mentor.

Preview the two journal assignments before you begin your first study assignment. These journal assignments require self-reflection. You will improve your self-reflection by integrating the material you are studying and applying your critical thinking skills. Your response to each journal assignment question should be no less than three (3) double-spaced typewritten pages.

Prepare your journal assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.

Examinations

You are required to take two (2) proctored online examinations: a midterm exam and a final exam. Both exams require that you use the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

 

Online exams are administered through the course Web site. Consult the course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.

 

Midterm Examination

The midterm exam covers all material assigned in Modules 1, 2, and 3 and is two hours long. The exam is closed-book and consists of four (4) essay questions.

Final Examination

The final exam covers all material assigned in Modules 4, 5, and 6 of the course and is two hours long. Like the midterm, the final exam is closed-book and consists of four (4) essay questions.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during an exam. Cheating means:

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in an exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

 

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:

Please refer to the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the College Catalog and online at www.tesc.edu.

 

 

Plagiarism

Using someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism 

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

 

Disciplinary Process

First-time incidents of academic dishonesty concerning plagiarism may reflect ignorance of appropriate citation requirements. Mentors will make a good faith effort to address all first-time offenses that occur in courses. In these cases, the mentor may impose sanctions that serve as a learning exercise for the offender. These may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool including a lower grade when appropriate. The mentor will notify the student by e-mail. Decisions about the sanctions applied for subsequent plagiarism offenses or other violations will be made by the appropriate dean’s office, with the advice of the mentor or staff person who reported the violation. The student will be notified via certified mail of the decision. Options for sanctions include:

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