FALL 2021 - DR. KEITH KORCZ
How To Contact Professor Korcz:
|PHIL 331 Philosophy of Religion
|3 credit hours
|Meeting Times: MW 2:30 – 3:45
||Meeting Place: Griffin Hall, HLG 503
Your Course Objectives:
You are supposed to have questions! Because
of the pandemic and the fact that our offices are too small to social
distance, I won’t have ordinary office hours. Instead, we’ll do the
(1) You can email me any time, at email@example.com
. I’ll respond to emails from both school and home. This is the best way to reach me.
(2) I’ll be in my office (H. L. Griffin Hall
rm. 563) MW 12:00 – 2:30 if you would like to speak with me by phone. My office phone number is (337) 482-6806.
(3) If you would like to videoconference with me, just let me know and
I will arrange it. I have access to Zoom (information about how to use
Zoom is available here: https://online.louisiana.edu/student-support/remote-learners#Discuss
(4) If you would like to speak with me in person, let me know and I’ll
arrange a place nearby where we can socially distance while chatting.
This course is designed to give you an opportunity to acquire an understanding of:
Achieving Your Course Objectives:
(1) how philosophy is done, along with some basic logic, critical thinking, and research skills,
(2) how to develop and evaluate philosophical reasoning,
(3) philosophical issues that arise in efforts to clarify fundamental theistic concepts,
(4) the standard philosophical arguments for and against the existence of a theistic god, and the difficulties with them,
(5) help you develop more advanced reading, writing, and note-taking skills.
Exams: There will be three in-class exams, the two during the semester
each worth 20% of your course grade, and the cumulative final exam
worth 25% of your course grade. The in-class exams will consist
primarily of short answer and multiple-choice questions. However, all
make-up exams will be primarily essay. The exams will cover both
lectures and assigned readings (material in lectures and assigned
readings will not always overlap). All exams are closed book/closed
note. The exams are designed to help you achieve all five course
Paper: The paper will be 10-12 pages long and completed in two drafts,
the first draft being worth 10% of your course grade and the final
draft being worth 25% of your course grade. Each draft will consist of
two parts. The first part will consist of a critique of an
instructor-approved, published article in the philosophy of religion.
For the second part, you will present and defend an original argument
on your topic. Complete information about the paper assignment,
suggested topics, etc., will be provided later on a separate handout.
This assignment is designed to help you achieve course objectives 1
Reading and In-Class Note Taking: Though not separately counted for
points, these are essential to achieving objectives 1 – 5. You should
complete each of the readings before they are discussed in class. Some
of the readings are difficult, and you may find that you need to
re-read them after they have been discussed in class in order to fully
understand them. Don’t assume that because something is written, it’s
true – maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Try to understand, and then
evaluate claims using the reasoning techniques we’ll discuss. I’ll
provide lots of examples of this in class.
The course grades will initially be determined according to the
standard scale, i.e., 90-100% = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D,
59% and below = F, and then may be modified as follows: Course
grades might be curved, but, if so, the curve would not be such that
any student's grade is lowered. Such factors as improvement over the
length of the course, class participation, attendance, etc., may be
taken into consideration, especially where doing so may improve a
borderline grade. You must complete all course assignments (namely all
exams and both drafts of the paper) to receive a passing grade (i.e., a
grade other than F, NC or U).
Pandemic Note: You must wear a mask and social distance in class! (Please, no anti-social distancing!) You must also read the UL Lafayette COVID-19 Syllabus Policies and Guidelines posted on the course web site.
If you must miss class, for whatever reason, it is your
responsibility to get class notes from another student. If you wish
your absence to be excused, promptly provide me with an appropriate
excuse, e.g., illness requiring medical attention, participation in
certain university-sanctioned events, dangerous weather, etc. We cover
something important every day, so for every five unexcused absences or
partial absences, your course grade will be dropped by a letter grade.
Skip class, and you won’t pass!
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, if you believe you may have
coronavirus, or you have any of the symptoms, do not come to class! I
will excuse your absence.
If you miss an assignment due date, you must
notify me within one week of either the due date or the cessation of a
medically documented persistent vegetative state in order to make up
the assignment. Missed assignments can be made up for full credit only
if an appropriate excuse is promptly provided. An unexcused late
assignment will be dropped 2/3 of a letter grade per day it is late.
In class discussions, it is perfectly fine to disagree with
your classmates or myself, but you should do so respectfully and with
reasoning. Philosophy is all about intellectual controversy! However,
disruptive or persistent distracting classroom behavior (e.g., use of
phones, frequent tardiness or leaving class early, excessive talking,
etc.) may result in your being asked to leave (counted as an unexcused
absence) or being dropped from the class, at my discretion. On those
very rare occasions where you absolutely must arrive late to class, see
me at the end of class so I can mark you present.
All assignments for this class must be completed
individually, and any instance of academic dishonesty (e.g., cheating,
plagiarism, furnishing false information regarding absences, etc.) will
be sufficient to fail the course.
Neither lectures nor any class materials may be
posted on the internet or otherwise published. Students who rely on
internet sites (other than my own, listed below) or search engines for
class notes, quizzes, study guides, etc., tend to do poorly in my
classes. Such sites are often unreliable, and they prevent you from
learning valuable note-taking and study skills. Do not use them. In
general, you will get much more out of your education if you do your
own work. You learn from the process of learning, not your grade.
Be sure you are familiar with all university
policies described in the UL Lafayette Undergraduate Bulletin
of Student Conduct
Some Helpful Tips for a Healthy and Happy Class Experience:
Students needing academic accommodations for a disability must first be
registered with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to verify the
disability and to establish eligibility for accommodations. Students
may call 337-482-5252 or visit the ODS office in the Conference
Center/Agnes Edwards Hall,
room 126 (the ODS website address is:
. Once registered, students should
then schedule an appointment with the professor to make appropriate
arrangements. If your needs are not being met for any reason, inform
the instructor and ODS as soon as possible so that we may rectify the
Emergency Evacuation Procedures:
1. On class evaluations, students often state that they would tell
friends planning to take my classes that good class attendance and good
class notes are essential to doing well on the exams.
2. I strongly recommend taking advantage of the following resources I
have created for you! The course home page
contains links to useful sites regarding the subject matter of the
course, study aids, the on-line syllabus, and other resources.
My How To Survive Your First Philosophy Course
pages contain useful
information about what I look for when grading assignments, how to
study for my exams, reading philosophy, taking notes, doing research in
philosophy, etc. This can be accessed from the course home page or my
My home page contains links to all my course home pages, extensive
links pages on philosophy, general research, fun sites, and lots of
other information. The web address is:
A Moodle page for the course will be activated at the beginning of the
semester. You’ll be able to contact each other and download the course
pack here (https://moodle.louisiana.edu/
3. Philosophy differs from other disciplines, and it’s common to have
difficulties figuring it all out. If you are having difficulty with
course material or assignments, let me know so I can help you out!
A map of this floor is posted near the elevator marking the evacuation
route and the Designated Rescue Area. This is an area where emergency
service personnel will go first to look for individuals who need
assistance in exiting the building. Students who may need assistance
should identify themselves to the teaching faculty.
Course Calendar & Planned Reading Assignments
NOTE: Assignment due dates, topics, readings, and procedures are
tentative and may change at my discretion. However, we can negotiate
due dates for assignments if most students in the class prefer a change.
CP = Course Pack, only available via Moodle
Rowe = Rowe’s textbook
ONLINE = See the online syllabus linked from the course home page (URL above)
1. Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion
2. The Nature of God
Rowe: Chapters 1 & 10.
Monday, September 6: Labor Day - No Classes.
3. Faith and Reason
4. Arguments For & Against God's Existence
Exam #1: Wednesday, September 29, in class.
a. For: The Arguments From Biblical Inerrancy
CP: "The Great Gulf Between Scholars and the Pew" by Michael D. Coogan,
"The Evidence for Jesus
" by William Lane Craig, selections from The
Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible by Robin Lane Fox,
"The Problem of Apparently Morally Abhorrent Divine Commands" by Wesley
b. For: The Arguments From Experience
Rowe: Chapter 5 & Chapter 6, pp. 104 – 110 only.
Thursday, October 7 – Friday, October 8: Fall Holiday - No Classes.
c. Against: The Problem of Divine Freedom
CP: "The Problem of Divine Perfection and Freedom" by William Rowe.
d. For: The Arguments From Miracles & Prayer
(CP): "The Case of the Weeping Madonna" by Lynn Rosellini; Rowe:
Chapter 8; (CP): "David Hume and the Probability of Miracles" by George
Mavrodes, "Can Science Prove That Prayer Works?" by Hector Avalos.
OPTIONAL: ONLINE: "Of Miracles
" by David Hume
e. For: The Cosmological Arguments
Rowe: Chapter 2; CP: "The Five Ways" and "God's Perfection" by St. Thomas Aquinas.
Monday, October 18: Advising for SP22 begins.
First Draft Of Paper Due: Wednesday October 20, at the beginning of class.
f. Against: The Argument From Divine Hiddenness
Exam #2: Wednesday, November 3, in class.
CP: "Divine Hiddenness Justifies Atheism" by J. L. Schellenberg.
g. For: The Ontological Arguments
Rowe: Chapter 3; CP: "A Modal Version of The Ontological Argument" by Alvin Plantinga.
h. For: The Design Arguments
5. Philosophy of Atheism
Rowe: Chapter 4; CP: "The Teleological Argument" by Robin Collins.
i. For: Prudential Arguments
(CP): "Making Believe" by Margaret P. Battin.
j. Against: The Logical Problem of Evil
Rowe: Chapter 7, pp. 112 - 119.
k. Against: The Evidential Argument Regarding Evil
Rowe: Chapter 7, pp. 119 - 131; CP: "The Problem of Evil" by Richard
Swinburne, "Evidential Atheological Arguments" by Alvin Plantinga.
a. Atheism and Humanism
Final Draft Of Paper Due: Wednesday, November 24, at the beginning of class.
CP: "Humanist Manifesto II" and "Humanist Manifesto III.”
Thursday, November 25 – Friday, November 26: Turkey Days - No Classes.
b. Life After Death
Last Day Of Classes: Friday, December 3.
CP: "Problems With Accounts of Life After Death" by Linda Badham; Rowe: Chapter 10.
c. Creationism and Evolution
CP: "Science, Religion, Politics, Law and Education" by Tim M. Berra.
Wednesday, December 8: Study Day.
Final Exam: Friday, December 10, From 11:00 am – 1:30 pm.