Religious Studies | Theism, Atheism, and Existentialism
E103 | 12291 | Levene
The above course is COLL-E103 and meets Topics and Arts and
This course is an introduction to some major thinkers in the modern
West through their views on faith and doubt. The modern period in
European philosophy and theology is usually considered to begin with
challenges to traditional religious world views, especially the
belief in God. While virtually all thinkers in this period continued
to express theistic beliefs, many nevertheless struggled openly with
what these beliefs entailed, setting the groundwork for arguments
against God's existence altogether and eventually stimulating the
creation of alternative ways of securing human meaning. Throughout
the course we will ask how various thinkers grappled with inherited
notions of reason, revelation, nature, tradition, good and evil.
What role did doubt, skepticism, and uncertainty play in modern
world views? How have these experiences been related to faith? We
will also ask about the very assumption that atheism inaugurates
modernity. What is the validity of this claim? Are there other
events, ideas, or experiences we might identify as uniquely modern?
How do terms such
as "enlightenment," "science," "freedom," "authority," and
the "self" determine how we characterize, and thus value, this
period? Authors to include Pascal, Spinoza, Lessing, Kierkegaard,
Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Sartre, and Camus.