Philosophy of Islam (MA) - PHI00063M

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. David Efird
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

This module uses the concepts, views, and arguments in analytic philosophy to clarify philosophical problems raised by Islamic theology, to offer solutions to those problems, and to evaluate those solutions using a cost/benefit analysis.

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

  • None

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations


Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2019-20

Module aims

Subject Content

  • To explore some key philosophical issues in Islamic theology;
  • To provide a research-led approach to understanding and participating in contemporary debates in the Philosophy of Islam.

Academic and Graduate Skills

  • To develop students' abilities to apply philosophical concepts, views, and arguments, in order to advance the understanding of intellectual problems.

Module learning outcomes

Subject Content

By the end of this module, students should be able to explain

  • key theological claims of the major schools of Islam,
  • the philosophical problems they give rise to,
  • how these problems can be solved using the concepts, views, and arguments of analytic philosophy.

Students should then be able to evaluate these solutions using a cost/benefit analysis with reference to Scripture (the Quran), tradition (the differing schools of Islam), and reason (philosophical, scientific, and other secular sources of knowledge). Finally, should be able to argue for their preferred solution, or that there is no satisfactory solution.

Academic and graduate skills

Students should be able to explain the concepts, views, and arguments of theological and philosophical material, critically engage with these concepts, views, and arguments, and defend their own view on these matters.

Module content

This module examines key claims in Islamic theology that raise philosophical problems. These include:

  • Islamic accounts of religious faith and its relation to reason, especially as reason relates to the Quran and to tradition,
  • Islamic accounts of the human person, especially the immortality of the soul,
  • Islamic accounts of the world, especially its eternity,
  • Islamic accounts of Allah, especially his omnipotence, omniscience, perfect goodness, and oneness, and
  • Islamic accounts of a religious life, both in this world in the next.

In this module, students will use the concepts, views, and arguments of analytic philosophy to clarify these theological claims and the philosophical problems they raise,

  • to give solutions to these problems,
  • to evaluate these solutions using a a cost/benefit analysis with reference to Scripture (the Quran), tradition (the differing schools of Islam), and reason (philosophical, scientific, and other secular sources of knowledge), and
  • to argue for their preferred solution, or that there is no satisfactory solution.

Students attend relevant UG lectures and seminars (which are research-led) to provide a background in the general area of research, while working with the module convener over the course of the term to define and develop a topic for independent research, on which they will write their assessed essay, which they will work on in parallel with the lecture/seminar course. They will be expected to produce a topic proposal and reading list by week 7, and a plan for their essay by week 10, and will have a minimum of two meetings with the module convener to discuss ideas for an essay topic (before producing the proposal) and to discuss the essay plan (on production of the plan). These meetings are an absolute minimum, and it is expected that in practice students will make use of staff office hours regularly throughout the term to discuss their project with the module convener. Module conveners may also choose to provide feedback on the essay proposal and reading list in person in a further one-to-one meeting, or to meet MA students as a group at the start of term to discuss the subject area and suggest topics for independent research.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay 4000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay 4000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive feedback on the topic proposal and reading list during a tutorial in Week 7.

Students will receive feedback on the essay plan during a tutorial in Week 10.

Students will receive feedback on the 4000-word summative assessment and re-assessment four weeks after they submit it.

Indicative reading

Oliver Leaman, Controversies in Contemporary Islam (Routledge, 2013)

Oliver Leaman, Islamic Philosophy: An Introduction (Polity, 2009)

Anthony Robert Booth, Analytic Islamic Philosophy (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017)



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.