OCR Unit G571: AS Philosophy of Religion

What you need to cover for OCR Unit G571: AS Philosophy of Religion

  1. Ancient Greek influences on philosophy of religion
  2. Judaeo-Christian influences on philosophy of religion
  3. Traditional arguments for the existence of God
  4. Challenges to religious belief

What the OCR specification says:

Ancient Greek influences on philosophy of religion

Candidates are expected to have a basic knowledge of the thinking of Plato and Aristotle; they will not be expected to have first-hand knowledge of the texts. They should be able to highlight the strengths and weaknesses in the thinking of Plato and Aristotle in the areas specified below.

Plato: the Analogy of the Cave The Republic VII. 514A–521B

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of what might be represented in the Analogy of the Cave by the following:
  • The prisoners
  • The shadows
  • The cave itself
  • The outside world
  • The sun
  • The journey out of the cave and
  • The return to the prisoners
Candidates should be able to discuss critically the validity of the points being made in this analogy.

Plato: the concept of the Forms; the Form of the Good

Candidates should understand what Plato meant by ‘Forms’ and be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
  • The relation between concepts and phenomena
  • The concept of ‘Ideals’
  • The relation between the Form of the Good and the other Forms
Candidates should be able to discuss critically the validity of the above points

Aristotle: ideas about cause and purpose in relation to God Metaphysics Book 12

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
  • Aristotle’s understanding of material, efficient, formal and final cause
  • Aristotle’s concept of the Prime Mover
Candidates should be able to discuss critically the validity of the above points.

Judaeo-Christian influences on philosophy of religion

Candidates should be familiar with Biblical texts to exemplify the topics below. There are no prescribed texts.

The Concept of God as Creator

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
  • The way the Bible presents God as involved with his creation
  • The imagery of God as a craftsman
  • The concepts of omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence
  • The concept of ‘creatio ex nihilo’
Candidates should be able to:
  • Compare this view with Aristotle’s Prime Mover
  • Discuss whether, if God created the universe, God is therefore responsible for everything that happens in it.
Candidates should be able to discuss these areas in a critical manner.

The goodness of God

  • Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
  • The ways in which the God of the Bible is seen as morally perfect and the source of human ethics
  • The concept of God as lawgiver and as judge.
Candidates should be able to:
  • Consider whether, in a Biblical context, God commands things because they are good or whether things are good because God commands them.
Candidates should be able to discuss these areas in a critical manner.

Traditional arguments for the existence of God

The Ontological argument from Anselm and Descartes; challenges from Gaunilo and Kant

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
  • The Ontological argument from Anselm and Descartes
  • Challenges to it from Gaunilo and Kant
  • Anselm’s understanding of God – his understanding of the differences between contingent and necessary existence
  • Descartes’ understanding of existence as a perfection which God cannot lack
  • Gaunilo’s analogy of the island in On Behalf of the Fool
Candidates should be able to discuss critically these views and their strengths and weaknesses.

The Cosmological argument from Aquinas and Copleston; challenges from Hume and Russell

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
  • The Cosmological argument from Aquinas and Copleston
  • The arguments put forward by Copleston in the 1948 radio debate with Russell and Russell’s counter arguments
  • Hume’s criticisms of the cosmological argument
Candidates should be able to discuss critically these views and their strengths and weaknesses.

The Teleological argument from Aquinas and Paley; challenges from Hume, Mill and Darwin

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
  • The teleological argument from Aquinas and Paley
  • The challenges to it from Hume, Mill and Darwinism.
Candidates should be able to discuss critically these views and their strengths and weaknesses.

The Moral argument from Kant: psychological challenges from Freud

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
  • The moral argument from Kant, including his concept of the ‘summum bonum’ and his inferences about innate moral awareness
  • Psychological challenges from Freud to the moral argument, his view that moral awareness comes from sources other than God
Candidates should be able to discuss critically these views and their strengths and weaknesses.

Challenges to religious belief

The problem of evil

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
  • The problem of evil: the classic theodicies of Augustine and Irenaeus
  • The nature of the problem of evil and the possible differences between natural and moral evil
  • How each theodicy understands the responsibility of God for the existence of evil in the world
  • The origins of evil and the role of human free will
Candidates should be able to discuss critically these approaches and their strengths and weaknesses.
 

Religion and science

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
  • Scientific and philosophical views on the creation of the universe; particularly the debate between Creationism and the Big Bang theory
  • Darwinism and various developments of evolutionary theory
  • ‘Intelligent Design’ and ‘Irreducible Complexity’
  • Religious responses to challenges posed by scientific views
Candidates should be able to discuss critically these views and their strengths and weaknesses.

How can we help you achieve your potential?

  • STUDY - Use our Plato and Aristotle Study Guide during term. This in-depth study guide will help you to get maximum coverage and understanding of the key topics required on the OCR Syllabus.
  • REVISE - AS Philosophy Revision Guide for OCR for when it’s time to revise. Link back to our learning site to remind yourself
  • GET THE EDGE - AS Philosophy Revision Buddy covers all these key concepts in a portable format to help you brush up on your knowledge before you take your exams. Easily link back to our learning site using the codes in the Revision Buddy to quickly link to the right place using your smartphone
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