Skip to main content

Unit information: Philosophical Texts 1: Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Philosophical Texts 1: Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
Unit code PHIL10003
Credit points 10
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Pyle
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The unit concerns a classic text, Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, which it treats in an introductory fashion. The focus is on the traditional argument from the adaptations of structure to function manifest in animals and plants to the existence of an intelligent designer. This argument, set out by Carneades in the dialogue, is subjected to a searching critique by the more sceptical Philo.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, students will:

(1) have a thorough knowledge of Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

(2) be familiar with some key secondary literature on this text, and be able to engage critically with it.

(3) be able to engage critically with the author's positions and arguments.

(4) be in a position to relate some key ideas in this text to modern philosophical debates.

Teaching Information

11 one-hour lectures.

Assessment Information

Summative: one 2,000-3,000 word essay from a list of questions designed to test intended learning outcomes (1), (2), (3) and (4).

Reading and References

David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Hackett, Cambridge, 1998.