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Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedCaulfield Second semester 2011 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2011 (Off-campus)
Clayton Second semester 2011 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2011 (Off-campus)
Clayton Summer semester A 2011 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Graham Oppy


Previously coded PHL2020


Is belief in God rationally defensible? We begin by examining some arguments in favour of the existence of God. We then move to consider a difficulty for anyone who believes that God is all-powerful and wholly good: the problem posed by existence of evil. One traditional solution to this problem is to say that God is not responsible for the moral evil in this world. God gave us freedom, the capacity to choose between good and evil; moral evils are due entirely to the bad choices made by human beings. This raises the central questions concerning human freedom: what exactly does free action involve? Are we ever genuinely free, or is our sense of freedom no more than an illusion?


On successfully completing this unit, students will have:

  1. been introduced to philosophical thinking in the Analytical Tradition, particularly as it applies to topics in the Philosophy of Religion;
  2. familiarize students with the key arguments for and against the main positions in the debate about the existence of God;
  3. be able to think clearly about the existence of evil and human freedom in the presence of a wholly good, all powerful and all knowing God.
Students will also obtain familiarity with central ideas in the history of philosophy, and begin to develop an understanding of important philosophical theories.


Expository exercise (1000 words): 20%
Essay: (2500 words): 40%
Exam (2 hours): 40%

Chief examiner(s)

Graham Oppy

Contact hours

One 1-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study