This experience is optimized for Internet Explorer version 10 and above.

Please upgrade your browser

Send the Gift of Lifelong Learning!

Philosophy of Religion

Philosophy of Religion

Professor James Hall, Ph.D.
University of Richmond

Gifting Information


To send your gift, please complete the form below. An email will be sent immediately to notify the recipient of your gift and provide them with instructions to redeem it.

  • 500 characters remaining.

Frequently Asked Questions

With an eGift, you can instantly send a Great Course to a friend or loved one via email. It's simple:
1. Find the course you would like to eGift.
2. Under "Choose a Format", click on Video Download or Audio Download.
3. Click 'Send e-Gift'
4. Fill out the details on the next page. You will need to the email address of your friend or family member.
5. Proceed with the checkout process as usual.
Q: Why do I need to specify the email of the recipient?
A: We will send that person an email to notify them of your gift. If they are already a customer, they will be able to add the gift to their My Digital Library and mobile apps. If they are not yet a customer, we will help them set up a new account so they can enjoy their course in their My Digital Library or via our free mobile apps.
Q: How will my friend or family member know they have a gift?
A: They will receive an email from The Great Courses notifying them of your eGift. The email will direct them to If they are already a customer, they will be able to add the gift to their My Digital Library and mobile apps. If they are not yet a customer, we will help them set up a new account so they can enjoy their course in their My Digital Library or via our free mobile apps.
Q: What if my friend or family member does not receive the email?
A: If the email notification is missing, first check your Spam folder. Depending on your email provider, it may have mistakenly been flagged as spam. If it is not found, please email customer service at ( or call 1-800-832-2412 for assistance.
Q: How will I know they have received my eGift?
A: When the recipient clicks on their email and redeems their eGift, you will automatically receive an email notification.
Q: What if I do not receive the notification that the eGift has been redeemed?
A: If the email notification is missing, first check your Spam folder. Depending on your email provider, it may have mistakenly been flagged as spam. If it is not found, please email customer service at ( or call customer service at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance.
Q: I don't want to send downloads. How do I gift DVDs or CDs?
A: eGifting only covers digital products. To purchase a DVD or CD version of a course and mail it to a friend, please call customer service at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance.
Q: Oops! The recipient already owns the course I gifted. What now?
A: Great minds think alike! We can exchange the eGifted course for another course of equal value. Please call customer service at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance.
Q: Can I update or change my email address?
A: Yes, you can. Go to My Account to change your email address.
Q: Can I select a date in the future to send my eGift?
A: Sorry, this feature is not available yet. We are working on adding it in the future.
Q: What if the email associated with eGift is not for my regular Great Course account?
A: Please please email customer service at ( or call our customer service team at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance. They have the ability to update the email address so you can put in your correct account.
Q: When purchasing a gift for someone, why do I have to create an account?
A: This is done for two reasons. One is so you can track the purchase of the order in your ‘order history’ section as well as being able to let our customer service team track your purchase and the person who received it if the need arises.
Q: Can I return or Exchange a gift after I purchase it?
A: Because the gift is sent immediately, it cannot be returned or exchanged by the person giving the gift. The recipient can exchange the gift for another course of equal or lesser value, or pay the difference on a more expensive item

Priority Code


Philosophy of Religion

Course No. 4680
Professor James Hall, Ph.D.
University of Richmond
Share This Course
3.9 out of 5
70 Reviews
58% of reviewers would recommend this series
Course No. 4680
  • Audio or Video?
  • You should buy audio if you would enjoy the convenience of experiencing this course while driving, exercising, etc. While the video does contain visual elements, the professor presents the material in an engaging and clear manner, so the visuals are not necessary to understand the concepts. Additionally, the audio audience may refer to the accompanying course guidebook for names, works, and examples that are cited throughout the course.
  • You should buy video if you prefer learning visually and wish to take advantage of the visual elements featured in this course. The video version is not heavily illustrated, featuring around 130 illustrations, portraits, and images of artwork. There are portraits of philosophers like Descartes and Wittgenstein, and there are examples of religious artwork and historical illustrations that depict profound concepts like divine encounters and the problem of evil.
Audio Streaming Included Free

Course Overview

Can humans know whether the claim "God exists" is true or not? If so, how? If not, why not? Questions such as these have perplexed humans since the first moment we were capable of asking them. Now in Philosophy of Religion you can explore the questions of divine existence with the tools of epistemology, the branch of philosophy that concerns itself with what we can know.

In Professor James Hall, Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Richmond, you have an unusually qualified teacher. The son of a Baptist minister (who himself later became a university professor), Professor Hall first trained at a seminary before taking his doctorate in philosophy and embarking on a teaching career nearly 40 years ago.

He announces early in the series where he stands on these issues; this is not a course with a hidden agenda, or an exercise in polemic. (And, no, we won't let the cat out of the bag here. The story of Professor Hall's own background and philosophical journey, which he shares with you in Lecture 3, is far too interesting for us to divulge.)

AudioFile magazine's review of this course reports that "[Professor Hall] is amiable, humorous, clear, and interesting, and, thankfully, never pedantic."

Make no mistake about it: This is a rigorous course in the most positive sense of the word. One of the great joys of intellect is using it, and you do so in every lecture.

At the same time, philosophy can sometimes be needlessly abstract, and Professor Hall's ability to avoid this hazard makes this course consistently engaging. For example, he uses a memorable antacid commercial to illustrate the loss of relevance in a non sequitur argument and a classic Garry Trudeau cartoon to illustrate equivocation in language.

Clarity about Tools and Terms

The first eight lectures of the course are foundational. You establish a clear understanding of the terms "philosophy," "religion," "God," and "knowledge."

What Do We Mean When We Say "God"?

Professor Hall narrows the definition of "God" as used in this course to the God of ethical monotheism: the God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This is a single God deserving of worship. One by one, each characteristic of the God of ethical monotheism is put into place:

Omnipotence: There are no limits on God's powers.

Omniscience: There are no limits on God's knowledge.

Omnipresence: There are no limits of distance or separation that affect God.

Omniperfection: God must be totally without moral flaw.

Aseity: God is not limited by anything external to itself—being, itself, the limit of everything else.

Arguments for God's Existence: Ontology, Cosmology, Teleology, and Divine Encounters

The course then explores the major arguments for the existence of God, testing each with the techniques of philosophical thought.

The Ontological Argument. For this argument, famously advanced by St. Anselm and René Descartes, divine existence is entailed by the very concept of Godhood.

The Cosmological Argument. This argument, famously advanced by St. Thomas Aquinas, holds that the very existence of the world proves the existence of God, without whom there could be no first cause for all of being.

The Teleological Argument. This argument, articulated variously by the psalmist, St. Paul, and William Paley, claims that the magnificent design of the world necessarily implies the existence of a designer. Paley argued that if we walk along a beach and find a clock, we assume that a clockmaker created it.

Divine Encounter. This argument points to individuals who are said to have had direct communication with God. If their reports are true, then the other arguments are a sinful waste of time because we would have direct evidence of God.

The review and testing of these four arguments yields a "Scottish verdict": not proved.

Arguments against God's Existence: The Problem of Evil

After testing the arguments for God's existence, Professor Hall reverses the burden of proof and asks: "Can humans know that God does not exist?"

You study the argument that God cannot exist because nature or wicked humans cause innocents to suffer.

And you learn the replies (theodicies) that the major religious traditions have marshaled:

  • There is no problem of evil because the world is perfect.
  • Evil is simply the absence of good.
  • Apparent evil exists to serve a larger good: God's purposes are inscrutable to us, and evil is only an apparition caused by our ignorance.
  • Evil done by humans is a necessary consequence of free will, and autonomy given us by God. Without the opportunity for evil, there could also be no opportunity for virtue. An associated argument is that demonic forces cause evil (and this, too, may be a consequence of their freedom). In either case, God is not the cause of evil.
  • Those who suffer do so because they are being punished or elevated by suffering.

This portion of the course also invites a hung jury. Atheism is no more an obvious candidate for knowledge than theism is.

Tipping over the Chessboard: Faith and Transcendence

You also study approaches that dispense with logical or empirical "proof" of God.

  • Two lectures explore religious agnosticism: faith without (or against) evidence. You examine the arguments that proof is irrelevant to faith (and the argument that the demand for proof is a barrier to faith) and their consequences.
  • You also explore transcendentalist claims that God transcends the world and everything in it, and the consequences of this argument.

Playing a Different Game: Causes versus Intentions

Logical and empirical explanations, in general, search for causes and effects. A "caused effect" is not "free" to happen and, therefore, does not have "motives" or "intentions."

But religious discourse is profoundly concerned with intentions as an explanation of life and the world.

You examine two other approaches to understanding religious claims:

  • Paradigms. Three lectures examine religious claims and stories as part of a form of life operating under an alternative paradigm that includes intentionality as one of its basic categories of description and explanation.
  • Language Games. Four lectures examine religious claims and stories as moves in one or another, possibly nondescriptive, language games, especially a game that consists of stories-told-for-a-purpose. These are stories that are not to be assessed as true or false, but as functional or dysfunctional, in terms of their life impact.

In the last lecture, you retrace the conceptual problems in ethical monotheism that urged its philosophical examination in the first place and the discoveries along the way that have led to characterizing it as we have. But, given that philosophy is an ongoing reflective enterprise, the very last point is an invitation to all who have worked through this series to carry on the reflection themselves.

Hide Full Description
36 lectures
 |  30 minutes each
  • 1
    What is Philosophy?
    We examine philosophy as a practical matter, dispensing with a variety of misconceptions and then focusing on a variety of subjects for, and methods of, inquiry, allowing actual philosophy to be "done" in the lectures to come. x
  • 2
    What is Religion?
    Because there are as many ideas of religion as there are societies—and perhaps even people—we narrow the definition, for the purposes of this course, to "ethical monotheism," the core of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, contrasting it to other ideas and bringing its most salient features into clear relief. x
  • 3
    What is Philosophy of Religion?
    Notions of what philosophy of religion is are as varied as the definitions of religion itself. This lecture narrows the playing field, so that the best way in which philosophical analysis and synthesis can be brought to bear on religious belief and practice can emerge. x
  • 4
    How is the Word "God" Generally Used?
    This lecture examines the presuppositions and implications of the common religious claim that there is or are one or more gods and offers close examination of the word itself and how it is used in a variety of settings. x
  • 5
    How Do Various Theists Use the Word "God"?
    The focus is narrowed from the polyglot of religious contexts explored in Lecture 4 to the use of the word in ethical monotheism, identifying presuppositions, internal logic, and the implications that are woven into this particular way of thinking. x
  • 6
    What is Knowledge?
    To ask what can be known in religious contexts, and especially about the existence of god(s), requires being clear about what it is to know anything at all. We examine a wide array of things one might know, believe-but-not-know, doubt, disbelieve, or flatly deny as we begin an exploration of the traditional understanding of knowledge as "justified true belief." x
  • 7
    What Kinds of Evidence Count?
    If evidence is what makes the difference between mere belief and real knowledge, then it is important to discover what kind(s) of evidence work, as well as what quality of evidence is required for effectiveness in a given setting. x
  • 8
    What Constitutes Good Evidence?
    Even after identifying what kinds of evidence are preferable (e.g., firsthand experience over hearsay, coherent inference over free association), we still need to figure out the characteristics of evidence of a given kind that enable it, in a context, to move us from disbelief to belief, from opinion to solid knowledge. x
  • 9
    Why Argue for the Existence of God?
    This lecture introduces the cosmological, teleological, and ontological patterns of argument, illustrating the function of argument when one is trying to explain everyday events, and enumerating a few caveats to keep in mind when weighing the merits of the theists' arguments. x
  • 10
    How Ontological Argument Works
    Is divine existence entailed by the very concept of godhood? To assert so is to argue ontologically, and this lecture focuses on arguments to that end put forth by both St. Anselm and Descartes—including a brief foray into geometry—to explain how ontological arguments work. x
  • 11
    Why Ontological Argument is Said to Fail
    Several classical lines of argument hold that a priori arguments about matters of fact are generally sterile and that ontological arguments for the existence of God thus fail as well. An examination of these arguments prepares us for possibly more profitable efforts to infer the existence of God from the occurrence and/or nature of the world, rather than the meaning of a concept. x
  • 12
    How Cosmological Argument Works
    We examine the principle of explanation known as "sufficient reason" and its use in basing a case for divine existence on the existence of the world itself—the cosmological argument—as well as its use in everyday settings. x
  • 13
    Why Cosmological Argument is Said to Fail
    What happens when "Ockham's Razor,"a classical principle of philosophical restraint, is applied to sufficient reason and the cosmological arguments for divine existence? This lecture lays the groundwork for the consideration of a more sophisticated "sufficient reason" argument. x
  • 14
    How Teleological Argument Works
    Is divine design apparent in nature itself? St. Paul thought so, as did William Paley. This lecture explores the use of "sufficient reason" arguments to claim that the detailed characteristics of the world and its commonplace events demand the inference of an obviously divine external cause. x
  • 15
    How Teleological Argument Works (continued)
    Some teleological arguments offer God as the best explanation for not only the mere occurrence of the world and its general events, but for the occurrence of works that are special or even miraculous. Granting for the sake of argument that the events in question do occur, this lecture traces from them the inference of divine existence. x
  • 16
    Why Teleological Argument is Said to Fail
    This lecture looks at a number of reasons why skeptics have found the teleological argument wanting, whether for what might be called "explanatory overkill" or for selective bias. x
  • 17
    Divine Encounters Make Argument Unnecessary
    The failure of ontological, cosmological, and teleological arguments to make their case for a god is of little concern to many ethical monotheists, who cite historical claims of "direct awareness" of God through "encounters"—a notion fleshed out in terms of both contemporary and historical experiences. x
  • 18
    Divine Encounters Require Interpretation
    Continuing to assume the good faith of those who claim to have experienced divine encounters, this lecture focuses on a two-step line of rebuttal to the notion that direct, non-inferential knowledge of divine existence occurs in such encounters. x
  • 19
    Why is Evil a Problem?
    The occurrence of evil in the world has long been a basis for dismissing teleological arguments as inconclusive. But the presence of evil has another implication as well, not as grounds for rebutting teleological arguments for theism, but as grounds for affirming dysteleological arguments for atheism. x
  • 20
    Taking Evil Seriously
    We continue to examine why evil constitutes such a problem for ethical monotheists, grouping into categories the arguments about evil that are said to lead to the conclusion that no god exists, and laying the groundwork for the rebuttals to those arguments that will be presented in the next four lectures. x
  • 21
    Non-Justificatory Theodicies
    Rebuttals to the argument from evil are called theodicies. Most try to justify the evils that occur. This lecture explores the more radical notion that no justification is required, either because no evils occur, or because those that do occur don't have anything to do with God or are logically unavoidable (and, hence, nobody's fault). x
  • 22
    Justifying Evil
    Theodicies that attempt to justify evils usually do so by claiming that they are necessary for the fulfillment of one or another greater good. This lecture lays the foundation for this line of argument, which will be further examined in the next two lectures in terms of both "natural" and "human" evils. x
  • 23
    Justifying Natural Evil
    Clearly, bad things happen in this world, often with no discernible human involvement, lack of involvement, intention, or negligence. These "natural evils" provide ammunition for those who say the world's designer (if it has one) cannot be deserving of worship. This lecture examines four of the theodicies used to rebut such arguments. x
  • 24
    Justifying Human Evil
    The most widely cited theodicy for human evil (and, many claim, the most effective) relies on the idea that the possibility of such evil is a necessary precondition for human freedom and autonomy, which are of such great value that they balance out whatever evils their occurrence requires. Explaining and appraising this theodicy is the primary target of this lecture. x
  • 25
    Evidence is Irrelevant to Faith
    Does faith allow one to move beyond evidence and arguments? Are evidence and arguments, in fact, impediments to faith? This lecture examines several classical approaches to this line of thinking, with a preliminary look at a postmodern version that suggests religious faith constitutes its own paradigm, immune from external applications of evidence and argument. x
  • 26
    Groundless Faith is Irrelevant to Life
    We explore the way the notion of relevance works, showing that if the events that occur are irrelevant to the truth value of a claim, than the truth value of that claim is also irrelevant to the events that occur—a reciprocal relationship with important implications for the questions raised in this course. x
  • 27
    God is Beyond Human Grasp, But That's O.K.
    The most radical disconnect between divine existence and the rules of ordinary cognition is voiced in the claim that god transcends the world and everything in it. This lecture explores three notions of transcendence and the implications each of them carries for knowing whether God exists and, if so, knowing God. x
  • 28
    Transcendental Talk is "Sound and Fury"
    This lecture considers the implications of the "verificationist" contention (by Logical Positivists and others) that talk of God is vacuous because claims of a truly transcendent God can be neither proved nor disproved, as well as what such verificationism might have overlooked. x
  • 29
    Discourse in an Intentionalist Paradigm
    An introduction to paradigms and how they work prepares us to compare the paradigms with which ethical monotheism and natural science operate and consider how their respective inclusion and exclusion of intentionality as a category of understanding separates them. x
  • 30
    Evaluating Paradigms
    If a paradigm is important in coming to grips with the world, it is important to use one that works. This lecture explores the criteria for assessing paradigms and then offers examples of how those criteria can be used to assess some sample paradigms in concrete applications. x
  • 31
    Choosing and Changing Paradigms
    There is no doubt that paradigm shifts occur, but there are several possible answers to the question of "how?" This lecture looks at whether one's paradigm can be "chosen"—an important issue that speaks to intentionality. x
  • 32
    Language Games and Theistic Discourse
    This lecture introduces Wittgenstein's notion of "language games" and explores its role in theistic discourse. x
  • 33
    Fabulation—Theism as Story
    This lecture begins an analysis of religious discourse as fabulation: the telling of stories—myths, parables, fables, etc.—for a purpose; laying out the conditions for purposeful storytelling in everyday settings; drawing on familiar stories for examination; and examining religious discourse itself as purposeful storytelling. x
  • 34
    Theistic Stories, Morality, and Culture
    We examine the hypothesis that the primary functions of ethical monotheists' stories are to identify, give weight to, and motivate moral behavior, as well as to underwrite the core culture of their societies. We also consider the counterhypothesis—that such stories, in fact, have a far different result. x
  • 35
    Stories, Moral Progress, and Culture Reform
    The priestly and prophetic dimensions of ethical monotheism and its stories are added to the mix identified in the previous lecture, with interesting implications for the debate. x
  • 36
    Conclusions and Signposts
    This lecture summarizes the philosophical reasoning undertaken through the previous lectures—and the conclusions this reasoning supports—and suggests some issues that invite continued philosophical reflection. x

Lecture Titles

Clone Content from Your Professor tab

What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Audio Download Includes:
  • Ability to download 36 audio lectures from your digital library
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 36 lectures on 6 DVDs
  • 184-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
Video DVD
CD Includes:
  • 36 lectures on 18 CDs
  • 184-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 184-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos and illustrations
  • Suggested readings
  • Questions to consider

Enjoy This Course On-the-Go with Our Mobile Apps!*

  • App store App store iPhone + iPad
  • Google Play Google Play Android Devices
  • Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Tablet + Firephone
*Courses can be streamed from anywhere you have an internet connection. Standard carrier data rates may apply in areas that do not have wifi connections pursuant to your carrier contract.

Your professor

James Hall

About Your Professor

James Hall, Ph.D.
University of Richmond
Dr. James Hall is the James Thomas Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at the University of Richmond, where he taught for 40 years. He earned his B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, his Master of Theology from Southeastern Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At the University of Richmond, Professor Hall was named Omicron Delta Kappa Faculty Member of the Year (2005) and...
Learn More About This Professor
Also By This Professor


Philosophy of Religion is rated 3.8 out of 5 by 70.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Insightful and Intriguing This thought-provoking course is mainly focused on answering the question of the existence or non-existence of the Judeo-Christian Islamic god. The goal of the Professor is not to make believers or atheists out ot its listeners. Instead, the Professor wants you to come away with a deeper understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of the Abrahamic religious traditions. It was a worthwhile course for me to take after having listened to so many of the religion and theology courses and It would be worth your time.
Date published: 2018-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Insightful and enlightening! This is by far the best introduction to religion and religious criticism I have encountered. And I have been reading on the subject for over 50 years. Prof. Hall has literally changed my mind about several religious ideas. He has a knack for presenting the complex in simple-to-understand terms. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2017-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Meticulous examination I suppose I should confess to having become biased in this professor's favor early in the course when he said he likes British mysteries. Obviously a man of good taste! I was also impressed by his response yo the arrogant college students who are always proclaiming that a course is irrelevant ("to what?"). And he quoted Perry Mason, the old TV show, in saying that something "assumes facts no in evidence." This is a meticulous examination of the question of belief or nonbelief in God. He concludes that it is, as the Scots say, "not proved." In other words, agnosticism is the most sensible decision. The various points of view are carefully and clearly set out, but he avoids some things (about modal logic, he says "I won't go there). If you are interested in what philosophers are saying about God these days, this is the place to start.
Date published: 2017-03-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worthwhile Listen A good course for general audiences. Dr. Hall does a great job explaining the various arguments on both sides. He cleared up a few concepts for me that I never fully "got" in my one college philosophy course. I'm not quite sure why so much time is spent on Wittgenstein and the "paradigm" concept (almost the last third of the course). Although relevant, I didn't feel like the deep study was necessary. Perhaps this is an area that modern philosophers are giving a lot of attention? At any rate, it certainly was worth my time and I plan to re-listen in a few years.
Date published: 2017-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My First "Great Courses" Course This was the first course I listened to. It was a few years ago, and it convinced me to buy other courses from the website. The details: I listened to this on the "audio download" option. The sound quality was fine, and I didn't ever wish that I was watching a screen. I've got sensitive eyes and usually I just want to listen anyhow. Content: I found it very complete. Unlike some reviewers, I appreciated the digressive examples. I also thought that the concepts (probably because of the examples) were clearly explained. Another reviewer said that the Ontological argument wasn't explained well. I thought it was. Thanks to this course, I can explain the Ontological argument to people, although most of the time, those people just walk away from me and say, "I have an appointment. I've got to go. I'm sure St. Anselm is really interesting. See you later." The Professor Presentation was good, too. I liked the style, voice, etc. It was a natural delivery. My one main criticism of the Great Courses is that some of the professors are TOO polished in their delivery. Hall was natural and cool. One other point: I was tiling my floor while I listened to these lectures, and at one point, I became so engrossed that I stopped what I was doing and just listened. Without realizing it, I rested my foot in a bucket of thin-set mortar, which dried as the Professor was discussing Wittgenstein. After the lecture was over, I had to get somebody to chisel me free. So, if you're tiling your floor while you listen to these lectures, be careful and don't make the same mistake I did.
Date published: 2016-08-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fell Short of Expectations (Had Ups and Downs) Pluses: • Lecture 4 & 5’s descriptions of how different religious contexts define “God” (Dynamism, Animism, Polytheism, Pantheism, Henotheism, Deism, Dualism/Bitheism, Monotheism, and Ethical monotheism) and how some individuals (some Buddhists, many agnostics, and all atheists) reject worship at all • Discussions on the various theodicies on the problem of evil were very thought-provoking and the highlight of the course Minuses: • The introductory lectures could have been shrunk: Nine lectures on introducing terms seemed to be overkill (especially those on defining knowledge and evidence) • The definition of the Ontological Argument was not explained clearly • While explaining concepts (the arguments against the Cosmological and Teleological Arguments are examples) the Professor seemed to spend too much time on odd examples/stories and wandering somewhat off topic instead of hammering home the succinct main points of the argument and the relevance of the arguments Too much time seemed to be spent on paradigms and language games; Perhaps I missed the point as to how important or relevant they are to this course discussion but seemed like they should have been discussed in passing or in much less time (the most interesting topic they spurn: religion involving hidden interests---think Freud and Marx---wasn’t explored in depth enough)
Date published: 2016-02-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Excellent Start, Weak Finish The first 28 lectures are all about whether God can be proven to exist or proven to not exist. I thought Hall did an excellent job during these lectures presenting both sides of each proof and, in every case coming to the same conclusion that no, you can't. That is, the various proofs of the existence of God are flawed as are the proofs that God does not exist. Hall's course is an excellent introduction to the various arguments on both sides and to the weaknesses of those arguments. So, for these lectures, nicely done. But, strangely, the last 8 lectures went off to places I could not fathom. I'm just not sure what he was trying to get across or how it related to the rest of the course. Given that this is nearly a quarter of the course, I can only give the course 3 stars. I agree that Hall sometimes (often?) rephrases things several times and that got a bit old when I understood the first explanation. But, I still enjoyed the course enough that I went ahead and bought his other course. I haven't watched it yet, but it's in the queue. Despite my disappointment in the last 8 lectures, I still recommend the course for the first 28.
Date published: 2015-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Flawed, But Worthwhile I found professor Hall to be an engaging speaker. Also, I enjoyed his frequent digressions and anecdotes, although I suppose that this is a personal preference. I recommend this course for individuals who don't have much background in philosophy and/or theology. For someone with more background, the last 10 or 12 lectures are still worthwhile. He is at his strongest, and most novel, when discussing from a Wittgenstein perspective. I think that if a credible case is going to be made for religious belief, it will be on this philosophical ground. Unfortunately, I don’t think that he made his case here. Maybe he didn’t try to make it because of his agnosticism. This is truly a shame (and I say this as an agnostic/atheist), and I fault him for this. He should have followed his line of thought and made a real argument for religion and not a lame utilitarian justification, which was his final intellectual refuge. With all of the shortcomings of this course I still gave it 5 stars. He does come very close to a serious case for religious belief, based on linguistic philosophy. I think that this is worth 5 stars.
Date published: 2014-08-05
  • y_2018, m_3, d_21, h_5
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_2.0.7
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_2, tr_68
  • loc_en_US, sid_4680, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.0
  • CLOUD, getContent, 58.73ms

Questions & Answers


1-10 of 11 Questions
1-10 of Questions

Customers Who Bought This Course Also Bought

Video title