Philosophy of Religion A

lfilo2130  2021-2022  Louvain-la-Neuve

Philosophy of Religion A
5 credits
30.0 h

This biannual learning unit is being organized in 2021-2022
Main themes
Religion belongs to human culture and thus has a general impact on man and, especially, involving man's reflection on his condition. This in particular establishes the philosophy of religion's place. Far removed from any positivist temptation (fundamentalism, fideism), this discipline ensures the believer as to the general conditions of religion in relation to thought. It moreover offers the unbeliever an approach to religion in its status as a thought system in cooperation with the human sciences. A Philosophy of Religion course takes its inspiration from the major precursors (Kant, Schelling, Hegel, etc...; as well as theologians when they express themselves as philosophers: Origen, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, etc...). It seeks to arm against any confusing of theology and religious philosophy.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 Be capable of explaining the relationship of philosophy and religion, while respecting both the originality of religion and philosophy's right to reflect on religion.
What philosophy or religion for today’s world?
The theory of religion (or Religionslehre) reached a particularly high point in philosophy with German idealism. Theologians like Paul Tillich found in this movement an incontestable starting place for a new science of religions. In the 20th century, the line of French theorists going from Blondel to Henry, passing through Duméry and Ricœur, stayed focused on Christian content and its metaphysical, phenomenological or hermeneutical interpretations. However, these diverse fixations on the semantic value of the evangelical message left aside another philosophical option. In this option, we are instead primarily interested in what religion “makes people do”.  Such an investigation is focused neither on what religion makes people think (representations of the world or the good), nor does it concentrate on the ethical meaning of the duties it assigns (the commandments, the Weltethos), but rather on pragmatically analyzing the action identity that it contributes to constructing by what it “makes people do”. The course will first be focused on clarifying this methodological option, and then on testing its fruitfulness by way of an example. With this example, we will seek to show how well a philosophical approach to liberation theology constructed in this way manages to escape mere ethical or dogmatic disagreements and instead sheds light on new issues, namely those that deal with analyzing contemporary relationships between religion, politics and violence.
Evaluation methods
Students will be asked to write a 10 page paper to be based off of a reading of one of the proposed texts. After emailing the paper, the student will receive a question on the paper to be prepared for the oral exam.
The student will have approximately 15 minutes to present this answer during the oral exam.
The paper may be written in French, English, Spanish, or German, with the professor’s agreement.
Hinkelammert Frank J, « La théorie de la libération dans le contexte socio-économique de l’Amérique latine : économie et théologie ou l’irrationalité du « rationalisé », in Théologiques, Vol. 3/2, oct. 1995.
Houtart François, « L'état actuel de la théologie de la libération en Amérique latine », déc. 2006,
Jobin G., Larouche J.-M., Maesschalck M. (éds), « La religion dans l’espace public », Numéro spécial de Ethique publique, 8/1 (2006).
Maesschalck M., « Aliénation et identité. Approches pragmatistes du religieux et théologie de la libération », in Actuel Marx, 44 (2008), pp. 165-183.
Maesschalck M., « La philosophie de la religion et le tournant pragmatiste des sciences sociales », in Archivio di filosofia, LXXV/1-2 (2007), pp. 397- 412.
Maesschalck M., « La réception de la Théologie de la Libération en Haïti », in Recherches haïtiano-antillaises, n°4, 2006, pp. 139-168.
Chaouch Malik Tahar, « La teología de la liberación en América Latina: una relectura sociológica », in Revista Mexicana de Sociología, Vol. 69, No. 3, Juil. - Sept., 2007, pp. 427-456.
Chaouch Malik Tahar, « Les recompositions de la théologie de la libération en Amérique latine », in L'Ordinaire des Amériques,  n°10, 2008, pp. 47-62.
Maqueo Roberto Oliveros SJ, “Historia Breve de la Teología de la Liberación (1962-1990)”, in Mysterium Liberationis, UCA, San Salvador 1991, vol. I, pp. 17-50.
Vidal José Manuel « 'Qué es la Teología de la Liberación?: Génesis y consolidación de la TdL- (1979-1987) ­– Hacia la maduración entre conflictos », in Religion, 2017.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Certificat universitaire en sciences des religions

Master [120] in Philosophy

Master [120] in Ethics

Master [60] in Philosophy

Master [120] in Theology

Certificat universitaire en philosophie (approfondissement)

Master [120] in Sciences of Religions