Philosophy of Religion A

lfilo2130  2021-2022  Louvain-la-Neuve

Philosophy of Religion A
5.00 credits
30.0 h

This biannual learning unit is being organized in 2021-2022
Maesschalck Marc;
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.
Learning outcomes

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.
Study of the strategies of objectivation of the religious phenomenon
Both the philosophy of religion and the human and social sciences of religion have faced the primary question of the self-referentiality of the religious object which is known and lived in the form of a practice to which the mind as well as the body adhere in their own way. Whether one approaches a tradition as part of itself or in the manner of an investigator who looks into its historical traces and tries to understand them (and thus to reinterpret them) as authentic or non-authentic parts of a corpus, the internal relation to this self-referential phenomenon remains unchanged: it does not matter whether the expert is a spokesman or an independent scholar, he becomes the holder of a meaning that is understood only in terms of himself, as a doctrine, a law, a wisdom or a form of life. Faced with this form of “indexicality” proper to the knowledge of self-reference, where historical-critical and hermeneutic strategies have prevailed, other strategies have emerged to detach themselves from the processes of subjectivation inevitably correlative to the strategies already known. Approaches linked to the theory of the firm and to the theory of organizations have been attempted, the focus has been on the behavior of agents in the market of spiritual goods and beliefs, with providers and users, and attempts have been made to objectify the scales of values and to identify the evolution of spiritual demands. All these attempts (and others) raise the question of the scientific knowledge really available on the power of these phenomena and on the way to elaborate a rational policy concerning them, without having to resort to self-referential notions par excellence such as "radicalization".
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.
Other information
English-friendly course: course taught in French but offering facilities in English.
Azria R. & Hervieu-Léger D. (éd.), Dictionnaire des faits religieux, P.U.F., Paris, 2010.
Bréchon P., « La religiosité en Europe de l’Ouest », in Futuribles, 2013, n° 395, pp. 105-117 ;
Bréchon Pierre, « Les attitudes religieuses en France : quelles recompositions en cours? », in Archives de Sciences sociales des Religions, 2000, n° 109, pp. 11-30.
Emmons R. A., The Psychology of Ultimate Concerns: Motivation and Spirituality in Personality, Guilford Press, New York, 1999.
Ester P., Halman L. et Moor R. de, The Individualizing Society, Value Change in Europe and North America, Tilburg University Press, 1993.
Inglehart R., Modernization and Postmodernization. Cultural, Economic and Political Change in 43 Societies, Princeton University Press, 1997.
Jelen T.G. et Wilcox C. (eds), Religion and Politics in Comparative Perspective, Cambridge UP, Cambridge, 2002.
Jobin G., Larouche J.-M., Maesschalck M. (éds), « La religion dans l’espace public », Numéro spécial de Ethique publique, 8/1 (2006).
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.
Tarot Camille, Précis de religion, Les transformations d’un refoulé, Le Bord de l’Eau, Lormont, 2021. 
Welzel et R. Inglehart, « Mass Beliefs in Comparative politics », in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Polities, C. Boix et S. C. Stokes (eds), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007, pp. 297-316.
Faculty or entity

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

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
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