PHI-20022 - Life, Death and Faith
Coordinator: Jonathan Head Room: CBA2.032 Tel: +44 1782 7 33515
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2024/25


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2024/25

Questions concerning life, death and faith were particularly prevalent in 19th century philosophy, particularly in the theories of two of the most important and intriguing philosophical figures of that time, Arthur Schopenhauer and Soren Kierkegaard. This module will enable you to study these philosophers in detail, and come to your own views about the striking claims they make about the value of life and the nature of religious faith. Informed by our reading of original texts, as well as the latest scholarship, we will reflect on such questions as:
1) Is life a good thing, or is it something to be regretted?
2) What is beyond the world of our everyday experience, and how does that impact upon our lives?
3) Should we strive to make the world better, or should we look to a life beyond this world?
4) What, if anything, can make life better?
5) What is religious faith?
6) Is religious faith a good thing to have, or is it illusory?
7) How should we philosophise about death?

The module aims:
1) To introduce students to key thinkers in 19th century philosophy, with a particular focus on debates concerning life, death and faith
2) To develop core study skills, including writing and research, as well as developing some key employability skills

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Analyse and critically assess key positions on the topics of life, death and faith: 1,2
Explain some of the central debates in 19th century philosophy concerning life, death and faith: 1,2
Develop and defend views regarding philosophical questions concerning life, death and faith: 1,2
Write about philosophical issues in 19th century philosophy concerning life, death and faith with clarity and precision: 1,2
Summarise and analyse key readings from debates concerning life, death and faith: 1,2

Study hours

15 hours attendance at lectures
5 hours attendance at seminars
40 hours study and preparation for seminars
45 hours study and preparation for essay
45 hours study and preparation for text analysis exercises

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Commentary weighted 50%
2 x 500 word text analysis exercises
Students will produce 2 x 500 word commentaries on specific extracts from the core texts, based on seminar discussion of these text extracts. Feedback from this work will be used to inform work on essay.

2: Essay weighted 50%
1,000 word essay
Students will be asked to write a 1,000-word essay on a topic chosen from a list of questions provided in the module guide. Students will be encouraged to undertake comparative work regarding differing approaches to the themes covered in the module.