Master's Capstone Unit:
What Has Athens To Do With Jerusalem?
God and the Reasoning Human in Western Philosophy


Dr Callan Ledsham (coordinator)
Semesters 1 or 2, 2020
days and times to be negotiated
This unit overviews the western philosophical tradition by enquiring into the status of reason in relation to knowledge of God. It proceeds in historical sequence across western thought to consider the position of reason in relation to faith and the existence of God across the ancient, medieval and contemporary eras by comparing exemplary thinkers from each epoch (typically 4-6 significant thinkers across the unit; such thinkers might include Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger). These thinkers will be interrogated via a salient mixture of each thinker's epistemology, theory of human nature, philosophy of God and metaphysics, and additionally the different thinkers will be compared and put into conversation with one another. This unit is designed to be a seminar that integrates history of philosophy with appropriate thematic knowledge of the western philosophical canon; accordingly the unit can serve as the culmination of a masters award.

Census Date

  • Semester 1: Tuesday 17 March 
  • Semester 2: Tuesday 18 August


may only be taken in the final two semesters of the Master of Philosophical Studies.


four 2-hour face-to-face seminars, and independent study directed by supervisor, in one semester; or 8-hours online learning (webinars, discussion boards), and independent study directed by supervisor, in one semester


  • one 1,500-word report with initial bibliography 20%
  • one 6,500-word essay 80%


  • Ameriks, Karl. Kant's Theory of Mind: An Analysis of the Paralogisms of Pure Reason. New ed. Oxford: Clarendon, 2000.
  • Brock, Stephen L. The Philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas: A Sketch. Cambridge: James Clarke, 2016.
  • Fornari, Giuseppe. A God Torn to Pieces: The Nietzsche Case. Translated by Keith Buck. Studies in Violence, Mimesis, and Culture. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2013.
  • Guyer, Paul, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Kant. Cambridge Companions to Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
  • Insole, Christopher J. The Intolerable God: Kant's Theological Journey. Grand Rapids, MN: W. B. Eerdmans, 2016.
  • Kail, P. J. E. Projection and Realism in Hume's Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Shields, Christopher J., ed. The Oxford Handbook of Aristotle. Oxford Handbooks. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Shorey, Paul. The Unity of Plato’s Thought. Hamden: Archon Books, 1968.
  • Vlastos, Gregory. Plato's Universe. Las Vegas: Parmenides, 2005.
  • Wippel, John F. Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas. Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy 10. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1995.