ATS2758 - Religion, philosophy, science - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Centre for Religious Studies

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Tamara Prosic


Dr Tamara Prosic

Unit guides



  • First semester 2019 (On-campus)
  • First semester 2019 (Online)


Arts Faculty students: Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units.

Science Faculty students: Option 1 - SCI2010 or SCI2015, Option 2 - Six credit points of first-year Arts unit and six credit points of first-year Science unit.

Other faculties students: Six credit points of first-year Arts unit and six credit points of first-year other faculty unit


Religion, philosophy and science are three modes of thinking about the world and understanding the role humanity plays in it. Often considered to be separate and competing fields of human inquiry, throughout history they often overlapped and complemented each other. Babylonians were keen observes of the celestial phenomena, but their interest in astronomy was religiously motivated. In a similar manner Plato was a philosopher, but his teachings gave rise to Neoplatonism which was both a philosophical and religious system, moreover one which in medieval times led to alchemy, the beginnings of modern chemistry. This unit familiarises students with the differences and similarities, convergences and departures between religious, philosophical and scientific ways of thinking, key past debates between them and the impact religion has had on the development of philosophy and science. Finally, the unit also offers a critical insight into current issues involving intelligent design, creationism, evolution and Darwinism; quantum physics, matter, causation, divine action and free will; neuroscience and religious experience; and various bioethical dilemmas arising from advancement in technology and medicine.


Upon successful completion of the unit, students will:

  1. have good understanding of the relationship between religion, philosophy and science and their ways of understanding reality;
  2. develop strong analytical skills in approaching past and current debates involving issues in religion, philosophy and science;
  3. be able to engage critically with such debates;
  4. be able to engage constructively in cross-disciplinary conversations.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study