This unit will provide students with language to understand more critically both our Western secular world and themselves, in order that they are able to engage critically with the concepts of immanence and secularity. Apart from its intrinsic philosophical interest, the unit aims to give access to an important intellectual underpinning for pastoral care and for missiology in this secular age. Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age (2007) is a seminal work that gives a philosophical/history-of-ideas account of the development and spread of exclusive humanism as a viable alternative to Christianity to whole societies. Parts 4 and 5 of this book provide a mental map of our secular world with its longings, projects and searches for significance within an “immanent frame.” This immanent frame is the focus of this course, along with critical consideration of the discourse on the work that emerged after its publication, for example, by thinkers such as Hunter (2011), Harrison (2010), and Milbank (varia).

Unit code: AP9162C (Approved)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Philosophy

Delivery mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Expound Parts 4 and 5 of A Secular Age in a careful, critical, and comprehensive manner


Situate A Secular Age in relation to its purpose and philosophical and historical context, with due regard to the history of secularisation narratives;


Critically explain and evaluate theories, terminology, and arguments encountered in A Secular Age


Appraise Taylor’s account of the current situation and relate it to examples from current Australian society


Develop a topic of research in a critical, rigorous, sustained, and self-directed manner, in accord with the appropriate disciplinary methodologies and conventions


Pedagogy will depend on the mode. Semester weekly mode will be lectures, tutorials, and seminars. Intensive mode will be seminars and guided reading; learners will accordingly engage with lecture input, directed reading activities, and seminars to achieve the learning outcomes.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Option 1: 4,000-word essay 60% End of semester 1,000-word skeleton argument 10% Week 13 2 x 1000-word tutorial papers/summative reflections critically expounding and evaluating a theory or argument from a chapter of Taylor. Each paper is to draw on a different chapter. 40% Weeks 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12

OR Option 2

0 100.0

Option 2: 6000-word essay 90% End of semester 1,000-word skeleton argument 10% Week 13

OR Option 1

7000 100.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 9 Aug, 2018

Unit record last updated: 2019-10-03 14:28:14 +1000