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.

Unit code: XS9905C

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Capstone

Unit discipline: Capstone Other S

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

Show when this unit is running

Learning outcomes


Critically explain the manner in which selected core thinkers in the unit characterise the nature of God


Adumbrate the theories of knowledge and philosophical terminology of selected thinkers in the unit


Critically compare the account of human nature and theory of concept formation of selected thinkers in the unit.


Critically appraise the success or failure of selected thinkers’ accounts of human nature have implications for the limits of knowledge of God that the human person is naturally able to attain, especially in relation to synthesising narratives concerning philosophical knowledge of God in the western tradition.


Construct rigorous and integrated documentation of a capstone learning experience, using methodologies and scholarly style of the relevant disciplines.

Unit sequence

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


The capstone learning experience requires students to undertake self-directed, peer-engaged, multi-discipline, integrative and contextually-attuned study with the support of a supervisor.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Ameriks, Karl. Kant's Theory of Mind: An Analysis of the Paralogisms of Pure Reason. New ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000.
  • Brock, Stephen L. The Philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas: A Sketch. Cambridge: James Clarke & Co, 2015.
  • Fornari, Giuseppe, and Keith Buck. A God Torn to Pieces: The Nietzsche Case. Studies in Violence, Mimesis and Culture. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2013.
  • Guyer, Paul, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Kant. 1st ed. Cambridge Companions to Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
  • Insole, Christopher J. The Intolerable God: Kant's Theological Journey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2016.
  • Kail, P. J. E. Projection and Realism in Hume's Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Shields, Christopher John. The Oxford Handbook of Aristotle. Oxford Handbooks. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Shorey, Paul. The unity of Plato’s thought. Archon Books, 1968.
  • Vlastos, Gregory. Plato's Universe. Las Vegas: Parmenides Pub., 2005.
  • Wippel, John F. Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas. Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy, V. 10. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1995.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)


6500 80.0

Report with initial bibliography; report is expected to be subject of peer discussion and critique in seminars.

1500 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 27 Jul, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2019-09-09 09:10:28 +1000