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The following books have been written for those taking papers at A-level in Phiilosophy of Religion and Ethics...

int phil





This open access philosophy website is a very good online resource for those coming new to philosophy, and for students from GCSE upwards, particularly (in videos already produced) for those taking Philosophy of Religion papers.

Take a look at the website at .


Just click on any topic to get the notes...

Latest addition to this page...

I have revised the notes on Meta-ethics  These offer a broad introduction to Meta Ethical theories, including emotivism and prescriptivism. They draw on material from An Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics.

Religious Experience   What is it? Is it a natural phenomenon? What kinds of experience are called 'religious'? Is it what is experienced, or how it is experiences that makes it religious?  (These notes have been revised and now form a web page.)

Language explores issues arising from Wittgenstein's Tractatus, Logical Positivism, Verification and 'Language Games' , both generally and in relation to religious language, with brief notes on 'experiencing as', 'believing in', analogy, myth and symbolism.

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Freedom and Ethics - asks questions about whether anyone is free to choose, and how much freedom we need for moral responsibility.

wiphiIf you are about to start examining the Divine Command Theory, take a look at these wi-phi videos by Stephen Darwall (Yale): God and Morality Part 1 and God and Morality Part 2. They are wonderfully clear and set out the main issues.

Virtue Ethics   Brief notes introducing this approach to ethics, referring both to Aristotle and modern virtue ethics. Further notes, taken from sections of An Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics are available here under the title Aristotle and Virtue Ethics.

Natural Law Ethics   These notes give the background to the Natural Law approach to ethics, along with my comments and a rant about economics and the need for a natural law approach to ideas about society.

Abortion and Euthanasia   These notes give a basic introduction to the issues and the way in which natural law, Kantian and situationist theories might approach them.

What is Conscience?   These notes are taken from the relevant sections of An Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics, giving a basic introduction to what conscience is and what part it plays within moral debate.


The Ethics of War  Basic notes on the Just War theory and associated issues, taken from a lecture given in 2008.

Sexual Morality: Christian demands and modern attitudes  A lecture which attempts to show that neither Christian demands nor modern attitudes are simple and uniform, but looks at some basic ways in which religion engages with sexual morality.

Philosophy of Religion

Language explores issues arising from Wittgenstein's Tractatus, Logical Positivism, Verification and 'Language Games' , both generally and in relation to religious language, with brief notes on 'experiencing as', 'believing in', analogy, myth and symbolism. (This page conflates my earlier notes on religious language.)

Notes on Faith and Reason, serve as background to Anselm's Ontological Argument, pointing out distinctions in the relevant Latin terms in 'faith seeking unerstanding' and 'I believe in order to understand.' My material on the Ontological Argument itself is found in two of my books: Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics and Understand Philosophy of Religion.  

Is the Philosophy of Religion a mistake? This is a blog post of mine which asks whether the Philosophy of Religion can really get to grips with what religion is about.


religion and scienceReligion and Science - ebook

Religion and Science, originally published in the Hodder's A-level Access series, is now available free on this website. Its chapters include: Evolution and Design, Freedom and Determinism, Miracles, Scientific Explanations of Religion and much more.

Just click on the cover for more information and to go to the text of this book.

Plato and the Forms  - a basic introduction to this key feature of Plato's work

Free Will and Determinism  This gives a very brief introduction to determinism, relevant both to issues of morality and the nature and freedom of the will. (But see also Freedom and Ethics.)

The Cosmological Arguments and Was the Universe Created, or Does it Exist by Chance?  were given on different occasions but on broadly the same topic. The former gives a straightforward explanation of Aquinas, the latter is more broadly based. But see also the chapter on 'The Origins of the Universe' in Religion and Science.

wiphiFor a clear introduction to Cosmological arguments, with a careful examination of their logic, take a look at the wi-phi videos from Timothy Yenter (University of Mississippi) Part 1 and Part 2.

Two of my earlier sets of notes on miracles are: Miracles (for AS level) and Did Jesus (or anyone else) perform miracles?  The former gives a basic outline of the Hume and a broad consideration of the nature of miracles; the latter presents the same topic in a broad religious context. But my latest notes on miracles are from a talk given at the Badminton Conference, March 2013: Miracles.

Augustine and the Problem of Evil gives an introduction to a major challenge to theistic belief, which is raised again by The Goodness of God in the Judaeo-Christian tradition.  Belief is related to ethics in Is God Always Right?, which gives an outline of the Euthyphro Dilemma.

The nature of the self is considered in Aristotle and the soul and in Parapsychology and the debate about life after death.

Revelation through Scripture examines some of the problems of uncritically ascribing ultimate authority to religious writings.

God - thought or experience? asks about the nature and function of the word 'God'.

Freud examines his basic criticism of religion and also his views about what religion offers.




Welcome to the 'Notes' page!

I hope you find these notes useful for your A level work on topics in Ethics and the Philosophy of Religion.

Please keep in mind that some of them are based on lectures given a few years ago. Although the basic information and arguments remain valid, make sure you check more recent material as well. I shall be up-dating these notes from time to time, so do check back.

You may freely copy my notes for your personal use only.

If you have any questions or comments, please email me by clicking here.

Basic texts on Philosophy and Ethics:

For the general reader, as well as students at A level and preparing for undergraduate courses....



phil of rel

For a bit of light relief, but with plenty of ideas to get you thinking, take a look at...