Philosophical Foundations – PRTH 702

CG • Section 8WK • 07/01/2018 to 12/31/2199 • Modified 09/05/2023

Course Description

This course introduces students to relevant philosophical foundations for learning and critical thinking in a way that will prepare them for their future academic work related to practical theology.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


To engage well in the academic community, students need to develop a working knowledge of appropriate philosophical foundations, sharpen their critical thinking skills, and be able to articulate how they know what they know. This course seeks to survey western thought as well as provide students with an opportunity to grow in these respective fields so that they are able to interact well in the academic community.

Course Assignment

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will complete 4 Discussions in this course. To successfully complete a discussion, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the prompts located in the respective modules. Each thread must meet the 750 word count stipulated in the instructions and demonstrate critical thinking and awareness of course-related knowledge (utilizing at least 2 secondary sources from the course materials or presentations along with citations). Threads need to satisfy what is asked for in the prompt (nothing more, nothing less). In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to the threads of at least 2 classmates. Each reply must be at least 500 words and utilize at least 1 scholarly source. (CLO: A, B, C, D, E)

The student will complete a 4-page argument analysis of a scholarly work of his/her choosing (either from a reputable book or article). In so doing, the student will be able to identify how the argument is constructed and whether the argument is compelling and/or executed well. The goal of this assignment is for the student to develop the habit of identifying and critiquing arguments that he/she engages in the academic context. (CLO: C, E)

The student will complete an 8-page philosophy profile of a historical thinker that has had a profound impact on western thought. This will require that the student understand both the cultural/philosophical context in which the chosen figure emerged and what impact his/her contribution has had to the development of western thought since. This exercise will help the student appreciate how he/she is standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before him/her, even when it comes to thinking critically. (CLO: B, C)

The student will complete a 4-page critical analysis of Alvin Plantinga’s Knowledge and Christian Belief. Doing so will require that the student both summarize the major highlights of this work and critically interact with its unique academic contribution. The aim of this assignment is for the student to glean a better understanding of epistemology and philosophy in connection with the Christian worldview. (CLO: B, D)

It is one thing to claim to know something, but another thing entirely to know how you can justify what you believe you know. In this 20-page assignment, the student will articulate how he/she is able to achieve justified true belief in a claim/argument by means of his/her personal preferred epistemological framework. This exercise will have the student drawing upon everything he/she has learned in this course up to this point and apply it in a formal academic paper. (CLO: A, B, C, D, E)