Candle Conferences on demand lecture series for students of A Level Religious Studies are unique. As always, the lectures are pacy and engaging, designed to provoke deep thought and further discussion and debate. Each lecture is accompanied by detailed student resources, providing an overview of the content, useful scholars and quotations, suggestions for extra reading and learning activities. Overall, the lecture series offers 4+ hours of video content accompanied by 40+ pages of digital resources.
Exploring content specified by ALL ENGLISH EXAMINATION BOARDS for Year 2 study, “Language” will take students on a “deep dive” into the Philosophy of Language, helping them to appreciate implications across and between the Philosophy of Religion, Ethics and Study of Religion papers and to evaluate different approaches to assessing the meaning of claims made in these contexts.
1. Language and Meaning
This introductory lecture considers how language conveys meaning and the implications this has for the Philosophy of Religion, Ethics and the Study of Religion. Are words auditory signs, pointing towards a meaning beyond themselves and taking their meaning from what they refer to? Or, does the meaning of language come from how we use it? The lecture will end with an activity for students to complete.
2. Piercing the Veil
This second lecture will explore the medieval debate about meaning in religious claims. Cataphatic and apophatic approaches to speaking about God will be outlined and evaluated, before we explore Aquinas’ doctrine of analogy in greater depth. The lecture will end by focusing on a typical essay-question, which students can plan and/or write afterwards.
3. Are religious claims meaningless?
The third lecture will move forward to consider 20th Century challenges to the meaningfulness of religious language from verificationism and falsificationism. Following this, Wittgenstein’s theory of language games and the development of postmodernism will be considered, and the work of Tillich and Randall on symbol will be evaluated. The lecture will end with an activity for students to complete.
4. Meta-Ethics: What does “good” mean?
In the final lecture, we will turn to the relationship between language and ethics, exploring ethical naturalism, intuitionism and emotivism and how they relate to both normative ethical systems and ethical decision-making. The lecture will end by focusing on a typical essay-question, which students can plan and/or write afterwards.
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