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Teaching Philosophy

Volume 37, Issue 4, December 2014

Wesley D. Cray, Steven G. Brown
Pages 465-480
DOI: 10.5840/teachphil201410224

Team-Teaching the Atheism-Theism Debate

In this paper, we discuss a team-taught, debate-style Philosophy of Religion course we designed and taught at The Ohio State University. Rather than tackling the breadth of topics traditionally subsumed under the umbrella of Philosophy of Religion, this course focused exclusively on the nuances of the atheism-theism debate, with the instructors openly identifying as atheist or theist, respectively. After discussing the motivations for designing and teaching such a course, we go on to detail its content and structure. We then examine various challenges and hurdles we faced, as well as some benefits we encountered along the way. Next, we discuss some informal data collected from the students enrolled in the course, some of which suggest some rather surprising outcomes. We conclude with some considerations of the applicability of this style of teaching to other philosophical debates.