God, Meaning and Objectivity

Course details

From £80.00

Sat 19 Oct 2019 - Sun 20 Oct 2019
2.45pm Sat - 12.30pm Sun

God, Meaning and Objectivity


In the early modern period it was widely assumed that a God-centred worldview was indispensable for making sense of the notions of objective truth and goodness, and that such objectivity provided a framework within which human beings could make sense of their lives. In today’s increasingly secular, atheistic and naturalistic outlook, do the notions of objective truth and value have to be given up?



Programme details


2.45pm           Course Registration

3.00pm           From desire to encounter: Descartes’s quest for God in the

                       Third Meditation

                       JOHN COTTINGHAM

4.30pm           Tea / coffee

5.00pm           An agnostic’s favorite proof of the existence of God

                       LLOYD STRICKLAND

6.30pm           Break / bar open

7.00pm           Dinner

8.15pm-          Religious belief: intellectual hypothesis or existential quest?

9.30pm           JOHN COTTINGHAM       


8.15am           Breakfast (residents only)

9.30am           Should there be a presumption of atheism, theism, or


                       LLOYD STRICKLAND                                               

10.45am         Coffee / tea

11.15am         Q & A 

                       Questions directed by MARIANNE TALBOT

12.30pm         Break / bar open

1.00pm           Lunch

2.00pm          Course disperses


Recommended reading


René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy with Selections from the Objections and Replies, trans. and ed. John Cottingham (2nd edn., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017). 

John  Cottingham, Philosophy of Religion: towards a more humane approach (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

John Cottingham, How to Believe (London: Bloomsbury/Continuum, 2015).

Antony Flew, “The presumption of atheism,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 2 (1972), 29–46.

Lloyd Strickland, Proofs of God in Early Modern Europe (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2018).



Accommodation for this weekend is at Rewley House for Saturday night only.

Depending on availability it may also be possible to extend your stay, please enquire at the time of booking for availability and prices.

All bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.



Tuition (includes tea/coffee): £80.00
Baguette Sunday: £5.00
Dinner Saturday evening: £21.00
Single B&B Saturday Night: £83.00
Single Room Only Saturday Night : £71.00
Sunday Lunch: £15.00
Twin/Double Room (2 sharing) B&B Saturday night: £118.00
Twin/Double Room Only (2 sharing) Saturday Night: £94.00


If you are in receipt of a state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses



Professor John G Cottingham


John Cottingham is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Reading University, Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Roehampton University London, and an Honorary Fellow of St John’s College Oxford. His publications in the history of philosophy include Descartes (Blackwell, 1986), The Rationalists (OUP,1988), and Cartesian Reflections (OUP, 2008), and he is co-editor and translator of the three-volume Cambridge edition of The Philosophical Writings of Descartes. His books on moral philosophy and philosophy of religion include Philosophy and the Good Life (CUP, 1998), On the Meaning of Life (Routledge, 2003), The Spiritual Dimension (CUP, 2005), Why Believe? (Continuum, 2009), Philosophy of Religion: Towards a More Humane Approach (CUP, 2014), and How To Believe (Bloomsbury, 2015). From 1993-2012 he was editor of Ratio, the international journal of analytic philosophy. The Moral Life, a Festschrift honouring his work in moral psychology, ethics and religion, appeared in 2008. For more details see http://www.johncottingham.co.uk


Dr Lloyd Strickland


Lloyd Strickland is Professor of Philosophy and Intellectual History at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has previously taught at Lancaster University, the University of Central Lancashire, and the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David. His principal research interests are Early Modern Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion. In addition to numerous journal articles he has published eight books: Leibniz Reinterpreted (Continuum, 2006), Shorter Leibniz Texts (Continuum, 2006), Leibniz and the Two Sophies (University of Toronto Press, 2011), Leibniz’s Monadology (Edinburgh University Press, 2014), Leibniz on God and Religion (Bloomsbury, 2016), Tercentenary Essays on the Philosophy and Science of Leibniz(Palgrave, 2017), The Philosophical Writings of Prémontval (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018), and Proofs of God in Early Modern Europe (Baylor University Press, 2018). Lloyd also runs a website that contains many of his translations of Leibniz’s writings: www.leibniz-translations.com


Ms Marianne Talbot

Director of Studies


Marianne Talbot took her first degree at London University, then her B.Phil at Oxford (Corpus Christi College). She has taught for the colleges of Oxford University for 30 years (1987 – 1990 at Pembroke College, 1991 – 2000 at Brasenose College). She has been Director of Studies in Philosophy at OUDCE since 2001. She is the author of Bioethics: An Introduction, and Critical Reasoning: A Romp Through the Foothills of Logic. Marianne’s podcasts have been hugely popular. Two of them have been global number one on iTunesU. One of these (The Nature of Arguments) has been downloaded 7 million times.




Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.