The Limits of Philosophy, Science and Religion


This course explores the respective limits of science, religion and philosophy.

To what extent can and does science threaten religious belief? Is the supernatural off-limits to science? Are those, like Richard Dawkins, who think science can potentially show that there is no God guilty of scientism – of supposing that science can answer every legitimate question? Are science and religion ‘non-overlapping magisteria’, as Stephen J. Gould claimed, with science focussed on the age of rocks and religion on the rock of ages? Can religious claims be laboratory tested, or empirically falsified? Or is this to misunderstand the nature of religious belief?

We also consider: if science and observation provide our only window on to reality, what room is left for philosophy, exactly? Can philosophical reflection reveal fundamental truths about the universe? If so, how? And if not, then what do philosophers do, exactly? Is philosophy ultimately a huge waste of time, as several prominent scientists suggested?

Programme details


Science, religion and philosophy 1
Stephen Law


Science, religion and philosophy 2
Chris Oldfield

Lunch break

Ways of thinking about science and religion
Stephen Law and Chris Oldfield


Stephen Law and Chris Oldfield

Course disperses


Description Costs
Tuition fee (includes tea/coffee) £85.00
Baguette £6.10
Hot lunch (three courses) £16.50


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Stephen Law

Speaker and Director of Studies

Stephen Law is a Departmental Lecturer in Philosophy and Director of the Certificate of Higher Education at OUDCE. His research focuses on the philosophy of mind, language, metaphysics and on philosophy of religion. He also writes many accessible online articles and edits the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal THINK: Philosophy for Everyone.

Mr Chris Oldfield


Christopher Oldfield (Chris) is a philosopher at King's College London, and a member of Trinity College in the University of Cambridge, where he is currently employed as a Research Associate at the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion.


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - 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.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and discounted prices.