Philosophy and Religious Studies

Examining Board: AQA – Religious Studies specification A

Component 1: The Study of Religions: Beliefs, Teachings and Practices
Component 2: Thematic Studies Philosophical and Ethical themes

Aims of Course:

  1. Develop an understanding of a number of key Philosophical and Ethical issues that modern society faces.
  2. Develop a critical understanding of two contrasting Religions and their views on key issues, as well as learning about “humanistic” non-religious views.
  3. Develop abilities to think, write, and speak, more logically, rationally, and articulately.
  4. Promote exploration of, and reflection upon, the human condition.

Course Content

   Year 9

  1. PHILOSOPHY A: The Big Questions - Introduction to Philosophy
  2. Critical ThinkingAn Introduction to Argument (to Christmas)
  3. Christianity: Beliefs, Teachings and Practices (1 term) X
  4. Religion and Life: Big Bang’ theory, Evolutionary Theory. The environment and
    animal rights (1 term) X

    Year 10

  5. Buddhism: Beliefs, Teachings and Practices (1 term – to Christmas) X
  6. The Existence of God and Revelation: Arguments for and against the existence of a God; theories of the afterlife, ghosts! (1 term) X
  7. PHILOSOPHY B: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle
  8. Religion, Peace and Conflict: Justice, war, terrorism – can war ever be justified? X

    Year 11

  9. Human Rights and Social Justice:Human rights, equality, gender, sexuality, race, poverty and wealth. (1 term – to Christmas) X
  10. PHILOSOPHY C: Rationalism & Empiricism, Personal Identity.
    Revisiting of Christianity and Buddhism .
    Revisiting of Religion and Life, Existence of God, Peace and Conflict.
    X = GCSE examined module

Method of Assessment:
2 x 1 hour 45-minute examinations taken at the end of Year 11. There is no coursework.

Recommended Reading:

‘Sophie’s World’ by Jostein Gaardner, ‘The Complete Philosophy Files’ by Stephen Law, ‘Think’ by Simon Blackburn, ‘Existentialism is a Humanism’ by Jean Paul Sartre. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder, 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Small Great Things by Jodi Picoualt,The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, Theology A Very Short Introduction by David F. Ford, Philosophy A Very Short Introduction by Edward Craig

Key Stage 5 Progression/ Career Prospects:

A Level Philosophy is offered at Bentley Wood (not Religious Studies). Careers pursued by students of Philosophy are varied and extraordinary. Ex-students of Philosophy include:

  • Politics and Law: Ed Milliband, David Cameron, Bill Clinton, Martin Luther King,
    Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • Journalism: Jonathan Dimbleby, Henry MacDonald, Mehdi Hasan.
  • Medicine & Social Work Sir Nigel Crisp.
  • Writers: Hanif Kureishi, Iris Murdoch, David Foster Wallace, Jean Paul Sartre, T.S.Eliot.
  • Business/Advertising: George Soros, Charles Handy, Tim Mason, Peter Thiel (co-founder Paypal).
  • Film & Music: Ricky Gervais, Ethan Coen, Harrison Ford, Rick Rubin, Beverley Knight, Bruce Lee, Terence Malick, Lana Del Rey, Susan Sarandon, Richard Gere, Duncan Jones
  • Other: Noam Chomsky, Larry Sanger (co-founder of Wikipedia), Sam Harris, Pope John Paul II, Philip Glass, Stephen Colbert, Stewart Butterfield (co-founder of Flickr).