Philosophy

Is Philosophy the subject for you?

Philosophy is a subject for those who like asking “why”. In Philosophy we don’t tend to deal with questions that have easy answers. If you feel comfortable questioning your long held assumptions, are a reflective person, and have an imagination, Philosophy may well be the subject for you! The study of Philosophy will provide you with fresh and interesting perspectives on the world around you.

Course content

In the AS year we cover ‘Epistemology’ and ‘Philosophy of Religion’. In the first unit we examine where ideas and knowledge come from. Does knowledge come from Reason (like Maths) or our senses (like Science)? Can we know anything at all? Do we perceive the world as it really is and how does perception work? In the second unit we examine questions which you were introduced to in your GCSE in much more detail. Is there any good reason to believe a God exists? Does morality come from a God’s decisions, or are things good and bad independently of God? In A2 we study ‘Philosophy of Mind’ and ‘Ethics.’ In Philosophy of Mind we examine what consciousness might be. Consciousness is still one of the biggest mysteries of Philosophy and Science. What is the Mind? Is it a non- physical ‘soul’? What is the relationship between mind and brain? Can we create computers that think (Artificial Intelligence)? In ‘Ethics’, the rational study of morality and values, we study theories of morality. We apply these theories to things like war, crime and punishment, simulated killing (in computer games and films), and the status of animals

Methods of study

The ability to express oneself in both written and verbal contexts is essential in the study of Philosophy. Dialogue is vital and you will be trained to argue in a constructive, logical manner. Exams are in the form of shorter questions, and longer essays. You will spend a lot of time prior to exams “translating” philosophical ideas and expressing them in your own terms. You will read some of the greatest thinkers of all time, as well as the excellent textbook.

How will it be examined?

AS qualification will count towards the final grade of an A Level (Legacy).

Career opportunities

Philosophy is offered at most Universities and tends to attract smart, imaginative people. It is often combined with another subject, such as English, Psychology, Law, Politics, Science, History and many more. Philosophy doesn’t equip you for just one role in life, but gives you important skills highly prized in many roles. For example, Philosophers are taught to think and reason better, to analyse, to evaluate, and to write and speak articulately. They can think sharply and clearly about issues they confront. It’s like a course in intellectual self-defence! Employers value philosophy students’ ability to think quickly. Philosophy students often find themselves working in sectors as diverse as medicine, law, business, politics, and media.