A-level Philosophy comprises four topic areas: Epistemology, Moral philosophy, the Metaphysics of God and the Metaphysics of mind.
Philosophy is a subject which requires a great deal of reading and time dedicated to the development of essay writing skills. As such, students of other humanities-based subjects, including history, religious studies or sociology are especially encouraged to apply.
Students of maths and science-based subjects will also be well-suited due to the logical-rigour that this subject demands.
*Additional entry requirement information: the essay based subjects are English Language, English Literature, History, Religious Studies and Sociology.
Philosophy A-level has four main areas of study.
Epistemology is the area of study concerned with what knowledge is and how it is acquired. Is it something that we are born with? Is it gained through understanding? Or, do we simply learn it through experience? This area also encourages students to question whether knowledge is even possible by raising interesting questions relating to the reliability of our senses and understanding.
Moral Philosophy is concerned with analysing our everyday experiences of the world in order to understand what best way to live our lives is. In addition to the various rules, principles and approaches outlined by philosophers throughout history, therefore, this module also looks at specific situations including simulated killing, animal welfare, telling lies and stealing, in order to think about how we should apply these theories in practice.
Metaphysics of mind challenges students to take some of the key ideas learned through the study of people like Descartes and Chalmers to try and understand what the nature of consciousness is. What is a ‘mind’? What is its relationship with other minds and the world in general? And how can we know this?
Metaphysics of God encourages you to think through some of the biggest and most contentious arguments about the existence of God, including what God’s characteristics are and whether these make sense. What is the importance of God to our understanding of ourselves? And what does it mean to live without God?
The course is designed to be taught through providing essential, foundational knowledge that will help with the overlap between all four areas that you study.
Year 1 helps you to develop your philosophical reasoning skills, critical thinking and scaffolding, relative to all of the different styles of questions you will be responding to in the final exams.
In Year 2, we use this knowledge and development to look at some of the more complex philosophical theories and support you to develop your timing and overall stamina for those final assessments. In preparation for these, you will have at least one assessment per term. These will comprise of a mixture of different question types, so as to ensure that you are as well-prepared as possible.
Awarding Body: AQA Philosophy (7172)
100% Exams at the end of Year 2:
Epistemology and Moral Philosophy: 3 hour paper with 2x 3 mark questions,
Metaphysics of Mind and Metaphysics of God: 3 hour paper with 2x 3 mark questions, 4x 5 mark questions, 2x 12 mark questions and 2x 25 mark essay questions
Resources for this subject include a wide range of textbooks, online resources from A-level Philosophy and a wide range of reading booklets.
Lessons are delivered on PowerPoint and we start on the assumption that nobody will have encountered philosophy before - so lots of support is offered!
We have a vibrant student-led Philosophy Club, and there will also be opportunities to listen to guest lecturers from local and national universities.
Furthermore, you will attend an A-level Philosophy conference in London and tune into student webinars from University of Reading.
Trips to local and national student conferences will incur a small cost.
Financial assisstance is available via the College Bursary Scheme.
Philosophy has a lot of skills (like communication) that employers and universities look for.
Furthermore, you will develop the independent study and close reading skills required to follow a range of career/academic pathways, from law, humanities or journalism, to business, education and the arts.
Add this course to your choices for applying online