We all have various views and understandings of the world around us. These are gained from our parents, education, society, culture and so on, but philosophy asks us to stop and consider some of these views – to slow down and analyse them in more depth and with more care. In the Philosophy A Level we consider some of these common areas of understanding, and reflect on the arguments and positions taken by philosophers over the past 2,500 years. We pay close attention to these arguments, and carefully and rigorously analyse and evaluate them, to see whether they reveal some deeper truths about the world. In class, this is done through a combination of lectures, discussion and written work, which may be produced via timed essays, assignments, group work or presentations. Our emphasis is to demonstrate that these arguments remain relevant and of significant importance in forming our attitudes and beliefs about the world.
Unit 1: An introduction to Philosophy 1
• Reason and Experience (Compulsory)
Unit 2: An introduction to Philosophy 2
• God and the World
• Free Will and Determinism
Both units are assessed by exam and each paper is worth 50% of the AS marks. Candidates must answer TWO questions on each paper and each paper lasts 1 hour 30 minutes.
Unit 3: Key Themes in Philosophy
• Philosophy of Mind
• Moral Philosophy
Unit 4: Philosophical Problems
• Descartes: Meditations
Both units are assessed by exam. Unit 3 has a TWO hour written paper comprising a question on each theme and this represents 60% of A2 marks. Unit 4 has an exam of 1 hour and 30 minutes, comprising a textual question and an essay question. This paper represents 40% of A2 marks .
Examining Board – AQA.
Special Entry Requirements
Philosophy requires engagement with densely written texts and the ability to write clearly on very abstract subjects. GCSE English Language grade C, or preferably higher, is essential .
Career and Progression Opportunities
Philosophy is recognised by universities and employers as a rigorous discipline, and is associated with careers in Law, journalism, politics, teaching and the Arts.
The College has an excellent Philosophy library, including several journals. Students are required to make use of selected intranet and internet sites.
This information is correct for September 2013 entry.