Philosophy and Ethics A level at Oldfield School
You need to be a person who constantly asks why and who is interested in the answers that other people give, even if you don’t agree with them. Studying Religious Studies at A level gives you a deep insight into the world’s major religions, allowing you to make useful contributions to debate on current affairs and ethical issues.
The course does not assume religious belief and will suit people of no religious faith or someone from a faith background. It will develop individuals who can think independently, and have the skills to empathise with opposing viewpoints. Studying Philosophy and Ethics allows you to develop excellent critical thinking skills and gain the essential essay writing skills needed to study successfully at university.
The A Level course involves study in two areas:
Philosophy of Religion
In Philosophy of Religion we explore the ideas of great western thinkers from the time of Plato to the present day. We consider difficult questions such as: Does suffering undermine the idea of a good God? Was Marx right to say that religion is an opiate? Which Richard will you support: Dawkins or Swinburne? Do you think that Science explains everything about the world, or do poetry and art have something to contribute to human knowledge?
In Ethics we ask what it means to say something is ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ and if we can ever make useful judgements on issues such as war, abortion, and euthanasia. We study the ethical theories of the great philosophers, Aristotle, Kant, Bentham and Mill, alongside gaining a greater understanding of classical Judeo-Christian ethics. At A2 we ask fundamental questions about freedom; do we have free will? Are we determined by an outside force? Has what will happen to us in life already been decided?
Grade C in English Language and grade C in Religious Studies.
Examination Board - OCR
The course is assessed entirely by examination. At both AS and A2 level there are two written papers, Philosophy of Religion and Religious Ethics which are both one and a half hours long.
An A Level in Religious Studies is excellent preparation for a university degree in Philosophy or Theology. It is a highly regarded discipline at the top ten Universities, and is considered hugely beneficial when applying to study law, politics or medicine.
What other subjects does it complement?
Philosophy and Ethics complements the study of History, Psychology and English. However, it is also valuable for students studying Mathematics and the Sciences. Many of the philosophers we study were contemporaries of the people who wrote the mathematical and scientific theories you will study.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Oldfield School directly.