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Philosophy A and AS Level at William Howard School

Course description

A demanding academic subject, philosophy provides students with an excellent progression route to university courses. Philosophy combines very well with subjects such as history, English literature or law. It develops skills of analysis and argument, and allows students to wrestle with some of the biggest questions ever to face humanity. Questions concerning the nature of reality, how we should live our lives, whether body and mind are separate and whether there are rational reasons for believing in God will all be considered as part of this exciting and challenging course. 

Course content


Epistemology (theory of knowledge) – What can we know?

Can we be sure that there is a world around us? Is there anything we can be sure of at all? What is knowledge? Do we learn everything through experience or is some knowledge innate?

Philosophy of Religion Can it be rational to believe in God?

What arguments have been presented for God’s existence and can they be criticised? If there were a God, can the existence of suffering be explained? Could an all-powerful God create a stone He couldn’t lift?



EthicsHow do we decide what is right or wrong?

A study of three ethical theories: Utilitarianism (we should do whatever brings the best consequences), Kant’s deontology (we should always follow the rules), and virtue ethics (we should do what develops a good character).  

Philosophy of Mind Are my mind and body separate?

What is the relationship between the body and the mind? What is consciousness? Is there a difference between a mind and a computer? If you swapped brains with someone which person would be you?


There will be one exam at the end of year 12 for the AS level qualification, those who continue to the full A level will sit a further exam at the end of year 13. On both exams there are a variety of question styles ranging from short definitions to essays. There is no controlled assessment.

Future opportunities

A level philosophy is a highly respected qualification, complimenting the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences. A very wide variety of university courses would welcome applicants with A level philosophy. If you are interested in a career involving law, politics, journalism, sociology (and many other disciplines) then philosophy could be for you!

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact William Howard School directly.

Last updated date: 14 October 2016
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