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Philosophy at Nobel School

Course description

Awarding Body: AQA

The AS Level course consists of two introductory units. They cover a range of themes, such as questioning the way we experience the world and why we allow ourselves to follow rules.

The A2 qualification consists of two units, considered in the second year. It involves the study of Political Philosophy and Religious Philosophy in addition to an in-depth investigation of The Republic by Plato.

What is Philosophy?

Many misconceptions exist about the study of Philosophy as for many students it is unfamiliar. The subject is taught mainly in selective and independent schools and is rarely found in a state school environment. Philosophy A Level is highly regarded by universities and is rigorously academic. It is an enormous subject and broadly means 'love of wisdom'. Philosophy is a skill and in lessons we analyse and evaluate philosophical arguments in depth, reading the works of Descartes, Locke, Hume, Plato, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and many other famous writers.

Course content

What will I learn on this course?

This course will enable you to:

  • develop your skills in independent, reflective and critical thought;
  • understand and use advanced logic;
  • develop an interest in philosophical problems and ultimate questions;
  • develop strong independent thinking;
  • learn to reason at a high level;
  • make informed judgements and opinions, and debate them.

Who would be a successful student of Philosophy?

This course will appeal to students who:

  • have a genuine interest in the opinions and thoughts of others;
  • who enjoy reading challenging texts;
  • enjoy questioning their own preconceptions;
  • enjoy participating in discussion, expressing and justifying their own opinions;
  • are prepared to look at the world in a very different way;
  • intend to pursue academic subjects in Higher Education; Philosophy is a highly regarded discipline.

Entry requirements

Students will be expected to have 5 or more GCSEs grade A* - B, including Bs in English and Religion & Ethics.


AS Level

Unit 1 - Introduction to Philosophy 1

Considering two themes: 'Reason and Experience' (how do we gain knowledge; through experience or through reason, or something in between?) and The Idea of God (would it be logically possible for God to be perfect?).

Unit 2 - Introduction to Philosophy 2

Considering two themes: Knowledge of the External World (are our experiences of the world real?) and God and the World (does the world demonstrate intelligent design?).

All modules carry equal weighting. Assessment is through two one hour and thirty minute exams at the end of the course.

A2 Level

Unit 3 - Key Themes in Philosophy

A choice of topics: Political Philosophy (liberty, rights, justice and the concept of the state), Philosophy of Religion (arguments for God's existence, the concept of Faith) and Epistemology and Metaphysics (what is knowledge, can we truly know anything?).

Unit 4- Philosophical Problems

Study of Plato's Republic : Considering his ideas for an enlightened dictatorship where the family is abolished and society is ruled by a Philosopher who knows the 'truth'. Is democracy fundamentally flawed? Would a philosopher be the best ruler of a state?

Unit 3 is worth 30% of the total A Level marks, Unit 4 is worth 20%. Assessment is through one two hour exam (Unit 3) and one exam lasting an hour and a half (Unit 4).

Future opportunities

You will find this course useful if you wish to follow a career in the following areas:

  • industry, business and commerce, where critical thinking and new ideas are desirable qualities
  • law;
  • advertising, marketing and the media;
  • academic research and teaching.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 26 May 2015
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