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Philosophy AS & A Level at Hornsea School and Language College

Course description

Philosophy is literally the ‘love of wisdom’…and it’s more than 3000 years old. It’s about looking at ourselves, who we are, what we believe (some would call it ‘navel-gazing’!), the universe (things!!) and trying to get to grips with it all. Crucially, it involves thinking about it all in a logical, reasonable way.

Course content

Year 12

  • Section A: Epistemology
    You will be introduced to the study of philosophy through three subtopics. The first option is 'Perception'. We look at the nature of sense perception and how it contributes to our knowledge of the world. We look at the major theories of perception: realism, representative realism and idealism. The second option is 'The Definition of Knowledge'. In this topic we examine what it is to ‘know’ something and what conditions have to be fulfilled for us to be able to say ‘I know that’! The third is concerned with the origin of concepts. We study the idea that all ideas are derived from sense experience, whether the mind contains inbuilt ideas and whether some things can be known without sense experience.
  • Section B: Moral Philosophy    
    In this final section we look at what different philosophers think about how we shouldact in everyday situations. E.g. should we do something because ‘the Bible says so’, or because ‘we ought to’ or because it has good consequences’ or because ‘it’s what we want to do...full stop’! We study utilitarianism, virtue theory and Kant’s deontological ethics and then use the different theories to discuss a variety of   issues such as animal rights, euthanasia and abortion.

Year 13

  • Section A: The Metaphysics of God
    This is not RE! In this part of the course we use our reason to determine what does, and what does not, make sense in terms of the concept of ‘God’. The first part looks at the ’Attributes of God’ and we examine the classical philosophical view of God as omnipotent, omniscient etc. The second part of the unit takes an in depth look at the Ontological Argument, used by Descartes as a proof for the existence of God, cosmological and design arguments and finally the age-old and thorny problem of whether we can reconcile the facts of evil and suffering with the existence of a good and all powerful God. The final part of this ponders religious language. What does it mean to say ‘God loves us’ or ‘God is a creator’? Not what you think it might mean! If this catches your interest then you’ll love philosophy!
  • Section B: The Metaphysics of Mind
    In this section we look at theories of what ’mind’ actually is and how it relates to the body. Key questions include: can computers or Artificial Intelligence be said to have ’mind’? How can I be sure that the minds of others are anything like mine... or even that others have minds at all! (Scary!) We survey several theories including     dualism, the mind-brain identity theory and   behaviourism.

Entry requirements

5 A*-C GCSEs including English language and maths.


Year 13: 2x 3 hour examinations

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Hornsea School and Language College directly.

Last updated date: 20 January 2017
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    • Our transport provision is shared with HSLC’s home-school transport. The routes shown here arrive at Sixth Form for 8.30am and depart at 3.10pm. Bus passes can be purchased for Sixth Form students from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s website.

      Free twilight buses also run on these routes three days per week at 5.00pm. These give students the opportunity to take part in clubs, societies, catch-up sessions or to use the Sixth Form study facilities.

      Visit for complete bus routes.