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Philosophy & Ethics A Level at Heanor Gate Science College

Course description

Ever since humankind started to think, religion has been a fundamental part of our development. As people ponder about the immensity of space or witness the wonder of birth, they contemplate the meaning of life and their own existence.

We all have ideas, opinions, prejudices and assumptions, yet it is rare that we have linked all of our thinking together into a coherent scheme. The Religious Studies: Philosophy and Ethics course attempts just such links, seeking to encourage joined–up thinking. In this pursuit various and wide ranging philosophers will be studied which will allow students to pit their minds against some of the most profound thinkers humanity has produced. We will embrace Plato’s ‘World of the Forms’, Aristotle’s concept of the ‘soul’ classical arguments for the existence of God which hold about as much water as a leaky bucket according to the great atheist philosopher David Hume, and we will take on concepts such as ‘miracle’ and belief in a good God despite the imperfection of his creation. Can such a God really reasonably be thought to exist? And if so what type of existence might it have?

Ethically, are our morals based on anything other than our opinions? Can ‘good, bad, right, wrong’ in any sense be defined or are they like the colour yellow, knowable but undefinable? Can I only know good by experiencing bad? What have ethical theories such as Thomas Aquinas’ Natural Law or Bentham and Mill’s atheistic Utilitarianism got to say on matters of medical ethics, genetics, war, peace, pacifism, the environment and homosexuality? What do Christianity and the Bible have to say on such things and why do they matter anyway?

Course content

At both AS and A level students will study the following components:

Philosophy of Religion

At both AS and A level students will study philosophical issues and questions raised by religion and belief. These include arguments regarding the existence or nonexistence of God, the nature and influence of religious experience and the problems of evil and suffering. At A Level in addition they will also explore philosophical language and thought through significant concepts and the works of key thinkers, illustrated in issues or debates in the philosophy of religion.

Religion and Ethics

At both AS and A level this unit is characterised by a study of ethical language and thought through significant concepts and the works of key thinkers, illustrated by issues in religion and ethics, and also by the application of ethical theory to issues of importance. At A Level students extend their learning further by examining the debates in these key areas as well as studying normative ethical theories and key ethical concepts, as well as developments in the way these ideas are applied to significant issues in religion and belief.

Development in Religious Thought

At both AS and A level this unit provides an opportunity for the systematic study of one religious tradition. This will include exploration of religious beliefs, values and teachings, sources of wisdom and authority and practices that shape and express religious identity. At A Level this will be extended further by examining the ways in which religious traditions have evolved and developed over time, and religious responses to challenges and significant contemporary social issues.

Each component is equally weighted at both AS and Aims of the Course A level.

Entry requirements

A minimum of Grade B at GCSE Philosophy & Ethics, or a minimum of a B at English

Future opportunities

Universities like students who can reason and think in a mature and balanced way, as does the world of work. Religious Studies: Philosophy and Ethics builds these skills of analysis and debate, critical thinking and mature reflection. These skills will be honed by challenging our thinking at every level.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Heanor Gate Science College directly.

Last updated date: 07 September 2016

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