Philosophy A level (Linear) at Bennett Memorial Diocesan School
Section 1 Epistemology – We all perceive things every day. We see, touch, taste, hear and smell. However, could we explain in a clear fashion what happens in every instance of perception? This is the first big question of this unit of work. We all believe we know some truths. However, could we explain what it means to know a claim? How does knowing differ from having an opinion or a belief, if at all? This is the second big question of this unit of work. Finally, we all have ideas. However, would we be comfortable explaining where all of our ideas come from? Are ideas only gained through experience? If this is the case where do our ideas of things we have never experienced, nor ever could experience, come from?
Section 2 Moral Philosophy - Many great thinkers have claimed that every person whats to do the morally right action but sometimes, despite our best intention, we find it hard to determine what the morally right action is. The first big question of this section of the course is: does a method exist for establishing what is the best moral action in every situation I could find myself in? Three classic methods are explored. The second big question for this portion of the course is: what does ethical language even mean? We say some actions are right and others wrong but in what way?Are moral actions right or wrong in the same way some art is good and other art not so good?
Section 3 Metaphysics of God - Many millions of people of many different faiths have claimed to believe that God exists. Their beliefs have impacted upon their behaviour, and decisions which believers make affect non-believers lives too. The first big question of this portion of the course is: does the idea of God even make sense? Does the idea of God have internal contradictions? A further big question follows: can God's existence be proved? The course covers three of the classic arguments for the existence of God. The third big question of this section of the course is: how are we to make sense of talk about God? Many people will say things like, 'God is my shield' or 'God looks over me'. However, what sense can be made of these statements, if the person saying them also believes that God is a spiritual being outside of space and time?
Section 4 Metaphysics of Mind - As you have read this hand out you have explored certain thoughts. However, what is a thought? And who is it that does the exploring of your thoughts. Clearly your eyes scanned this page but presumably your eyes alone cannot think. You might say that it is your brain that thinks thoughts. But what is a brain? Isn't a brain made out of exacty the same basic material as an eye? And if this is the case what is it that separates a brain from an eye and allows the former to think where the later cannot? We could sum up all of these questions in one big question: are you just matter (physical stuff) or is there a non-material, mental element to you as well?
Those who are inquisitive, open minded, resilient to challenge, enjoy a good argument, and can produce detailed and cogently-argued essays. There will be opportunity for students to make oral presentations and lead discussions. Above all, you will be required to think! Long-cherished assumptions may be challenged, but you will emerge with a clearer understanding of the world around you.
N.B. Philosophy is not an easy option. It is rigorous and intellectually demanding and not for the faint-hearted.
- APS 5.5+
Section 1 (25%) Epistemology
Section 2 (25%) Moral Philosophy
Section 3 (25%) Metaphysics of God
Section 4 (25%) Metaphysics of Mind
Philosophy is regarded as a ‘hard’ academic subject by all the leading universities in the UK and is highly valued by the Russell Group and Oxbridge. Bennett students who have studied Philosophy in the past have gone on to study for BA degrees in Philosophy or Theology at various universities, including Oxford, Durham, Sussex, Southampton, Cardiff and Leeds. Philosophy can be studied in combination with subjects such as Theology, History and English, among others, or it can be simply taken on its own. A Philosophy degree can open the door to a variety of careers, including law, journalism, teaching, management, local and national government, finance, public relations and so on.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Bennett Memorial Diocesan School directly.