Philosophy A level *Fees Payable* at Rochester Independent College
Exam board: AQA
AS: Philosophy of Religion and Epistemology
In the epistemology section of the course we are investigating the concept of Knowledge. This study is itself broken down into roughly three areas.
- The definition of knowledge: What is knowledge? What is the difference between knowledge and true belief? Philosophers studied: Gettier, Nozick, Goldman, Sosa
- Reason and Experience. What are the limits of our knowledge? Can we gain knowledge of the world by thought alone? Is anything known innately? Philosophers studied- Descartes, Hume, Locke, Leibniz, Plato
- Perception: What is the relationship between our perceptions and the world? Can we know that what we see is an accurate representation of what really exists? Can we know anything exists at all? Philosophers studied: Descartes, Locke, Russell, Berkeley, Hume
In the philosophy of religion section of the course we consider arguments for and against the existence of God, and some of the problems surrounding how we can talk about God
- Arguments for the existence of God: The Ontological Argument, the Cosmological argument, the teleological argument. Philosophers studied: Aquinas, St Anselm, Descartes, Hume, Russell, Malcolm, Plantinga, AlGhazali, William Paley, Richard Swinburne
- Arguments against the existence of God. The problem of Evil, The claim that God is an incoherent or self-contradicting idea, and the claim that religious language is, strictly, meaningless. Philosophers studied: Plantinga, Aquinas, Augustine, Irenaeus, Hick, Wittgenstein, Ayer, Flew, Hare, Mackie.
A2: Ethics and Philosophy of mind
In the ethics section of the course we are concerned with normative, applied, and Meta Ethics
- Normative ethics: What is the right way to behave? And why should I behave this way? Do the ends justify the means, or are some acts always wrong? In answering these questions we focus on Kantian ethics, Virtue Ethics, and Utilitarianism Philosophers studied: Bentham, Mill, Kant, Ross, Aristotle, Macintyre
- Applied Ethics: the above theories applied to various specific ethical issues, such as Crime and Punishment, War, Deception, and Animal rights
- Meta-Ethics: What do terms like right and wrong mean? Specifically, are they objective descriptions of acts, or subjective expressions of emotion? Is morality just a matter of opinion? Philosophers Studied: Ayer, Hare, Plato, Moore, Mackie, Mill, Hume
In the Philosophy of the mind section we are concerned with the nature of the mind, and its relationship to the body. Do we have a soul? Or must the mind be some kind of Non-physical entity? Can an explanation of your mental states be given in terms of brain
chemistry? Can we know that other people have minds?
- Philosophers studied: Descartes, Jackson, Ryle, Wittgenstein, J.J.C. Smart, Plato, Churchland, Chalmers.
Assessment methods: 100% exam
Length of exams. PHIL1- 3hrs, PHIL2- 3hrs
Overlap with other subjects: There is a lot of overlap with other essay based subjects, especially those that require the ability to analyse or argue for a certain position, such as Government and Politics, Sociology, English Literature, Psychology, Film Studies and History. The course also relates, via its subject content, to the sciences. Much of the course, in particular Epistemology and the philosophy of the mind, exist on the crossover between Philosophy and science. The theories we study in epistemology are instrumental in the development of physics and philosophy of mind is, currently, an area in which neuroscientists, psychologists and philosophers all work.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Rochester Independent College directly.