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Religious Education: Philosophy and Ethics A Level at Harris Academy Peckham

Course description


Philosophy: Students start off studying the ancient Greek philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. Exploring the nature of truth, reality cause and effect. Here they explore how we come to know anything at all and what presumptions we make when we consider something to be true or false.
Following this they study Judeo-Christian philosophy, exploring what is meant as God as a creator making something out of nothing (ex-nihilo) and whether moral actions are deemed ‘good’ as a result of God’s commands or the goodness of actions themselves. Following this students explore and critique Arguments for God’s existence including the Ontological and Cosmological argument. Finally they study challenges to the existence of God, such as scientific challenges to religious belief and the problem of evil existing alongside the proposed existence of an all-loving and all-powerful God.

Ethics: In Ethics students explore absolutist and relativist ethical theories and apply them to important issues. Theories studied include Kantian Ethics, Utilitarianism and Natural Law. Topics studied include Abortion and right to a child, Euthanasia, War and Peace and Genetic Engineering.


Philosophy: At A2 students explore the possibility of religious language and whether anyone can say anything of meaning about the transcendent. They also explore the concepts of “God” and “Miracles” (What do people mean when they use these terms?). As well as this they explore the possibility and logic of life after death, including the relationship between the body and soul.

Ethics: The Ethics course explore the possibility of free will in a causally determined world. Students study Meta-ethics; the question of how to define “good”. Students explore the nature and role of conscience in people’s lives and society. Students also study Aristotle’s virtue ethics and applied ethics in regards to the environment, sexuality and business.


2 One and a half hour papers at AS
2 One and a half hour papers at A2
These papers contain essay questions

Future opportunities

Below are some examples of how religion and philosophy will enhance your applications for university and careers. If your ideal subject is not on this list let me know and I will be happy to suggest some ideas.

Key Skills: Analysis, Communication, Extended writing, Leadership, Empathy, Logic, Justification.

Medicine/Biology/Chemistry: Subject Content; Understanding how to approach important medical ethical issues that will come up throughout your career, alongside developing the methods required to handle difficult decisions that require logical and abstract thinking. Logical thinking: This demonstrates a capacity to use logic to understand new and complex chemistry and biology. Extended writing: If you are doing other science subjects, this A Level shows that you can also write an extended essay with clarity and efficiency, a skill that the medical degrees greatly require. Empathy; R+P shows a capacity to handle different people and appreciate their views in challenging and stressful times.

Law: Justification; R+P shows that you can seek a plethora of sources to justify an argument with aplomb, the central skill to a high quality Lawyer. Extended writing; Law requires a huge amount of writing, being able to write an extended argument with reference to technical and abstract concepts is an essential skill that you will develop through this course. Subject knowledge; Our laws are based on the ethical theories that you will be studying over this course, having a grasp of this now will put you at an advantage when you take on the degree.

English/Philosophy/Media/Journalism: Your extended writing skills are enhanced through this course, however you also show that you have the logical and analytic skills necessary to bring clarity to your work. Subject Knowledge; The ideas you are studying are the fundamental principles that have shaped our culture and the way that people think, this course will allow you to contextualise texts and media, which is a core skill to attaining a 2.1 or 1st degree.

History/Geography/Psychology/Politics/Sociology: Subject Knowledge; as mentioned the ideas you are studying are the fundamental principles that have shaped our culture and the way that people think. This means that when you look at any social science or humanities subject you will become able to contextualise information in a manner that students not taking R+P, will be unable to do. Alongside this you are enhancing your capacity to analyse and justify arguments, better preparing you for the academic rigour of such courses.

Physics, Engineering, Computer sciences and Maths: Logic and extended writing are the key here, as well as the extra character that religion and philosophy will show you to have. Through R+P you will show that you are excellent at extended writing. All these subjects at university require extended writing skills, and you will not have the opportunity to develop such skills to the required level in the more mathematically based subjects alone at A Level. So R+P compliment such career paths perfectly as they show that you can write with clarity and detail on topics that are typically very difficult to write about. Alongside this the capacity to translate conceptual information (e.g.: Evil and Love) into logical formulae will demonstrate good coding, engineering and programming skills. 

The arts (Drama, Art, Theatre studies):  Creative industries need to connect to people, understanding different views through philosophy and ethics makes this empathising possible. Beyond this the topics that you will study are the creative inspiration for many of the greatest plays, productions and art in our past and modern era. Beyond this you will gain an understanding of Aesthetics, the study of what makes “beauty”, and the ideas that underpin this discussion.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Harris Academy Peckham directly.

Last updated date: 05 April 2017
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