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Philosophy and Ethics

Is there a God? Do I have a soul? Is it always wrong to kill? Is democracy a good idea? If the big questions in life fascinate you then you may be a natural philosopher.
What is Philosophy and Ethics?

The Philosophy and Ethics course provides an opportunity to address these and many other questions in a reasoned way whilst being introduced to the writing of the great philosophers. You will come across a range of fascinating ideas such as the view that this world is an illusion, the idea that God’s existence can be proved like a mathematical idea and the possibility that moral rules are a matter of opinion.

You will need to enjoy the discussion of ideas and be confident putting across arguments. You will develop critical thinking and communication skills, both oral and written and thus the subject combines well with science subjects as well as the humanities. A qualification in Philosophy is valued greatly by employers.

Philosophy and Ethics is a very challenging A Level that demonstrates to employers and universities that you are a creative and critical thinker. Universities and employers value this qualification and there is evidence that philosophy graduates have higher levels of employment than many other courses.

“Some of those students will go on to apply those skills in an academic setting, but many will find work across a whole range of professions, in law, finance, government, policing, media, teaching, writing and business.” Wayne Martin (University of Essex – quoted in Times Higher 2009)

Progression Routes – What’s in it for me?

The subject can be done in combination with many other subjects at university as well as on its own. Typical combinations include Philosophy and Physics, Philosophy and Psychology, Philosophy and Politics, Philosophy and English, Philosophy and Economics. Philosophers are valued by employers for their analytical skills and enquiring minds. A large number of distinguished civil servants; lawyers, scientists and politicians (including several British Prime Ministers!) studied Philosophy at University.

Assessment

Exams -100%

Awarding Body: AQA

Key Features

BE A 5 YEAR OLD AGAIN – philosophers ask lots of questions, be curious about the world. Be awkward.

ARGUMENT – you will get the chance to discuss and write persuasively. Arguments are the tools of our trade.

THE BIG STUFF – philosophy deals with the biggest questions there are.

Topics you will study

Reason or Experience: are my eyes more reliable than my thoughts?

Do we learn through education or are we born with innate ideas?

How do I know that the world is real and not just in my mind?

Is the existence of God as obvious as the fact that triangles have 3 sides?

The Design Argument: does the order of the world prove God?

Can God exist if evil and suffering are present in the world?

Why be moral? Should I obey moral rules?

How do I decide what is right and wrong?

Is the mind the same as the brain or is it more like a soul?

Do other people have minds?

Is there such a thing as ‘good?’

Zombies: they’re not real but are they possible?

What our students say

“I love the discussions, illustrations and examples, and the teacher arguing a position rather than being neutral all the time.”

“Be open minded. Brace yourself and take it seriously. Write lots of notes.”

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