Philosophy A Level

Board: AQA
Syllabus: A Level (7172)

About the subject

There are two main reasons people study philosophy. The first is simple curiosity. If the following questions, covered on the course, capture your interest then the subject could be for you:- How should we live our lives? Are we all just plugged into the Matrix? Could you have been born a cockroach? Are mind and body distinct? Are people ever really free? Is there a God? Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Why should we obey the law? Is capital punishment immoral? Do trees have rights? How can moral disagreements be rationally settled? What is truth? The second main reason people study philosophy is that many of the skills and abilities that are learned in philosophy are transferable, not just to other academic disciplines, but to other endeavours as well. This is partly because philosophy touches on so many other subjects, and partly because its methods are widely applicable to other areas of intellectual accomplishment. Communication skills, critical reasoning skills, and general problem-solving skills are all enhanced by work in philosophy. In addition, philosophy helps students develop sound methods of research and analysis.

Learning styles

Debate and discussion in either small or large groups and as a class will form part of every lesson. Written work also forms an important part of the learning process in the subject, through note taking, responses to short questions and timed essay writing – both in class and through regular homework. Students will also work on and deliver short presentations and take part in independent and group research. Videos and use of IT will also feature prominently on the course.

Subject Combinations and Progression

Philosophy combines well with any program of study and it is as common to find students studying Arts based A-levels enjoying and benefitting from the subject as it is to find students studying maths, sciences and humanities doing the same. Also many students find it an ideal balancing or complementing A-level as something different to go alongside the rest of their subjects if the other subjects are focused in one area.

An A-level in Philosophy is a good qualification for anyone going on to higher education

Subject Modules and Assessment

A level first year

Section A: – Epistemology. How do we gain knowledge and ideas? What knowledge can we have? How do we perceive things around us? What is knowledge?

Written exam (25% A Level)

Section B: – Ethics. How do we decide what is right to do? What makes something right or wrong?

Written exam (Assessment 25% A Level)

A Level second year

Section A : – Philosophy of Religion:  Can we prove God exists, or that he doesn’t exist? What separates believers and non-believers?

Written exam (25% A Level)

Section B: – Philosophy Of Mind. What is the relationship between the mental and the physical? Can we ever know someone else’s mind?
Written exam (25% A Level)

Entry requirements

Grade 4 in English Language, Grade 6 in Mathematics