A Level Philosophy
The philosophy specification asks these questions:
  • What can we know?
  • Can the existence of God be proved?
  • How do we make moral decisions?
  • Are my mind and body separate?

These questions are fundamental and the material covered in the specification not only provides students with a good understanding of how these debates have, so far, been framed, but also acts as a springboard for consideration and discussion of students’ own ideas.

Why study this subject at A-Level?

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics have been taught for millennia and have a strong academic background. The course will have covered a wide range of current issues.

There are no standard answers for many of these, and each person must think them through for themselves. The skills of reasoning and the appreciation of the breadth of opinion are relevant to many jobs and areas of further study.

The course lends itself well to journalism, teaching, law, and much more. Those wishing to pursue a career in medicine also find the medical ethics sections useful and advantageous.

Those with an enquiring mind into the fundamental questions and issues that are raised should find the approaches of ethics, religion and philosophy a fascinating and taxing combination.

Summary of the course

A-level philosophy comprises four topic areas: Epistemology, Moral philosophy, the Metaphysics of God and the Metaphysics of mind.

  • Perception: What are the immediate objects of perception?
  • The definition of knowledge: What is propositional knowledge?
  • The origin of concepts and the nature of knowledge: where do ideas/concepts and knowledge come from?
  • The concept of God: The existence of God.
  • The concept of God: God as omniscient, omnipotent, supremely good, and either timeless (eternal) or within time (everlasting) and the meaning(s) of these divine attributes.
  • The mind–body problem: What is the relationship between the mental and the physical?
  • Ethical theories: How do we decide what it is morally right to do?
  • Ethical language: What is the status of ethical language?

You not just develop your knowledge and understanding of the content but also develop the use of philosophical analysis (conceptual analysis and argument analysis). You will become skilled in analysis and evaluation of philosophical arguments within the subject to form reasoned judgements. Contained within each topic is a list of texts. You will learn to demonstrate an understanding of, and the ability to make a reasoned evaluation of, the arguments set out in those texts. You will also demonstrate understanding of and be able to use philosophical terminology correctly and become skilled the generation of reasoned arguments.

 

How is the qualification assessed?

Paper 1: Epistemology and moral philosophy

What’s assessed: Sections 1 and 2 How it’s assessed • Written exam: 3 hours • 100 marks • 50% of A-level Questions • Section A: Five questions on epistemology • Section B: Five questions on moral philosophy.

Paper 2: The metaphysics of God and the metaphysics of mind

What’s assessed: Sections 3 and 4 How it’s assessed • Written exam: 3 hours • 100 marks • 50% of A-level Questions • Section A: Five questions on the metaphysics of God • Section B: Five questions on the metaphysics of mind.

philosophy a level

Entry Requirements

Applicants will ideally require at least a Grade B in GCSE Religious Studies. If you do not achieve this grade or if you haven’t studied RS at GCSE, then you will need to convince the Faculty Leader or equivalent teacher of your suitability for the course.

2017 Specification

AQA Philosophy 7172

Component 1 (50%)

3 Hours

Component 2 (50%)

3 Hours

philosophy a level