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Course Name: Philosophy
Exam Board: AQA

Course Specification

What will you study?

This is a brand new A-level at Orleans Park. The Philosophy A-level comprises four topic areas: Epistemology, Moral philosophy, the Metaphysics of God and the Metaphysics of mind. In the first year, you will be introduced to philosophical reasoning and argument and how to assess whether an argument is successful or not. You will explore how reason and experience contribute to our knowledge of the world and what our perceptions can tell us about the nature of reality and whether we can be said to be born with any knowledge. Further, you will study Moral Philosophy which involves asking what makes an action right or wrong, what constitutes a good or bad person and whether lying, stealing, eating animals or enjoying simulated killing in video games are immoral. 

In the second year you will deepen your expertise in and understanding of Philosophy by studying philosophical questions about the nature of God and whether God’s existence is compatible with evil in the world and how human freedom can be reconciled with an all-powerful creator. You will also study the Philosophy of Mind which investigates the nature of consciousness and whether our minds can be reduced to aspects of our physical bodies or whether they are the kind of things that cannot be subject to scientific explanation. This course introduces updated content to ensure that the work of women philosophers is represented. 


Moral Philosophy

Metaphysics of God

Metaphysics of Mind

The tripartite view

Perception as a source of knowledge

Direct realism and Indirect realism

Berkeley's Idealism

Reason as a source of knowledge Innatism

The intuition and deduction thesis

Empiricist responses

The limits of knowledge

Normative ethical theories


Kantian deontological ethics

Aristotelian virtue ethics

Applied Ethics

  • stealing
  • simulated killing (within computer games, plays, films etc)
  • eating animals
  • telling lies


Moral realism and anti-realism

The concept and nature of 'God'

Arguments relating to the existence of God

Ontological arguments

Teleological/design arguments

Cosmological arguments

The Problem of Evil

Religious language

What do we mean by ‘mind’?

Dualist theories

Property dualism

Issues facing dualism

Physicalist theories

Mind-brain type identity theory

Eliminative materialism


What skills will you develop?

Philosophy qualifications are designed to give you a thorough grounding in the key concepts and methods of philosophy. You will develop important skills that they need for progression to higher education. You will have the opportunity to engage with big questions in a purely secular context. You will learn the skill of identifing, spotting and explaining flaws in philosophical theories and arguments, and you will also be enabled to construct and develop your own arguments in support of, or against, a variety of philosophical positions. You need good written skills and will develop these further in the context of producing essays on philosophical questions.

How will you be assessed?

The course is assessed by two written examinations at the end of the second year. The two exams are both three hours long and are a mixture of short comprehension and longer evaluative essays.