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Philosophy involves attempting to answer the fundamental questions in life, such as why we are here, how we got here, how we should live, etc.

Philosophers think critically, asking questions about the nature of truth and knowledge and see ways to establish such things as whether or not there is a God, whether there is life after death, or what makes one action right and another wrong.

Mr Oldfield
Head of Philosophy
soldfield@ng6.unity-ed.uk

“I am extremely pleased that I chose to study Philosophy as one of my A Levels. The lessons are so enjoyable and the content is extremely interesting. I decided to choose Philosophy as I enjoyed Religious Studies at GCSE, especially in terms of having debates and finding out about different perspectives – A Level Philosophy really allows you to do this. When approaching a subject we always have class discussions and learn lots about different views, both for and against the topic at hand. Having these debates throughout Year 12 was definitely the highlight of our lessons – it was so interesting to hear different class members’ views on a subject and add to them or challenge them. The content is also very interesting with some topics studied being especially relevant in the media which made them more engaging when learning about them in class.” (Lucy)

The Course
Philosophy involves attempting to answer the fundamental questions in life, such as why we are here, how we got here, how we should live, etc. Philosophers think critically, asking questions about the nature of truth and knowledge and see ways to establish such things as whether or not there is a God, whether there is life after death, or what makes one action right and another wrong.

R.S. Philosophy and Ethics is an excellent subject to study alongside science subjects such as Psychology, Biology and Physics as well as humanities subjects like Law and Sociology. While it helps you to develop skills of analysis, evaluation and literacy, it also encourages critical thinking. This makes it an excellent subject when applying to university and people with an A Level in R.S. have gone on to study a wide range of subjects – law, medicine, politics, teaching, nursing, social work and business, to name but a few.

R.S. Philosophy and Ethics has been successfully taught for many years with students going on to study at some of the top universities in the country. This is a reflection of the quality of teaching, our encouragement of students’ wider reading and the recognition that Religious Studies carries significant weight as a traditional academic subject. The only reason it is not considered a ‘facilitating’ subject is because it is not taken by enough students; thus it isn’t actually required at A Level to study it at degree level. It is, however, taught at all of the top UK universities.

We follow the OCR specification for Religious Studies which offers three units: Philosophy of Religion; Religious Ethics; and Developments in Religious Thought. This course offers an excellent introduction to philosophy and its more practical branch, ethics, as well as exploring the relationship between belief and the implications of belief.

In Philosophy of Religion you will study ancient philosophical influences; the nature of the soul, mind and body; arguments about the existence or non-existence of God; the nature and impact of religious experience; the challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil; ideas about the nature of God; and issues in religious language.

In Religious Ethics you will look first at absolutist and relativist ethical theories and religious ethics before addressing applied ethics, i.e. ethical theory as applied to euthanasia and business ethics. In addition, you will study ethical language and thought, debates surrounding the significant idea of ‘conscience’ as well as sexual ethics and the influence on ethical thought of developments in religious beliefs.

In Developments of Religious Thought you will investigate the ideas of ‘original sin’ and ‘God’s grace’ in addition to religious ideas about death and the afterlife and the difference between natural and revealed ‘knowledge’ of God. You will also investigate the life, teaching and example of one influential religious leader and different sources of religious moral principles. Finally, you will learn about religious pluralism and its implications.

Assessment
This will consist of three essay based examinations at the end of the second year, each lasting 2 hours.

Entry Requirements
Minimum 65444 including 6 in RE (if taken) and Level 5 in English Language or Literature GCSE.

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