Year 11 Philosophy and Ethics Bridging Work
“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. The lessons were always made extremely interactive by my teachers. This allowed all of us in the class to be comfortable with each other, and I definitely made a lot of friends at the start of Year 12 through this class in particular. If I had the chance to do things differently, I’d definitely make sure to keep all of my notes thoroughly organised as soon as I started the year. It was a bit more challenging to do this later once we had already learnt lots of content. It would also be useful to note down different sides of an argument whilst having debates as these are really useful to revise and bring up in an essay.” (Lucy)
This bridging work will establish two crucial foundations for the A-Level Philosophy (Religious Studies) course;
(a) Relativist and Absolute Morality
- Read the two papers on Relative and Absolute Morality.
- Outline the meaning of each term. Use examples from applied ethics to illustrate these definitions, e.g. in what ways might a moral relativist deal with abortion? Or euthanasia, suicide, genetic engineering, lying, stealing, murder, war… . How would a moral absolutist differ in their solution to the same moral dilemma? This Powerpoint may help you in this task.
- In no more than 500 words for each, summarise the content of the Relative and Absolute Morality papers above by answering both of these questions:
- “Why might someone agree with Relative Morality?”
- “Why might someone disagree with Absolute Morality?”
- Create a glossary of all the words in bold in the two articles. This might be in the form of bullet points or a mindmap. You will need to research many of them beyond their reference in these articles. Ensure the definition you outline puts the term in a philosophical context, i.e. the term ‘relative’ could mean ‘family member’ in the context of households. Not so here.
- Finally, add a paragraph or more on whether you think you are more of a Relativist or more of an Absolutist. Refer to examples from one or more areas of applied/practical ethics to illustrate your points. Make sure you give your reasons.
(b) The Allegory of the Cave
Watch the following Ted Talk video on Plato’s famous Allegory of the Cave. Then, in your own words:
- Outline Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.
- Explain what you think Plato was trying to communicate through his Allegory of the Cave.
- Evaluate how successful you consider Plato’s Allegory of the Cave to be.