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Luton Sixth Form

Philosophy (A Level)

Why study Philosophy?

A philosopher asks deceptively simple questions which never seem to have simple answers. There isn’t much you can assume or take for granted in philosophical debate. Philosophers engage with the most challenging and important questions
that face humanity. If you like dealing with head spinning concepts like eternity, good and evil and consciousness then philosophy is right up your street! ‘Many people would sooner die than think. In fact, they do.’ – Bertrand Russell.

Entry Requirements

In addition to our general entry requirements, you must have:

  • GCSE English – grade 4
  • GCSE Maths – grade 4

The Course

Epistemology (theory of knowledge): What is truth? What is knowledge? How are truth and knowledge related to appearance and reality? What are the limits of knowledge? How can we be sure that the world even exists?
Ethics: What does it mean to be a good person? How best can we resolves issues around moral problems? Are things such as abortion, euthanasia and war ever justified? What do we mean when we use the term ‘good’ in relation to behaviour?
Philosophy of Mind: What is the mind? Is the mind the same thing as the brain? How can we explain consciousness? If the mind and brain are separate how do they interact? Do computers have minds? Is AI truly conscious?
Philosophy of Religion: What is God? Can God be said to exist? Is religious belief a matter of truth or value?

Course Activities

To really do philosophy properly you have to debate and discuss, and lessons are primarily based on this. Students engage in the process of Socratic questioning, constantly challenging each other to justify their positions. It is fun, engaging, and somewhat infuriating at times! If you love to debate, you will love philosophy. We also have a trip abroad in the second year. This has previously included Rome, Athens, and Florence. We recommend that you devote 4.5 hours of private study time per week to this subject.

Career and Progression Opportunities

Philosophy is seen as a high quality academic subject. Philosophy graduates are highly sought after by employers and traditionally have had a wide range of career paths such as public administration, recruitment, the civil service, politics, law, and education. Today many new areas are opening up where your ability to think clearly, imaginatively and constructively is valued, such as management consultancy, computer software design and bioethics. Philosophy will broaden your horizons and open up many new opportunities.

Course Structure and Assessment

This is a two-year course. There are two examinations which will both take place at the end of the second year.

Component title and content Assessment

Year 1
Unit 1:

  • Epistemology.
  • Ethics.
  • Three-hour written examination (100 marks).
  • Mixture of short answer and essay
  • 50% of A Level.

Year 2
Unit 2:

  • Philosophy of Religion.
  • Philosophy of Mind.
  • Three-hour written examination (100 marks).
  • Mixture of short answer and essay questions.
  • 50% of A Level.

Additional Information

Examination Board: AQA


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