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St Peter's School

Philosophy

Contact: M Twigge – Head of Faculty – mtwigge@stpeters.cambs.sch.uk

Philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence and at A-level, it comprises four topic areas:

Epistomology, Moral Philosophy, the Metaphysics of God and the Metaphysics of Mind.  

Students are encouraged to analyse philosophical arguments and concepts to form reasoned judgements about a variety of debates surrounding knowledge (how we know things), morality (what is right and wrong), the existence of a God and what we mean by a ‘mind’.

Following the AQA Philosophy specification, Year 12 students begin by studying Epistomology and exploring the nature of knowledge.  This module introduces key concepts of debate such as deductive/inductive arguments and the differences between acquaintance, ability and propositional knowledge.  Plato’s definition of knowledge as justified true belief is built on and challenged before looking in-depth at perception (direct and indirect realism, idealism) and reason (innatism, intuition and deduction).  Philosophers include Locke, Berkeley and Descartes.

The second module looks closely at the meaning of good, bad, right and wrong within 3 normative ethical theories.  Utilitarianism and the greatest happiness is introduced through Bentham and Mill before a study of Kant’s Categorical Imperative.  Aristotelian Virtue Ethics are the final theory we explore before looking at how these theories can be applied to the issues of stealing, simulated killing (movies, video games…), eating animals and telling lies. Year 12 is rounded off by studying Metaethics which delves into the origins of moral principles.

Year 13 begins by debating the existence and nature of ‘God’ through the Ontological, Teleological and Cosmological arguments as laid down by St Anselm, Descartes, Paley, Swinburn, Hume and Kant.  Metaphysics of God is completed by a close look at religious language and discussing the problem with evil.

The last module of the A-level is focussed on the debates surrounding the ‘mind’.  This begins with Dualist Theories about the mind existing independent of the body (Descartes, Chalmers, Jackson); Physicalist Theories that show everything is physical (Ryle, Putnam and Ryle); Functionalism where all mental states can be characterised in terms of functional roles.

The course allows students to work in a variety of ways, promoting active learning through discussion and debate as well as listening to a range of opinions.  Students are encouraged to work both independently and in groups.

 

Structure of the course:

Year 12

  • Paper 1 – Epistomology and Moral Philosophy

Year 13

  • Paper 2 – Metaphysics of God and Metaphysics of Mind

Students receive 4 lessons a week split between two teachers, each focussing on different areas of the specification.

 

Contacts

Mark Twigge - mtwigge@stpeters.cambs.sch.uk

Helen Thatcher – hthatcher@stpeters.cambs.sch.uk

 

Curriculum Map

 

Autumn Term

Spring Term

Summer Term

Year 12

  • Philosophical skills and terms
  • Epistomology (knowledge)
  • Moral Philosophy (Normative and Applied Ethics, Metaethics)

Year 13

  • Metaphysics of God
  • Metaphysics of Mind
  • Revision and exam practice

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