Philosophy and Ethics A-Level
Why Study Philosophy and Ethics
The primary aim is to develop an interest in and enthusiasm for a rigorous study of Philosophy, Ethics and Religion. Students will develop knowledge, understanding and skills and adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach appropriate to the specialist study of Philosophy, Ethics and Religion. There will be many opportunities to debate current moral issues whilst developing personal values, opinions and attitudes.
Philosophy and Ethics is one of the fastest growing A Level subjects. This is partly because it is compatible with, and has a similar skills base to subjects such as English, History, Sociology, Philosophy and Government and Politics. It is also a good partner course for Archaeology, Classical Civilisation and History of Art.
First Year Course Content
The course is divided into three sections:
We begin by travelling back to Ancient Greece to look at where Western Philosophy began. The ideas found in the works of Plato and Aristotle underpin most other areas of study. We will investigate the use of evidence and reason in proving existence, we will theorize about what happens in the afterlife, we evaluate the validity of religious experience
In this unit we will investigate different systems of determining which, if any, is the right course of action to take in any given situation. Utilitarianism, Situation Ethics, Kantian Ethics and Natural Law will all be applied to the controversial issues of Euthanasia and Business Ethics e.g. Capitalism, Consumerism and Globalisation.
Developments in Christian Thought
This unit allows us to trace an idea back to it’s origins and examine how it has been changed to suit cultural, political and religious gain. Major areas include ‘What is a person’?’, ‘Was Jesus a political revolutionary?’ and ‘Is it ever acceptable to stand up to unjust or corrupt governments?’
Second Year Course Content
We take what we have learned in the first year and apply that thinking to the topics of ‘Defining God’, ‘Conscience’ , ‘The use of religious language’ and ‘Developments in 20th Century philosophical thinking.’
In this unit Philosophy and Ethics combine to delve deeper into complex real life situations. Sexual Ethics provides for some interesting challenges and debates. Conscience and Meta-Ethics will make your brain hurt, but stick with it and you will begin to think in a whole new way.
Developments in Christian Thought
This unit takes on a thoroughly modern outlook on society dealing with issues such as Feminism, Pluralism, Secularisation, Gender Issues and Marxism.
Future careers linked to this subject:
- Journalism – in today’s world, people face moral and ethical dilemmas. Philosophy and Ethics will give you a grounding in how different people think and why people react to situations in different ways.
- Law – your clients will come from many different backgrounds. Philosophy and Ethics will help you develop fantastic debating skills.
- Social work - so you can understand all the families and people that you will work with and show empathy with their situation.
- Teaching — so that you can understand your pupils who may come from many different backgrounds!
- Business – if you work in the business world you may have to travel the world or work within a city where you will meet people from many different faiths, Philosophy and Ethics will help you understand them and avoid offending people!
Grade 6 in any GCSE English or RE course.
Desirable but not necessary to have studied GCSE RE.
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