Philosophy AS AQA New Specification

Length of course: 5 half-day sessions
Boards: AQA (7171) only

This course is board-specific for AQA AS Philosophy NEW specification (7171). All topics for both units will be covered with a focus on how to apply the material to the exam format.

This course is suitable for AS students only.


  • What is knowledge? The distinction between acquaintance knowledge, ability knowledge and propositional knowledge; the nature of definition (including Linda Zagzebski) and how propositional knowledge may be analysed/defined; the tripartite view: Propositional knowledge is defined as justified true belief; issues with the tripartite view and responses to these issues.
  • Perception as a source of knowledge: Direct realism, indirect realism and Berkeley's idealism; issues with direct realism, indirect realism and idealism and responses to these issues.
  • Reason as a source of knowledge: Innatism; The intuition and deduction thesis. Empiricist responses to these theories.
  • The limits of knowledge: Particular nature of philosophical skepticism; the role/function of philosophical scepticism within epistemology; the distinction between local and global skepticism; Descartes’ sceptical arguments and issues/responses; reliabilism.

Moral Philosophy

  • Normative ethical theories: The meaning of good, bad, right, wrong within each of the three approaches: Utilitarianism, Kantian deontological ethics, Aristotelian virtue ethics. Issues with these three approaches and responses to these issues.
  • Meta-ethics: The origins of moral principles: reason, emotion/attitudes, or society; the distinction between cognitivism and non-cognitivism about ethical language; moral realism, including naturalism and non-naturalism; moral anti-realism, including error theory, emotivism and prescriptivism. Issues with these approaches and responses to these issues.
  • Applied ethics: Students must be able to apply the content of normative ethical theories and metaethics to the following issues: stealing; simulated killing (within computer games, plays, films etc); eating animals, telling lies.