A level Philosophy AQA
- Week 1: Monday 27 March – Friday 31 March
- Week 2: Monday 3 April – Friday 7 April (including Good Friday)
- Week 3: Monday 10 April – Friday 14 April (including Easter Monday)
Length of Course
5 full-day sessions
This course is board-specific for the AQA A level Philosophy specification (7172) and is for A Level Year 13 students only.
The course will cover:
- 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, issues and responses.
- Perception as a source of knowledge: Direct realism, indirect realism and Berkeley’s idealism.
- 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 scepticism; the role/function of
philosophical scepticism within epistemology; the distinction between local and global skepticism;
Descartes’ sceptical arguments and issues/responses; reliabilism.
- Normative ethical theories: The meaning of good, bad, right, wrong within each of the three
approaches: Utilitarianism, Kantian deontological ethics, Aristotelian virtue ethics.
- 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.
- Applied ethics: Applying 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.
Metaphysics of God
- The concept and nature of ‘God’ God’s attributes: God as omniscient, omnipotent, supremely good
(omnibenevolent), and the meaning(s) of these divine attributes. Competing views on such a being’s
relationship to time, arguments for the incoherence of the concept of God.
- Arguments relating to the existence of God: Ontological arguments, teleological/design arguments,
cosmological arguments and the Problem of Evil.
- Religious language: The distinction between cognitivism and non-cognitivism about religious language,
verification/falsification (Ayer) and responses including eschatological verification and the ‘University
Metaphysics of mind
- What do we mean by ‘mind’? Features of mental states: • All or at least some mental states have
phenomenal properties • Some, but not all, philosophers use the term ‘qualia’ to refer to these
properties, where ‘qualia’ are defined as ‘intrinsic and non-intentional phenomenal properties that are
introspectively accessible’ • All or at least some mental states have intentional properties (ie
- Dualist theories: Substance dualism (Descartes). The ‘philosophical zombies’ argument for property
dualism (David Chalmers). The ‘knowledge/Mary’ argument for property dualism (Frank Jackson).
- Physicalist theories: Behaviourism, Mind-brain type identity theory, Eliminative materialism and
Functionalism. Issues and responses to these theories.
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