PHILOSOPHY AND ETHICS
Examining Board: OCR Head of Department: Mr M Platt
Philosophy and Ethics is exponentially one of the fasting growing A level courses in the UK. This is due to the disciplines that are learned and recognised by many Higher Education institutions, including Medical College, the most acclaimed Universities and employers. This course is for those who enjoy abstract thought and intellectual reasoning. It involves serious thinking of a reflective and critical nature about questions asked by almost every human being at some point in their lives. These questions have to do with the meaning and purpose of life, how we define truth and respond to ultimate questions. To embark on such a course is to ‘do philosophy’. You do not have to be religious to do this course, but do need to be able to accept that some questions can be answered from more than one view point. The Advanced GCE will develop the candidate’s skills of research, interpretation, critical thinking, reasoning, analysis and debate.
This course is essential for anyone with a conscience about the future which is influenced by the past. This course discusses the morality of issues that are at the core of many modern debates both in the UK and around the world.
The course is essay based and consists of three modules that are assessed purely by examination:
Module 1: H573/01 Philosophy of Religion - students will be assessed by their knowledge of the Ancient Greek philosophers; the Judaeo Christian influences on Religious Philosophy. Students will engage in the debate that surrounds the mind/body problem and assess arguments for and against the belief in life after death. The course develops students’ knowledge and understanding of the philosophical arguments for the existence of God, the challenges to religious belief, including the problem of evil and suffering, and philosophical debates from psychological and sociological perspectives. It arms candidates with the necessary tools to discuss critically traditional views on religious belief as well as the status of religious and philosophical debate in the 21st Century.
Module 2: H573/02 Religion and Ethics - studies the ethical theories of Absolute and Relativist morality. Candidates will develop a knowledge and understanding of Natural Law, Kantian Ethics, Utilitarianism, including the classical forms from Bentham and Mill. Students will also critique of the links between religion and morality, ethical theories including Meta Ethics, the Nature and Role of Conscience, Virtue Ethics. They will learn how we may apply these ethical theories to complex issues such as sex and sexuality in the 21st Century , this includes the application and different approaches to sexual ethics, extramarital sex, contraception and homosexuality. Students will also engage in the debate surrounding Euthanasia and the right to die. It is for this reason that the study of Philosophy and Ethics is valued by the medical profession.
Module 3: H573/03 Developments in Christian Thought – this module develops students’ ability to systematically study religious thought both ancient and modern. Students will engage in debates that have shaped Christianity and Christian practice throughout the centuries and continue to challenge Christians and Christian thinkers today. Students will have the opportunity to study and critique Christian responses to the questions of human nature, the self, immortality and the possibility of divine revelation. Students will critique the nature of the Bible and assess modern approaches to Bible study. Students will also be assessing the depiction of Jesus in different cultural and denominational communities and the development of the theology surrounding the status of Jesus. The module also allows students to engage in the most challenging and flourishing debates in modern British society. Students will critique the role Christianity plays in modern British life, the rise of secularism and pluralism within British life, the changing gender roles both within the Church and in wider society.
Philosophy and Ethics
Entry Criteria: GCSE grade 5 in English (Language or Literature)
Plus: GCSE grade 5 in Mathematics
Along with the art of debate, it develops "essay-based" skills which will enhance a wide range of other subjects. With this course you could go on to higher education and university. R.S. Philosophy and Ethics will compliment many other courses including English, History, Geography, Sociology, Psychology, Science, Medicine, Law and Politics
The skills developed would be particularly useful for careers in law, education, social work, politics, medicine, administration or the media. It is taught with a variety of media which includes film, radio, newspapers and topical debating programmes that compliment a thorough knowledge of the recommended reading text.