The course will develop your ability to explore difficult concepts in a rational manner and is available to anyone who wants to explore some of the ‘big questions’ in life – can we trust the information we gain from our senses? Is belief in the soul and li fe after death rational? Do you have to be religious to do the right thing? Should everyone have the right to die? Philosophers have been debating exactly these issues for millennia, and if you would like to join the ongoing search for the answers to these questions, this might just be the A level for you.
In Year 12, you will begin with a foundation of Ancient - Greek thought, starting with Plato and Aristotle. This will then enable you to access arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil and the debate on dualism, in a coherent and logical manner. We will explore and debate the problem with words used to describe God, for example “He” and the “Word” as well as the way language is used to personify or objectify God. We will debate whether Hume was correct in stating that miracles are a violation of natural law, for example. In Year 13, you will explore the complex issues behind religious language and the nature of God in Philosophy, as well as meta - ethics (the language of et hics), views on the conscience, and applying ethical theories to issues in sexual ethics. In both years, students will explore Christian philosophy and ethics, such as the views of Augustine, and the impact of pluralism, gender and secularism on Christia n thought and practice.
It is not necessary that you have studied RS at GCSE, and neither must you have any particular religious leaning. If you have an interest in asking questions about the existence of God, in human existence, in ethics and values; if you have an interest in religion in general or if you wish to follow a philosophical and ethical approach to study then this course will provide you wi th the opportunity to study those areas of interest. To take the course, it is strongly recommended to have achieved GCSEs at grade 5 or higher in English Language, as well as grade 5 or above in Mathematics, and if taken a grade 5 or above in Religious s tudies. What is absolutely required though is that you have an inquisitive nature – that you love asking questions and always push for answers. Without this desire to know, or to find out, the course will fail to engage you.