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Exmouth Community College

Exmouth Community CollegeAcademy Trust


Philosophy at A-Level (Level 3) - through AQA.

Entry Requirements - Standard College entry requirements apply.

•Do you like thinking puzzles and lateral thinking?

•Do you like discussion?

•Do you like thinking about the complexity of the world?

•Do you like to question everything?

The A-level Philosophy qualification is designed to give you a thorough grounding in the key concepts and methods of philosophy:

  • You have the opportunity to engage with big questions in a purely secular context.
  • You will develop important skills that you need for progression to higher education.
  • You’ll learn to be clear and precise in your thinking and writing.
  • You will engage with complex texts, analysing and evaluating the arguments of others and constructing and defending your own arguments.

This course will provide students with an opportunity to ask and consider all of the 'big questions' that people often wonder about. The course has four key elements:

  • Epistemology - the epistemology module covers what the definition of knowledge is, as well as how much knowledge comes from perception and how much from reason. It also covers the idea of scepticism.
  • Moral Philosophy - moral philosophy is often referred to as ethics. It’s about right and wrong, good and bad. This module covers ethical theories, applications of these theories, and the meaning of moral language.
  • Metaphysics of God - this module covers the concept of God as typically conceived by the three main monotheistic religions. It covers whether such a concept is possible as well as arguments for and against the existence of God.
  • Metaphysics of Mind - philosophy of mind looks at what minds and mental states actually are. This module covers various theories which say the mind is a physical thing and others which argue it is non-physical.

Philosophy A Level is assessed by two 3 hour exams at the end of year 13.

AQA | A-level | Philosophy | Specification at a glance

Where does this lead?

ANSWER – just about anywhere you want!

The skills learned in Philosophy include clear and analytical thinking, persuasive writing and speaking, innovative questioning and effective reasoning. These skills are highly sought after and are transferable to a range of careers, such as teaching, PR, communications, publishing, HR, advertising and many more.

All major universities (including Russell Group) offer Philosophy as a full degree. It is also often combined with other subjects - the most obvious being PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics), but also Languages, Classics, History, English, Physics, Theology and so on. This is indicative of the subject's versatility and relevance in all areas of life.

Philosophy is one of the oldest, most respected subjects you can study. In recent years, we have had students go off to study Philosophy in London and PPE at Oxford.

Many current writers, teachers, lawyers, politicians studied Philosophy until at least degree level. For example:

  • Ricky Gervais - comedian and actor (studied Philosophy at UCL)
  • David Cameron - politician (studied Philosophy, Politics, Economics at Oxford)
  • Reid Hoffman – founder of LinkedIn (studied Philosophy at Oxford)
  • Iris Murdoch - novelist (studied Philosophy at Cambridge)
  • Rashida Jones - actress (studied Philosophy Comparative Religions at Harvard)
  • Peter Thiel – cofounder of PayPal (studied Philosophy at Stanford)

What do our students say about the Philosophy A Level?

"I think philosophy is great!  It hurts your brain at times and really makes you think, but it is worth it because it gives you a new perspective of life! Grace

"Philosophy is a great subject to take for A level if you like thinking outside the box and debating.  The teachers want what's best for you and explain it passionately, which makes the subject so intriguing" Tehya