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An award winning sixth-form college in the heart of Central London offering a wide range of GCSE and A-Level courses

The quality of the curriculum, teaching and learners' achievements is excellent

T (+44) 20 7409 7273
Albemarle Independent College, 18 Dunraven Street, Mayfair, London W1K 7FE
Albemarle Independent Private College in Central London


A-Level Course Outline

What does the course aim to do?


If you have ever wondered where it all started or what life is all about or whether we are all free, then you have already been doing philosophy. Indeed philosophy is the activity of using rational argument and logical thinking to shine light on life's big questions. By studying philosophy, you will gain a greater understanding of the world we live in and your own self. You will also form a greater appreciation of any of the other subjects you will be studying, be they science subjects such as Physics or Biology or arts subjects such as English or History.

Which topics will you study?

At A-level, you will look at two topics - Metaphysics of God which contemplates the nature and existence of God and Metaphysics of Mind, the intellectual and practical exploration into the true nature of what we call "Mind". This second year builds on the foundations built in the first year in Epistemology; the study of knowledge and justified belief, and Moral Philosophy; the study of moral principles that govern a person's behaviour or the conducting of an activity.

What Skills Will You Develop When Studying Philosophy?

Philosophy will help you develop your ability to construct well-argued, well-informed, balanced and structured written arguments as well as providing you with the necessary skills to examine information in a critical way as well as form judgments based on clear evaluation. In addition, as an essay-based subject, there will be plenty of opportunity for students to develop an ability to provide clear expositions of difficult ideas as well as rigorous and sustained commentary.

Who should study this course?

Philosophy appeals if you have skills in the Arts and/or the Sciences. Philosophy is a popular choice if you wish to impress when it comes to university applications. It also enables you to fine tune your reasoning so that your enhanced intellect can be applied to other careers. Law, politics, the civil service, journalism, advertising, education, medicine are some of the professions where your ability to turn abstract subjects into solid concepts will be highly regarded.

What is the structure of the course?

This course will be taught for 6 hour long lessons per week. Homework will be set on a regular basis. Students will receive both class and revision notes but the reading of textbooks along with classic philosophical texts as an accompaniment is highly recommended.

PHILOSOPHY (AQA) A-Level Specification

Section 1: Epistemology

areas covered

  • What is knowledge
  • The tripartite view
  • Perception as a source of knowledge
  • Reason as a source of knowledge
  • The limits of knowledge

Section 2: Moral philosophy

areas covered

  • Normative ethical theories
  • Utilitarianism, Kantian deontological ethics, Aristotelian virtue ethics
  • Applied Ethics
  • Meta-ethics
  • Moral realism
  • Moral anti-realism

Section 3: Metaphysics of God

areas covered

  • The concept and nature of 'God'
  • Arguments relating to the existence of God
  • Ontological arguments, teleological arguments, cosmological arguments
  • The Problem of Evil
  • Religious Language

Section D: Metaphysics of Mind

areas covered

  • What do we mean by 'mind'?
  • Dualist theories (substance dualism, property dualism)
  • Physicalist theories
  • Mind-brain type identity theory, eliminative materialism
  • Functionalism

How it's assessed:
2 papers

Paper 1:
Written exam: 3 hours
100 marks
50% of A-Level

Section A: Five questions on epistemology
Section B: Five questions on moral philosophy

Paper 2:
Written exam: 3 hours
100 marks
50% of A-Level

Section A: Five questions on metaphysics of God
Section B: Five questions on metaphysics of mind
Available May/June

Core Textbooks
Jeremy Hayward, Gerald Jones, Dan Cardinal, AQA A-level Philosophy Year 2: Metaphysics of God and metaphysics of mind (2018), ISBN-139781510400269

Jeremy Hayward, Gerald Jones, Dan Cardinal AQA A-level Philosophy Year 1 and AS: Epistemology and Moral Philosophy (2017), ISBN: 978-1510400252


Further Reading
Nigel Warburton, Philosophy: The Classics, Routledge, ISBN: 978-0415356299
Rene Descartes, Meditations and Other Metaphysical Writings (Penguin Classics), ISBN: 978-0140447019