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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


AS 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 AS, you will look at two major topics: Epistemology and Moral Philosophy. Epistemology concerns the study of the nature and scope of knowledge and justified belief, and Moral Philosophy is the branch of philosophy that contemplates what is right and wrong; it explores the nature of morality itself and examines how people should live. This first year will provide an introduction to philosophy and will enable you to begin the task of considering such subjects in a provocative and enlightening way.

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) AS Specification

Section A: 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

The question paper consists of five questions on this section.
Worth 40 marks. Candidates must answer all questions.

Section B: Moral philosophy
areas covered:

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

The question paper consists of five questions on this section. Worth 40 marks. Candidates must answer all questions.

How it's assessed:
Written exam: 3 hours
80 marks
100% of AS
Section A: Five questions on epistemology
Section B: Five questions on moral philosophy

Available May/June

Introductory Reading
Nigel Warburton, Philosophy: The Classics, Routledge, ISBN: 978-0415356299
Simon Blackburn, Think, OUP, ISBN: 978-0192854254
Julian Baggini The Pig That Wants to be Eaten, Granta Books, ISBN: 978-1847081285

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


Further Reading
Nigel Warburton, Philosophy: The Classics, Routledge, ISBN: 978-04153562