Philosophy and Ethics


Examining board: OCR

Philosophy and Ethics is a tradition in which people have tried to make sense of the world through the use of their reason, rather than through experimentation or through asking another authority for answers. It involves questioning the concepts we use to understand the world, and asking ourselves what we really mean when we use particular words or ideas. It also includes the consideration of whether it makes sense to hold particular beliefs and opinions, analysing the reasoning behind them and asking whether they are coherent.

Course Content and Assessment

The course followed is designed to develop an interest and enthusiasm for a rigorous study of Religious Philosophy and Religious Ethics. The study of the philosophy of religion develops an inquiring mind and the ability to analyse a point of view and develop a reasoned argument, and the ability to reach a logical and justified conclusion. The study of religious ethics develops an understanding of the bases of morality and ethics and consider a variety of responses to ethical issues.

AS Philosophy (50% of AS)           AS Ethics (50% of AS)

•             The influences of Plato and Aristotle on religious philosophy.

•             The Judeo-Christian influences on religious philosophy.

•             Traditional arguments for the existence of God

•             The problem of evil

•             The challenges of psychology and sociology on religious belief.

•             1½ hours written paper, 2 essay questions         

•             Kant and the Categorical Imperative

•             Utilitarianism

•             Concepts of absolute and relative morality.

•             Medical ethics :

abortion, euthanasia, IVF

•             Religious responses to ethical theories.

•             1½ hours written paper, 2 essay questions

A2 Philosophy of Religion 2 (15% A2 marks)         A2 Religious Ethics 2 (15% A2 marks

•             Distinction between body and soul

•             Views on life after death.

•             Different forms of religious experience.

•             Miracles and the problem of evil.

•             Revelation through sacred texts.

•             Religious language, the use of symbolism, analogy and myth.

•             1½ hours , 2 essay questions      •             Free will and Determinism

•             The nature and role of the conscience.

•             Practical ethics :

    environment, sex, war, peace

    and justice.

•             Relationship between religious and ethical language.

•             1½ hours, 2 essay questions


Why study Philosophy and Ethics?

 Some of the skills that studying philosophy and ethics can teach you are:

a) understanding the relations between ideas

b) the ability to argue and spot flaws in arguments

c) imagination: coming up with novel solutions and novel ideas

d) communication and conversation: philosophy is done through discussion and debate

Taking all these ideas together - thinking independently about deep questions but without resorting to what you already believe – philosophy and ethics can help you to understand yourself. Pupils will be given the opportunity to develop their communication and analytical skills, their critical thinking and reasoning skills, while at the same time discovering what they perceive as truth and the importance of religious belief and service in the 21st Century. The RS Department is, therefore, committed to motivating and challenging all students. We endeavour to equip the students with the knowledge, understanding and skills they need for further studies, University, future employment and indeed life, itself.

Careers and Philosophy and Ethics    People who study Philosophy and Ethics can link it to many other subjects and go into the following areas of work: Law, Politics, Journalism and the Media, Religious and Charitable Ministry, Education and Social Services.


Mrs A. Bradley BA (Hons)

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