'He thinks too much: such men are dangerous'. Julius Caesar, Act I, scene 2 by William Shakespeare

Exam board: AQA

Who is it for?

Any student who enjoys thinking!

Entry Requirements

In addition to the general entrance requirements, it is preferred that students have GCSE English literature grade 5 and religious studies, if studied (or one other written subject) at grade 4 or better.

Course content

Philosophy is one of the fastest growing subjects in Britain today and yet even the best philosophers find it very difficult to explain what it is. It is something that needs to be experienced to be understood. ‘Philosophy is, literally, the love or pursuit of wisdom. People have engaged in philosophical thought and debate ever since they have been able to think beyond their immediate situation and needs.’ You will study texts from Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century philosophy; you will study Plato, Aristotle, Marx, Mill, Sartre, Hume and Descartes. The great emphasis will be upon the ideas the authors present and how they relate to the ideas of other thinkers, including those of the student. Themes you will consider are:

  • Ethics - How should one act? Does morality exist? Are acts such as abortion or eating meat morally permissible?
  • Epistemology - What is knowledge? How do we know there is a real world 'out there'? How do you know you are not in the matrix? Are we born knowing anything?
  • Metaphysics of Mind - Do we have souls or are we just the sum of the physical activity in our brains?
  • Metaphysics of God - Does God exist? If so, what is God like? Is the notion of God coherent?

Weekly commitment

Five hours per week lesson time plus three hours homework; a written exercise in class every two weeks.


Students will sit one 3 hour exam if they are taking the AS, and two 3 hour exams for the A2.

There are no additional costs.

Career Prospects

Philosophy is acceptable at all universities and is compatible with any career – law, medicine, physics etc, as employers are interested in intelligence and effort. This subject would provide ample evidence of both! It is a first tier A level recommended by Cambridge Trinity and many of the Russell Group universities.

Further information contact:

Mrs O Thatcher or Mr Bennett