how should we live?

Philosophers are interested in questions such as: how should we live? Can we really know the nature of reality? Does God exist? Are you a physical thing or do you have a soul? If you enjoy debating such questions, then you will enjoy philosophy.

Philosophy

Students at Westminster Tutors have ample opportunity to delve deeply into all the philosophical arguments and ideas they encounter, to develop their knowledge and their own independent thoughts. There can often be lively discussions between students and tutors, and lessons can turn out to be quite unpredictable!


Specification

Although we offer all exam boards as our courses are individually designed, our chosen specification is AQA Philosophy (7171 and 7172).


Course Outline



Epistemology

What is knowledge?
  • The tripartite view
Perception as a source of knowledge
  • Direct realism
  • Indirect realism
  • Berkeley’s Idealism
Reason as a source of knowledge
  • Innatism
  • The intuition and deduction thesis
The limits of knowledge

Moral philosophy

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

Metaphysics of God

The concept and nature of ‘God’
Arguments relating to the existence of God
  • Ontological arguments
  • Teological/design arguments
  • Cosmological arguments
  • The Problem of Evil
Religious language

Metaphysics of mind

What do we mean by ‘mind’?
Dualist theories
  • Substance dualism
  • Property dualism
  • Issues
Physicalist theories
  • Physicalism
  • Mind-brain type identity theory
  • Eliminative materialism
Functionalism

Assessment

AS level

Paper 1: Epistemology and moral philosophy

  • Assessment of sections 1 and 2
  • 80 marks
  • 3 hours written paper
  • 100% of total AS level
A level
Paper 1: Epistemology and moral philosophy
  • Assessment of sections 1 and 2
  • 100 marks
  • 3 hours written paper
  • 50% of total A level
Paper 2: The metaphysics of God and the metaphysics of the mind
  • Assessment of sections 3 and 4
  • 100 marks
  • 3 hours written paper
  • 50% of total A level


Reading List

Two lively introductions to philosophical problems are:
  • The Philosophy Gym by Stephen Law
  • The Pig that Wants to be Eaten by Julian Baggini
  • Many novelists are insightful on philosophical issues. The following is a list of some novelists who are famous for their philosophical sophistication:
  • Voltaire, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Jean-Paul Satre, Albert Camus, Iris Murdoch, Franz Kafka, Aldous Huxley, Oscar Wilde, George Eliot, Umberto Eco, Milan Kundera
  • Podcasts are another good introduction to philosophy:
The Public Philosopher (BBC, Michael Sandel). Public discussion of philosophical problems:

Tutors

  • Will Bynoe BA PhD PGCE