Philosophy, Ethics and Religion

StEds_68wSimply existing presents the thinking human being with a range of moral and ethical dilemmas.  What does it mean to live a good life?  How do we find a way through the battery of small and large moral problems that underpin the decisions we make every day?  People have been wrestling with big questions like this throughout history, and have been writing about their own ideas for as long as the written word has existed.  In this course, pupils are encouraged both to consider the ideas of eminent thinkers on a wide range of philosophical problems, and to formulate their own views and their individual ways of mediating a path between apparently conflicting ideologies.

Philosophy, Ethics and Religion is a demanding A-level, one that requires engagement from its students and that need an analytic but creative mind.  Students do work hard; they are challenged, but they are also stimulated to think deeply and to write clearly.  The successful student is literate and articulate, interested both in words and in ideas, able to formulate questions in response to stimuli as well as answers.  The course addresses classical problems such as the problem of evil, and contemporary ones such as sexual ethics and the impact of quantum physics on arguments for the existence of God.

The course makes no assumptions about its students’ religious beliefs: successful students may be committed believers in any faith, or none.

The department’s objectives at A-level include:

  • Teaching students to recognize the basic structures of a philosophical argument
  • Equipping students with the skills to deconstruct, and evaluate the merits of, philosophical and ethical perspectives
  • Encouraging students to identify and comment on the links between schools of thought and topical events
  • Introducing students to the lives and works of key figures in the development of philosophical and ethical debate
  • Preparing students for the academic rigours of undergraduate research and writing

The department is staffed by teachers who have a strong personal commitment to the subject, a deep and abiding interest in it and who are highly experienced in its delivery, including teaching at university level.