Philosophy - A Level (AQA)

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Start Date: 4 September 2023
Attendance: Full Time
Location: Angel Sixth Form College
Suitable for: School Leavers
Duration: 2 Years
Level: Level 3


If you have ever wondered where the world started or what the meaning of life is, then you have already been thinking philosophically. Studying Philosophy helps you gain a thorough grounding in key concepts, themes, texts and techniques, enabling you to develop the ability to reason, form your own judgements, express yourself coherently and contribute to the process of debate. It also allows you to consider philosophical problems through the study of text. 

Socrates claimed that the “unexamined life is not worth living”. It is in this spirit that philosophers have explored fundamental questions about the human condition, including how we ought to live and whether our lives have any profound meaning. We discuss if our ideas about right and wrong are simply emotional responses to the world or if there are any moral facts we can discover. We consider if we are simply biological machines or if there is something mysterious about consciousness that we will never be able to explain.

You will be asked questions about the nature of morality; what makes an action morally good or bad, right or wrong and how can we know this? Is it just a matter of opinion, or are some things (objectively) good or bad in themselves?

You will consider the nature of the mind; is it an entirely different 'thing' from the body? What kind of 'thing' is it? Is it a physical thing or a non-physical thing? What kind of problems stem from believing it to be one or the other?

You will question the nature of knowledge; what does it mean exactly to know? You will then apply these questions to the field of religion; what can we know about the nature of God and whether or not God exists.




Topics covered can include:

  • What is 'knowledge'?
  • The tripartite view
  • Perception as a source of knowledge
  • Reason as a source of knowledge
  • The limits of knowledge
  • Normative ethical theories
  • Utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, Aristotelian ethics 
  • Applied Ethics
  • Meta-ethics
  • Moral realism 
  • Moral anti-realism
  • The concept and nature of 'God' 
  • Arguments relating to the existence of God
  • Ontological arguments, teleological arguments, cosmological arguments 
  • The Problem of Evil
  • Religious Language
  • What do we mean by 'mind'?
  • Dualist theories (substance dualism, property dualism)
  • Physicalist theories
  • Physicalism, Mind-brain type identity theory, eliminative materialism 
  • Functionalism


You will need:

  • Grade 5 or above in GCSE Maths
  • Grade 5, and at least one grade 6, or above in GCSE English Language plus one other written subject, such as History, Geography, Humanities, English Literature, Business, Media Studies, Religious Studies, Drama and Film Studies
  • Two further GCSEs at grade 4 or above

If you wish to study 4 A Levels, you will need 7 GCSEs at grade 7 or above, including two at grade 8.

All applicants must have an interview to confirm that A Levels are suitable for them.


Assessment is through two written exams at the end of the second year of the course.


School Leavers

If you will be aged 16, 17 or 18 on 31 August in the year you begin your course, and have been resident in the UK/EU/EEA for the past 3 years, it will be free. Some courses will have other costs associated, such as for materials and trips. Many of our students are eligible for financial support when studying at college – please click here for more information.


A Levels are widely regarded as the standard entry qualification for top universities in the UK, and the rest of the world. Many of our students go onto study for a degree at the university of their choice, with some choosing to progress into apprenticeships or other employment.

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