The King's School Grantham

Isaac Newton's School

    Year 12 Philosophy Curriculum

    Key topics to be taught this year:

     

    Autumn Term

    Topic

    Further details about the topic

    Skills

     

    Philosophy (7171)

    Epistemology

     

    Moral philosophy

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Epistemology - What is knowledge?

          The distinction between acquaintance knowledge, ability knowledge and propositional knowledge.

            

         The nature of definition (including Linda Zagzebski) and how propositional knowledge may be analysed/defined.

     

    The tripartite view - Propositional knowledge is defined as justified true belief: S knows that p if and only if:

    1.       S is justified in believing that p

    2.       p is true and

    3.      S believes that p (individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions).

     

    Issues with the tripartite view including:

    • the conditions are not individually necessary
    • the conditions are not sufficient - cases of lucky true beliefs (including Edmund Gettier’s original two counter examples)

    Responses: alternative post-Gettier analyses/definitions of knowledge including:

    • strengthen the justification condition (ie infallibilism)
    • add a 'no false lemmas' condition (J+T+B+N)
    • replace 'justified' with 'reliably formed' (R+T+B) (ie reliabilism)
    • replace 'justified' with an account of epistemic virtue (V+T+B).

     

    Moral philosophy  - Normative ethical theories

     

    Utilitarianism -  The question of what is meant by 'utility' and 'maximising utility', including:

    • Jeremy Bentham's quantitative hedonistic utilitarianism (his utility calculus)

    ·   John Stuart Mill’s qualitative hedonistic utilitarianism (higher and lower pleasures) and his ‘proof’ of the greatest happiness principle,

    ·    non-hedonistic utilitarianism (including preference utilitarianism)

    ·     act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism.

     

    Issues including:

    ·        whether pleasure is the only good (Nozick’s experience machine)

    ·  fairness and individual liberty/rights (including the risk of the ‘tyranny of the majority’)

    ·    problems with calculation (including      which beings to include)

    ·        issues around partiality

    ·    whether utilitarianism ignores both the moral integrity and the intentions of the individual.

    Aims - Courses based on this specification must ensure that students:

    · consider and develop an understanding of the ways in which philosophers have engaged with traditional philosophical issues and philosophical approaches to problems, through the detailed study of the arguments of philosophers in identified texts.

    ·   develop an understanding of the core concepts of philosophy and begin to develop their own skill of conceptual analysis, through the study of the ways in which philosophers have analysed concepts and have, through conceptual analysis, identified subtle differences which have a wider impact on philosophical arguments.

    ·   develop their ability to identify argument forms, and analyse and evaluate arguments appropriately, through the study of the ways in which philosophers have analysed and evaluated the soundness of arguments by considering the validity of the argument and/or the truth of the premises.

    ·     develop and refine their ability to identify and distinguish argument within a source/text, ask thoughtful, relevant and penetrating questions; analyse and evaluate arguments of others, and present and defend their own arguments clearly, logically and cogently.

    ·   develop and refine their writing skills, demonstrating the ability to be precise, concise and accurate, correctly using the technical vocabulary of philosophy.

     

    Philosophy (7171)

    Epistemology

     

    Moral philosophy

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Epistemology - Perception as a source of knowledge

    Direct realism

    The immediate objects of perception are mind-independent objects and their properties.  Issues including:

    • the argument from illusion

    • the argument from perceptual variation

    • the argument from hallucination

    • the time-lag argument

    ·    and responses to these issues.

    Indirect realism - The immediate objects of perception are mind-dependent objects (sense-data) that are caused by and represent mind-independent objects.

    John Locke's primary/secondary quality distinction. Issues including:

    • the argument that it leads to scepticism about the existence of mind-independent objects.

    Responses including:

    • Locke's argument from the involuntary nature of our experience

    • the argument from the coherence of various kinds of experience, as developed by Locke and Catharine Trotter Cockburn (attrib)

    • Bertrand Russell's response that the external world is the 'best hypothesis'

    • The argument from George Berkeley that we cannot know the nature of mind-independent objects because mind-dependent ideas cannot be like mind-independent objects.

    Berkeley's idealism -The immediate objects of perception (ie ordinary objects such as tables, chairs, etc) are mind-dependent objects. Arguments for idealism including Berkeley's attack on the primary/secondary quality distinction and his 'Master' argument.

    Issues including:

    • arguments from illusion and hallucination
    • idealism leads to solipsism
    • problems with the role played by God in Berkeley’s Idealism (including how can Berkeley claim that our ideas exist within God's mind given that he believes that God cannot feel pain or have sensations?) and responses to these issues

    Moral philosophy  - Kantian deontological ethics

          Immanuel Kant’s account of what is meant by a ‘good will’.

         The distinction between acting in accordance with duty and acting out of duty.

          The distinction between hypothetical imperatives and categorical imperatives.

         The first formulation of the categorical imperative (including the distinction between a contradiction in conception and a contradiction in will).

        The second formulation of the categorical imperative.

    Issues including:

    ·     clashing/competing duties

    · not all universalisable maxims are distinctly moral; not all non-universalisable maxims are immoral

    ·   the view that consequences of actions determine their moral value 

    ·   Kant ignores the value of certain motives, eg love, friendship, kindness

    • morality is a system of hypothetical, rather than categorical, imperatives (Philippa Foot).

    Aims-Courses based on this specification must ensure that students:

    · consider and develop an understanding of the ways in which philosophers have engaged with traditional philosophical issues and philosophical approaches to problems, through the detailed study of the arguments of philosophers in identified texts.

    ·    develop an understanding of the core concepts of philosophy and begin to develop their own skill of conceptual analysis, through the study of the ways in which philosophers have analysed concepts and have, through conceptual analysis, identified subtle differences which have a wider impact on philosophical arguments.

    ·   develop their ability to identify argument forms, and analyse and evaluate arguments appropriately, through the study of the ways in which philosophers have analysed and evaluated the soundness of arguments by considering the validity of the argument and/or the truth of the premises.

    ·     develop and refine their ability to identify and distinguish argument within a source/text, ask thoughtful, relevant and penetrating questions; analyse and evaluate arguments of others, and present and defend their own arguments clearly, logically and cogently.

    ·   develop and refine their writing skills, demonstrating the ability to be precise, concise and accurate, correctly using the technical vocabulary of philosophy.

    .

    Spring Term

     

     

     

    Philosophy (7171)

    Epistemology

     

    Moral philosophy

     

    Epistemology - Reason as a source of knowledge.

    Innatism

    Arguments from Plato (ie the 'slave boy' argument) and Gottfried Leibniz (ie his argument based on necessary truths).

    Empiricist responses including:

    • Locke's arguments against innatism
    • the mind as a 'tabula rasa' (the nature of impressions and ideas, simple and complex concepts)
    • and issues with these responses.

    Moral philosophy - Aristotelian virtue ethics

        ‘The good’ for human beings: the meaning of Eudaimonia as the ‘final end’ and the relationship between Eudaimonia and pleasure.

             

        The function argument and the relationship between virtues and function.

             

             Aristotle’s account of virtues and vices: virtues as character traits/dispositions; the role of education/habituation in the development of a moral character; the skill analogy; the importance of feelings; the doctrine of the mean and its application to particular virtues.

              

           Moral responsibility: voluntary, involuntary and non-voluntary actions.

          

          The relationship between virtues, actions and reasons and the role of practical reasoning/practical wisdom. Issues including:

    • whether Aristotelian virtue ethics can give sufficiently clear guidance about how to act
    • clashing/competing virtues
    • the possibility of circularity involved in defining virtuous acts and virtuous persons in terms of each other
    • whether a trait must contribute to Eudaimonia in order to be a virtue; the relationship between the good for the individual and moral good.

    Aims-Courses based on this specification must ensure that students:

    · consider and develop an understanding of the ways in which philosophers have engaged with traditional philosophical issues and philosophical approaches to problems, through the detailed study of the arguments of philosophers in identified texts.

    ·   develop an understanding of the core concepts of philosophy and begin to develop their own skill of conceptual analysis, through the study of the ways in which philosophers have analysed concepts and have, through conceptual analysis, identified subtle differences which have a wider impact on philosophical arguments.

    ·  develop their ability to identify argument forms, and analyse and evaluate arguments appropriately, through the study of the ways in which philosophers have analysed and evaluated the soundness of arguments by considering the validity of the argument and/or the truth of the premises.

    ·     develop and refine their ability to identify and distinguish argument within a source/text, ask thoughtful, relevant and penetrating questions; analyse and evaluate arguments of others, and present and defend their own arguments clearly, logically and cogently.

    ·   develop and refine their writing skills, demonstrating the ability to be precise, concise and accurate, correctly using the technical vocabulary of philosophy.

    Philosophy (7171)

    Epistemology

     

    Moral philosophy

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

           Epistemology- The intuition and deduction Thesis

    The meaning of ‘intuition’ and ‘deduction’ and the distinction between them.

     

    René Descartes’ notion of ‘clear and distinct ideas’. His cogito as an example of a priori intuition.  His arguments for the existence of God and his proof of the external world as examples of a priori deductions.

     

    Empiricist responses including:

    • responses to Descartes' cogito

    • responses to Descartes’ arguments for the existence of God and his proof of the external world (including how Hume’s Fork might be applied to these arguments)

    •  and issues with these responses

    Moral philosophy - Applied ethics

    Students must be able to apply the content of Normative ethical theories and Meta-ethics to the following issues:

    • stealing
    • simulated killing (within computer games, plays, films etc)
    • eating animals
    • telling lies.

    Meta-ethics

    The origins of moral principles: reason, emotion/attitudes, or society.

    The distinction between cognitivism and non-cognitivism about ethical language

    Aims-Courses based on this specification must ensure that students:

    · consider and develop an understanding of the ways in which philosophers have engaged with traditional philosophical issues and philosophical approaches to problems, through the detailed study of the arguments of philosophers in identified texts.

    ·    develop an understanding of the core concepts of philosophy and begin to develop their own skill of conceptual analysis, through the study of the ways in which philosophers have analysed concepts and have, through conceptual analysis, identified subtle differences which have a wider impact on philosophical arguments.

    ·   develop their ability to identify argument forms, and analyse and evaluate arguments appropriately, through the study of the ways in which philosophers have analysed and evaluated the soundness of arguments by considering the validity of the argument and/or the truth of the premises.

    ·      develop and refine their ability to identify and distinguish argument within a source/text, ask thoughtful, relevant and penetrating questions; analyse and evaluate arguments of others, and present and defend their own arguments clearly, logically and cogently.

    ·   develop and refine their writing skills, demonstrating the ability to be precise, concise and accurate, correctly using the technical vocabulary of philosophy.

    Summer Term

     

     

     

    Philosophy (7171)

    Epistemology

     

    Moral philosophy

     

    Epistemology - The limits of knowledge

             Particular nature of philosophical scepticism and the distinction between philosophical scepticism and normal incredulity.

        The role/function of philosophical scepticism within epistemology.

        The distinction between local and global scepticism and the (possible) global application of philosophical scepticism.

             Descartes’ sceptical arguments (the three ‘waves of doubt’).

            Responses to scepticism: the application of the following as responses to the challenge of scepticism:

    • Descartes' own response
    • empiricist responses (Locke, Berkeley and Russell)
    • reliabilism

    Moral philosophy - Moral anti-realism

    There are no mind-independent moral properties/facts.

    • error theory (cognitivist) - Mackie
    • emotivism (non-cognitivist) – Ayer
    • prescriptivism (non-cognitivist) – Richard Hare.

    Issues that may arise for the theories above, including:

    • whether anti-realism can account for how we use moral language, including moral reasoning, persuading, disagreeing etc.
    • the problem of accounting for moral progress
    • whether anti-realism becomes moral nihilism.

     

    Aims - Courses based on this specification must ensure that students:

    · consider and develop an understanding of the ways in which philosophers have engaged with traditional philosophical issues and philosophical approaches to problems, through the detailed study of the arguments of philosophers in identified texts.

    ·   develop an understanding of the core concepts of philosophy and begin to develop their own skill of conceptual analysis, through the study of the ways in which philosophers have analysed concepts and have, through conceptual analysis, identified subtle differences which have a wider impact on philosophical arguments.

    ·   develop their ability to identify argument forms, and analyse and evaluate arguments appropriately, through the study of the ways in which philosophers have analysed and evaluated the soundness of arguments by considering the validity of the argument and/or the truth of the premises.

    ·     develop and refine their ability to identify and distinguish argument within a source/text, ask thoughtful, relevant and penetrating questions; analyse and evaluate arguments of others, and present and defend their own arguments clearly, logically and cogently.

    ·   develop and refine their writing skills, demonstrating the ability to be precise, concise and accurate, correctly using the technical vocabulary of philosophy.

    Philosophy (7171)

    Epistemology

     

    Moral philosophy

     

     

    Internal Exams: AS Philosophy.

    Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all AS Philosophy specifications and all exam boards. The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

     

    AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the core concepts and methods of philosophy, including through the use of philosophical analysis.

     

    AO2: Analyse and evaluate philosophical arguments to form reasoned judgements

    Revision, review & exam technique and past papers.

     

     

     Assessments:

     

    Autumn Term

    Topic

    Type of Assessment

    CAT 1  Philosophy (7171)

    1. Epistemology

    2. Moral philosophy

    Test essays – internal assessment, time limited essay in class.

    CAT 2  Philosophy (7171)

    1. Epistemology

    2. Moral philosophy

    Test essays – internal assessment, time limited essay in class.

    CAT 3 Philosophy (7171)

    1. Epistemology

    2. Moral philosophy

    Mock Exam: AS Philosophy

     

    Main Resources:

     

    Resource

    Details

    Term

     

    Text books

     

    Text books: Philosophy for AS/A2 by Michael Lacewing Publisher: Routledge –latest editions please.

     

    1.       Epistemology Set texts

    Berkeley, George (1713), Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous

    Descartes, René (1641), Meditations on First Philosophy, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6

    Gettier, Edmund (1963), ‘Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?’ Analysis, 23(6): 121–123

    Hume, David (1748), An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Section 2 and Section 4 (part 1)

    Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm (1705), New Essays on Human Understanding, Preface and Book 1

    Locke, John (1690), An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book 1 (esp. Chapter 2), Book 2 (esp. Chapters 1, 2, 8 and 14), Book 4 (esp. Chapter 11)

    Plato, Meno, from 81e

    Russell, Bertrand (1912), The Problems of Philosophy, Chapters 1, 2

    Trotter Cockburn, Catharine (1732), (attrib) ‘A Letter from an anonymous writer to the author of the Minute Philosopher’ Appendix to G Berkeley Theory of Vision Vindicated and Explained

    Zagzebski, Linda (1999), ‘What is Knowledge?’ in John Greco & Ernest Sosa (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to Epistemology 92–116

    2.       Moral Philosophy Set texts

    Annas, Julia (2006), 'Virtue Ethics', in David Copp (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 515–536)

    Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics: Books 1 (1–5, 7–10, 13), 2 (1–7), 3 (1–5), 5, 6 (1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13), 7 (12–13), 10 (1–8)

    Ayer, Alfred J (1973/1991), The Central Questions of Philosophy, London, Penguin, 22–29 and Ayer, A J (1946), Language, Truth and Logic, 2nd Edition, New York, Dover, (esp. Chapters 1 and 6)

    Bentham, Jeremy (1789), Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Oxford, Clarendon Press. Chapter 1 (The Principle of Utility) and Chapter 4 (Measuring Pleasure and Pain)

    Diamond, Cora (1978), ‘Eating Meat and Eating People’ Philosophy 53: 465–479

    Foot, Philippa (1972), ‘Morality as a system of hypothetical imperatives.’ Philosophical Review, vol 81, issue 3, 305–316.

    Hare, Richard M (1952) The Language of Morals, Chapters 1, 5, 7, 10.2

    Hume, David (1739–40), Treatise of Human Nature, Book III, Part 1

    Kant, Immanuel (1785), Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Chapters 1 and 2

    Mackie, John L (1977). Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, Penguin, Chapter 1, Sections 8 and 9

    Mill, John Stuart (1863), Utilitarianism, Chapters 1, 2, 4, 5

    Moore, George E (1903), Principia Ethica, Cambridge University Press, Sections 6–14

    Smart, Jack J C & Williams, Bernard (1973), Utilitarianism: For and Against, Chapter 2 (Act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism) and Chapter 3 (Hedonistic and non-hedonistic utilitarianism)

    All

    Recommended reading

    How to Write Ethics & Philosophy Essays by Peter Baron & Brian Poxon.

    The Problems of Philosophy. (Kindle Edition) by Bertrand Russell.

    Meditations on First Philosophy, by Rene Descartes.

    The Republic by Plato.

    Descartes: A Very Short Introduction, by Tom Sorrell.

    Lo> by John Dunn.

    Hume: A Very Short Introduction by Alfred Ayer.

    Nietzsche: A Very Short Introduction  

    All

    Recommended websites

    http://www.alevelphilosophy.co.uk/

    General websites: google these,

    Royal Institute of Philosophy  

    The Window: Philosophy on the Internet
     Guide to Philosophy on the Internet

    The Guardian Philosophy and Ethics Links

    Answers Encyclopedia
    Philosophy Experiments