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Year 13 Philosophy Curriculum

Subject Area:  A Level Philosophy – AQA current Syllabus

Autumn Term

Topic

Further details about the topic

Skills

 

AQA current Syllabus Philosophy

Section A: Ethics

 

Section B: Philosophy of Mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section A: EthicsEthical theories: How do we decide what it is morally right to do?

Utilitarianism: the maximisation of utility, including:

• the question of what is meant by ‘pleasure’, including Mill’s higher and lower pleasures

• how this might be calculated, including Bentham’s utility calculus

• forms of utilitarianism: act and rule utilitarianism; preference utilitarianism

Issues, including:

• individual liberty/rights

• problems with calculation

• the possible value of certain motives (eg the desire to do good) and character of the person doing the action.

• the possible moral status of particular relationships (family/friendship) we may have with others.

Section B: Philosophy of Mind. The mind–body problem: What is the relationship between the mental and the physical?

Dualism: the mind is distinct from the physical. The indivisibility argument for substance dualism (Descartes).

Issues, including:

• the mental is divisible in some sense.

• not everything thought of as physical is divisible.

The conceivability argument for substance dualism: the logical possibility of mental substance existing without the physical (Descartes).

Issues, including:

• mind without body is not conceivable.

• what is conceivable may not be possible.

• what is logically possible tells us nothing about reality.

Philosophy is not primarily a body of knowledge, but an activity. We do philosophy by studying the arguments of the philosophers and, in so doing; learn to construct our own arguments.

At A2, the key concepts, arguments and methods are deployed, refined and augmented in two new topic areas: Ethics and Philosophy of Mind.

At A2, students are expected to have a deeper critical awareness and to be able to engage in more sophisticated discussions. These are reflected in the increased demand of both the A2 question papers and the mark schemes. Students are required to engage in sustained textual analysis.

Assessment Objectives:

AO1 - Demonstrate understanding of the core concepts and methods of Philosophy.

AO2- Analyse and evaluate philosophical argument to form reasoned judgements.

 

AQA current Syllabus Philosophy  

Section A: Ethics

Section B: Philosophy of Mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section A: Ethics

Kantian deontological ethics: what maxims can be universalised without contradiction, including:

• the categorical and hypothetical Imperatives.

• the categorical imperative – first and second formulations.

Issues, including:

• the intuition that consequences of actions determine their moral value(independent of considerations of universalisability).

• problems with application of the Principle.

• the possible value of certain motives (eg the desire to do good) and commitments (eg those we have to family and friends).

• clashing/competing duties.

Section B: Philosophy of Mind

The ‘philosophical zombies’ argument for property dualism: the logical possibility of a physical duplicate of this world but without consciousness/qualia (Chalmers).

Issues, including:

• a ‘zombie’ world is not conceivable.

• what is conceivable is not possible.

• what is logically possible tells us nothing about reality.

The ‘knowledge’/Mary argument for property dualism based on qualia (Frank Jackson).

Qualia as introspectively accessible subjective/phenomenal features of mental states (the properties of ‘what it is like’ to undergo the mental state in question) – for many qualia would be defined as the intrinsic/non-representational properties of mental states.

Issues, including:

• Mary gains no new propositional

knowledge (but gains  acquaintance

knowledge or ability knowledge)

• all physical knowledge would include knowledge of qualia

• there is more than one way of knowing the same physical fact

• qualia (as defined) do not exist and so Mary gains no propositional knowledge.

The issues of causal interaction for versions of dualism:

• the problems facing interactionist dualism, including conceptual and empirical causation issues

• the problems facing epiphenomenalist dualism, including the causal redundancy of the mental, the argument from introspection and issues relating to free will and responsibility.

The problem of other minds for dualism:

• some forms of dualism make it impossible to know other minds

• threat of solipsism.

• Response: the argument from analogy eg Mill

Assessment Objectives:

AO1 - Demonstrate understanding of the core concepts and methods of Philosophy.

AO2- Analyse and evaluate philosophical argument to form reasoned judgements.

 

Spring Term

 

 

 

AQA current Syllabus Philosophy

Section A: Ethics

 

Section B: Philosophy of Mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section A: Ethics

Aristotle’s virtue ethics: the development of a good character, including:

• ‘the good’: pleasure; the function argument and eudaimonia

• the role of education/habituation in developing a moral character

• voluntary and involuntary actions and moral responsibility

• the doctrine of the mean and Aristotle’s account of vices and virtues.

Issues, including:

• can it give sufficiently clear guidance about how to act?

• clashing/competing virtues

• the possibility of circularity involved in defining virtuous acts and virtuous people in terms of each other. Students must be able to critically apply the theories above to the following issues:

  • crime and punishment
  • war
  • simulated killing (within computer games, plays, films, etc)
  • the treatment of animals
  • deception and the telling of lies.

Section B: Philosophy of Mind

Materialism: the mind is not ontologically distinct from the physical.

Logical/analytical behaviourism: all statements about mental states can be analytically reduced without loss of meaning to statements about behaviour (an ‘analytic’ reduction).

Issues, including:

• dualist arguments (above)

• issues defining mental states satisfactorily (circularity and the multiple realisability of mental states in behaviour)

• the conceivability of mental states without associated behaviour (Putnam’s super-Spartans)

• the asymmetry between self-knowledge and knowledge of other people’s mental states.

Mind–brain type identity theory:

  • all mental states are identical to brain states (‘ontological’ reduction) although ‘mental state’ and ‘brain state’ are not synonymous (so not an ‘analytic’ reduction).

Issues, including:

• dualist arguments (above)

• issues with providing the type identities (the multiple realisability of mental states)

• the location problem: brain states have precise spatial locations which thoughts lack.

Assessment Objectives:

AO1 - Demonstrate understanding of the core concepts and methods of Philosophy.

AO2- Analyse and evaluate philosophical argument to form reasoned judgements.

 

2

AQA current Syllabus

Section A: Ethics

 

Section B: Philosophy of Mind

 

Section A: Ethics

Ethical language: What is the status of ethical language?

Cognitivism: ethical language makes claims about reality which are true or false (fact-stating).

  • moral realism: ethical language makes claims about mind-independent reality that are true
  • ethical naturalism (eg utilitarianism
  • ethical non-naturalism (eg intuitionism)

• error theory: ethical language makes claims about mind-independent reality that are false (eg Mackie’s argument from queerness).

Non-cognitivism: ethical language does not make claims about reality which are true or false (fact-stating)

• emotivism: ethical language expresses emotions (Hume and Ayer)

• prescriptivism: ethical language makes recommendations about action (Hare).

Section B: Philosophy of Mind

Functionalism: all mental states can be reduced to functional roles which can be multiply realised.

Issues, including:

• the possibility of a functional duplicate with different qualia (inverted qualia).

• the possibility of a functional duplicate with no qualia (Block’s ‘Chinese mind’).

• the ‘knowledge’/Mary argument can be applied to functional facts (no amount of facts about function suffices to explain qualia).

Eliminative materialism: some or all mental states do not exist (folk-psychology is false or at least radically misleading).

Issues, including:

• the intuitive certainty of the existence of my mind takes priority over other considerations

• folk-psychology has good predictive and explanatory power

• the articulation of eliminative materialism as a theory is self-refuting.

Assessment Objectives:

AO1 - Demonstrate understanding of the core concepts and methods of

Philosophy.

AO2- Analyse and evaluate philosophical argument to form reasoned judgements.

 

Summer Term

 

 

 

AQA current Syllabus   

Section A: Ethics

 

Section B: Philosophy of Mind

Revision, Review, Exam prep, exam techniques.

Assessment Objectives:

AO1 - Demonstrate understanding of the core concepts and methods of Philosophy.

AO2- Analyse and evaluate philosophical argument to form reasoned judgements.

AQA current Syllabus

External Exams: A2 Philosophy.

External Exams: A2 Philosophy.

Assessment Objectives:

AO1 - Demonstrate understanding of the core concepts and methods of Philosophy.

AO2- Analyse and evaluate philosophical argument to form reasoned judgements.

Assessments:

 

Topic

Type of Assessment

CAT 1

Section A: Ethics

Section B: Philosophy of Mind

 

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

Assessment Objectives:

AO1 - Demonstrate understanding of the core concepts and methods of

Philosophy.

AO2- Analyse and evaluate philosophical argument to form reasoned judgements.

CAT 2

Section A: Ethics

Section B: Philosophy of Mind

 

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

AQA current Syllabus Philosophy (2175) 

Assessment Objectives:

AO1 - Demonstrate understanding of the core concepts and methods of

Philosophy.

AO2- Analyse and evaluate philosophical argument to form reasoned judgements.

CAT 3

Section A: Ethics

Section B: Philosophy of Mind

 

Mock Exam: AS Philosophy

Assessment Objectives:

AO1 - Demonstrate understanding of the core concepts and methods of Philosophy.

AO2- Analyse and evaluate philosophical argument to form reasoned judgements.

Summer Term

External Exams: A2 Philosophy

External Exams: External Assessment, A2 Philosophy

AQA current Syllabus: Philosophy (2175) 

Main Resources:

Resource

Details

Term

Text books

Text book: Philosophy for A2, by Michael Lacewing. Publisher: Routledge.

Students will be required to demonstrate an understanding of, and the ability to make a reasoned evaluation of, the arguments set out in the following texts; please refer to the on-line Anthology on AQA’s website (e-AQA) for further details on these texts and/or hyperlinks.

Philosophy of Mind

Letter from Princess of Bohemia to Descartes in May 1643

Block, N (1980), ‘Troubles with functionalism’ in Readings in Philosophy of Psychology

Volume 1, Harvard University Press, 275–278 – section 1.2

Chalmers, D (2003), ‘Consciousness and its place in nature’ in Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Mind, Blackwell

Churchland, PM (1981), ‘Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes’, Journal of Philosophy 78, 67–90 (Section 2 Why folk psychology might (really) be false)

Descartes, R (1641), Meditations on First Philosophy, 6 (expressed without reference to God)

Jackson, F (1982), ‘Epiphenomenal Qualia’, Philosophical Quarterly 32, 127–136

Jackson, F (1986), ‘What Mary Didn’t Know’, Journal of Philosophy 83, 291–295

Jackson, F (1995), ‘Postscript on “What Mary didn’t know”’, in Moser, P and J Trout (1995),

Contemporary Materialism, London, Routledge, 184–189

Jackson, F (1998), ‘Postscript on Qualia’, in Mind, Methods and Conditionals, London, Routledge.

Putnam, H (1967) Psychological predicates, in WH Capitan and DD Merrill (eds.), Art, Mind, and Religion, University of Pittsburgh Press

Ryle, G (1949/2000) The Concept of Mind, London, Penguin Classics edition (introduction by Daniel Dennett)

Smart, JJC (1959) ‘Sensations and brain processes’, The Philosophical Review, 68 (2), 141–156.

A2: Ethics:

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics: Books 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10

Ayer, AJ (1973/1991), The Central Questions of Philosophy, London, Penguin, 22–29

Ayer, AJ (1946), Language, Truth and Logic, 2nd Edition, New York, Dover, (esp. Chapters 1 and 6)

Bentham, J (1879), ‘The Principle of Utility’ in Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Oxford, Clarendon Press

Hare, RM (1952), The Language of Morals, Oxford, Clarendon Press, (for Prescriptivism)

Hume, D (1739–40), Treatise of Human Nature, Book III, Part 1 (for Emotivism)

Kant, I (1785) Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals

Mackie, JL (1990), ‘The Argument from Queerness in Ethics’ Inventing Right and WrongPenguin

Mill, JS (1863), Utilitarianism

Moore, GE (1903), Principia Ethica, Cambridge University Press

Rachels, J (1993), The Elements of Moral Philosophy, 2nd Edition, McGraw-Hill (on Kant)

Warnock, GJ (1967) Contemporary Moral Philosophy, New Studies In Ethics, (Intuitionism, Emotivism, Prescriptivism) Macmillan – Chapters 1, 3 and 4

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Recommended reading

Language, Truth and Logic  by  A. J. Ayer

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” by Ludwig Wittgenstein.

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Recommended websites

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

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

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