Close

Philosophy and ethics

Philosophy and ethics is an incredibly diverse course that aims to develop students' skills through an in-depth study of traditional philosophical thoughts and ethical theories. Philosophy and ethics lessons are incredibly diverse, with lively debates, studying philosophers' original writings and analysing, assessing and evaluating key ideas.

The course is made up of three sections: the study of the philosophy of religion; the study of ethical theories and issues; and the study of the developments in Christian thought. 

In the philosophy of religion unit, students begin by studying the ancient Greek philosophers, before working through many years of philosophical thought in an attempt to answer key questions including ‘what is reality?’; ‘does God exist?’; ‘why would God allow suffering?’ and ‘do humans really have a soul?’.  Students look, in-depth, at religious experiences, the use of human language to attempt to describe the divine and what God is like and if he does exist.

In ethics, students study different ethical theories including utilitarianism and Kantian ethics and consider how we know the difference between right and wrong; whether we can say definitely that an action is either right or wrong and debate whether we are influenced by pleasure and/or pain.  

Students then apply ethical theories to modern life issues such as business ethics and euthanasia. Students look, in-depth, at ethical language; the nature of the conscience and debates within sexual ethics.      

In developments of Christian thought, students study how key Christian beliefs have developed over time, looking at what it means to be human; contrasting views to the afterlife; the person of Jesus and the development of Christian morals.  Students then study, in-depth, how Christianity has adapted to a contemporary world, considering Christianity in a multi-faith society; changing views on gender and challenges from secularism and poverty.

 

Year 12

 

Learning outcomes

  • To develop skills of enquiry, critical analysis, reasoning, reflection and evaluation in relation to Christianity, philosophy and ethics
  • To develop students’ interest in a rigorous study of religion and belief and relate it to the wider world
  • To reflect on and develop students’ own values, opinions and attitudes

Topics taught

Philosophy:

  • Ancient Philosophical influences (Plato and Aristotle)
  • Soul, body and mind
  • Arguments for the existence of God based on observation
  • Arguments for the existence of God based on reason
  • Religious Experience
  • The Problem of Evil

Ethics:

  • Natural Law
  • Situation Ethics
  • Kantian Ethics
  • Utilitarianism
  • Euthanasia
  • Business Ethics

Developments in Christian Thought:

  • Augustine’s teaching on human nature
  • Death and the afterlife
  • Knowledge of God’s existence
  • The person of Jesus Christ
  • Christian moral principles
  • Christian moral action

 

Year 13

 

Learning outcomes

  • To develop skills of enquiry, critical analysis, reasoning, reflection and evaluation in relation to Christianity, philosophy and ethics
  • To develop students’ interest in a rigorous study of religion and belief and relate it to the wider world
  • To reflect on and develop students’ own values, opinions and attitudes

Topics taught

Philosophy:

  • The nature or attributes of God
  • Religious language: negative, analogical or symbolic
  • Religious language: twentieth Century perspectives

Ethics:

  • Meta-ethical theories
  • Conscience
  • Sexual Ethics

Developments in Christian Thought:

  • Religious pluralism and theology and society
  • Gender and society and theology
  • The challenge of secularism
  • Liberation theology and Marx

 

Link to exam specification

 

https://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-and-a-level/religious-studies-h173-h573-from-2016/

Year 13 student

I enjoy discussing the different points of view analytically, considering different issues dancing society and aspects of cultures around the world.