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Philosophy (HL and SL)

The unexamined life is not worth living. Socrates  

 We explore all kinds of questions examining the deeper meaning of existence and what it means to be human. We also study key ideas such as whether or not God exists, and why do we act in certain ways?  Philosophy completely changes the way you look at every aspect of life. It develops invaluable transferable skills such as critical questioning, logical argument, evaluation, analysis and debating. This subject is perfect for students who enjoy debating, presenting persuasive arguments and exploring more abstract questions on the purpose of life.  These are applicable to various fields such as Politics, Law, Journalism and Medicine. It is also a fantastic option for those looking to study medicine or veterinary medicine at university, and will really help with those tricky ethical interview questions! 

 The course is designed to develop students as Philosophers themselves and not merely be able to regurgitate the ideas of famous scholars. The range of topics is excellent and provides students with the ability to make links between different concepts in this entirely interconnected subject. 

Course content

Philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence. All students undertake the topic on the theme of ‘Being human’ exploring different aspects of human nature.  

Standard Level Higher Level

Two further elements:    

  • Theories and Problems of Ethics   

  • Plato’s Republic  

Two further elements:    

  • Theories and Problems of Ethics   

  • Plato’s Republic  



Standard Level  

Higher Level  

Internal assessment  

Written assignment (25%)  

Written assignment (20%)  

External assessment   

Paper 1: Human nature and  

Ethics (50%)  

Paper 2: Text- Plato’s Republic  


Paper 1: Human nature, Ethics, Philosophy of  

Religion (40%)  

Paper 2: Text- Plato’s Republic (20%)  

Paper 3: Unseen Text Response  (20%)  


Conference run by scholars affiliated with the New College of Humanities as well as Southampton University (including Simon Blackburn and Richard Dawkins), seminars from the Philosophy Foundation, speakers (Michael Lacewing, Nigel Warburton, Stephen Law and A.C. Grayling).

Further study

Students have gone on to study Philosophy at Cambridge, UCL, Kings College, Bath and Bristol (amongst many others!).  We also have a number of students who go onto PPE courses at a variety of universities including Oxford, London School of Economics, Durham and Exeter. 

 Philosophy is annoyingly unanswerable, but also helps you develop a way of thinking that cannot compare to any other subjects. This accompanied by a classroom environment of discussion and structured debate helps with developing valuable life skills.  It is, without doubt, my favourite lesson. Joe