A Level Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

About the Department

The department consists of two qualified, highly committed and enthusiastic teachers: Simon Barratt and Ian Kennedy. There are about 150 students studying A Level. The A Level course at Greenhead covers three main areas of study: Philosophy of Religion; Ethics; and Buddhism. Many of our students go on to study Philosophy related courses at top universities including Oxford and Cambridge.

Why study this subject?

Do you enjoy thinking about life’s big questions? For instance:

  • Ethics. What is the nature of good? And what does it mean to live a good life? How do we decide what is right on issues such as euthanasia in medical ethics, human rights, sexual ethics e.g. what is the purpose of sex?
  • Metaphysics. What is the nature of reality? Does God exist? If there is a God, why does he allow so much evil and suffering? Do humans have free will? Is the mind independent from the body? Is there life after death?
  • Epistemology. What is knowledge, and what distinguishes it from mere belief or opinion? eg. how do we know that our ideas about what is morally good are true? What is truth?
  • Language. How is it that language expresses meaning? How it is that language comes to refer to the world? Is it possible to use language to talk about God?
  • Politics and Law. How should society be organised? What is justice? What are ‘rights’?’ etc.
  • Science. What is science, and how does it challenge religious belief?

If you have an enquiring mind and enjoy philosophical debate and are interested in what some of the world’s greatest thinkers, scientists and religions have to say, then this is definitely the right subject for you! The course includes educational visits to Philosophy and ethics conferences, places of Buddhist interest as well as a residential trip to London. In the last two years, popular speakers in the field of Philosophy, such as Dr Peter Vardy and Dr Stephen Law have visited College and given revision conferences for us.


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