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Philosophy, Ethics & Religion
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A* = 56
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Are you interested in philosophical and theological debates? Are you interested in the beliefs of unfamiliar cultures and why this is so important to them? Do you wonder how ethics underpins our society and where these ideas originate from? Do you want to know more about how religion unifies and divides people and cultures and why it remains so important for billions of people around the world today? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, then Philosophy, ethics and religion is the subject for you.
Philosophy, ethics, and religion is the study of beliefs and how they bring meaning and purpose to people. It explores philosophical language and thought from the views of Plato and Aristotle through to debates on the existence of God and the nature of religious experience through to ethical theories, arguments, and debates. You will also explore a religion in-depth (Islam) from the foundations of its beliefs through to the relationship between that religion and society and challenges faced by that religion.
Philosophy, ethics, and religion is a two year A Level programme and is taught on the OCR exam board. There is no AS exam at the end of the first year. You will sit three exams at the end of the second year, each worth a third of the final A Level grade. At the end of your course you will obtain an A Level in Religious Studies.
A minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4 and above, including English Language and Maths.
1. ‘Philosophy of religion’: This unit explores philosophical issues and questions raised by religion and belief. You will explore ancient philosophical influences and the concepts of soul, mind, and body and how these are significant concepts. You will also look at the works of key thinkers. You will critically analyse three contrasting arguments regarding the existence of God to formulate a foundation for philosophy of religion, as well as being key to the beliefs of many individuals. You will also be introduced to distinct types of religious experience and discuss the significance and meaning of such experiences. You will explore debates such as the problem of evil and suffering and the nature of God before also exploring whether religious teachings should be understood symbolically or analogically.
2. ‘Religion and ethics’: You will have an opportunity to study key concepts related to ethics. You will study four normative ethical theories from a range of approaches: deontological, teleological, religious, and non-religious. You will then apply these to two issues of importance: euthanasia and business ethics. You will also explore ethical language and how it has changed over time and been interpreted by different individuals. You will examine significant ethical concepts such as conscience by examining the works of two key thinkers; Aquinas and Freud. Lastly you will also examine areas of sexual ethics, exploring how attitudes to pre and extra marital sex and homosexuality have been influenced by development in religious beliefs and how the four normative theories can be applied to these areas.
3. ‘Development in religious thought’: This unit contains a systematic study of key concepts and development of religious thought in a major world religion: Islam. You will explore religious beliefs, values and teachings, their interconnections, how they have developed historically and how they are presently discussed. You will explore concepts from prophecy, revelation and tradition, ideas on the nature and existence of God, human nature, destiny, and a range of scientific and philosophical knowledge through the lens of Islam.
sit to a mosque
Philosophy, ethics, and religion is a useful subject to combine with Sociology due to some shared concepts. It can also be combined with Politics and Economics to form the basis of a PPE background if you are thinking of exploring that route at university. Other humanities, such as History or Geography would also work well as a combination of subjects, and even Law, Criminology or Psychology. Philosophy, ethics, and religion is useful if you are looking at a career in international relations, the civil service or law as it gives you a good understanding of why people think in diverse ways. It is also useful for any type of career in academia, the charity sector or marketing as it develops writing skills.
There are a variety of different opportunities if you study Philosophy, ethics, and religion to enrich your studies. Our Sixth Form Talks programme often includes speakers from diverse backgrounds, including academia and employers who talk about ethical debates and discussions. Philosophy, ethics, and religion learners can also join one of our academies, including the Honours programme which prepares you for entry to top universities including Oxford and Cambridge. You might also consider joining our events academy which organises celebration days for different religions throughout the year. There are also opportunities for trips in this subject which include a visit to a mosque.