Philosophy and Ethics – Year 12

AS Philosophy of Religion
AS Ethics


AS Philosophy of Religion

Autumn Half Term 1

Ancient Greek Influences On Religious Philosophy

  • Introduction to Philosophy of Religion
  • Plato: the Analogy of the Cave: Knowledge and understanding of what might be represented in the analogy of the cave
  • Discuss critically the validity of the points being made in the analogy.
  • Plato: the concept of the Forms; the Form of the Good
  • The relation between concepts and phenomena:
  • The relation between the Form of the Good and the other Forms
  • Discuss critically the validity of the Forms
  • Aristotle: ideas about cause and purpose in relation to God.
  • Aristotle’s concept of the Prime Mover

Autumn Half Term 2

Judeo-Christian Influence On The Philosophy Of Religion

  • The concept of God as Creator: The way the Bible presents God as involved with his creation
  • Imagery of God as craftsman; creatio ex nihilo
  • The concepts of omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence
  • Compare this view with Aristotle’s Prime Mover
  • Discuss, whether, if God created the universe, God is therefore responsible for everything that happens in it
  • The goodness of God
  • Consider whether, in a Biblical context, God commands things because they are good, or whether things are good because God commands them

The Teleological Argument

  • The Teleological Argument from Aquinas and Paley
  • Challenges to it from Hume; there could be other explanations for the apparent order of the universe
  • Challenges to it from Mill and Darwin.
  • Darwinist Challenges that order comes through evolution and not a Divine Mind

Spring Half Term 1

The Problem Of Evil

  • Introduction to the Problem of Evil
  • The Nature of the problem of evil, and the perceived differences between natural and moral evil.
  • The classic theodicy of Augustine: how it understands the responsibility or otherwise of God for the existence of evil in the world and the role of human
  • The strengths and weaknesses of the approach.
  • The classic theodicy of Irenaeus; how it understands the responsibility or otherwise of God for the existence of evil in the world and the role of human freewill
  • The strengths and weaknesses of this approach
  • Augustine and Irenaeus, critical comparison.

The Cosmological Argument

  • The Cosmological Argument from Aquinas: his understanding of the need for evidence in establishing the reasonableness of belief in the existence of God – his presentation of the cosmological argument in the Five Ways
  • Challenges to it from Hume; his criticisms of the view that the existence of the universe is evidence for the existence of God.
  • Critical Discussion of their views
  • The arguments put forward by Copleston in the 1948 radio debate with Russell and Russell’s counter arguments

Spring Half Term 2

Religion And Science

  • Scientific and Philosophical views on the creation of the universe
  • The views of Charles Darwin
  • Darwinism and various developments of evolutionary theory
  • Creationism and the Big Bang
  • Intelligent Design and irreducible complexity
  • The views of John Polkinghorne and Michael Behe
  • Critical Discussion of these views, their strengths and weaknesses

The Moral Argument

  • Introduction to the Moral Argument
  • The Moral Argument from Kant
  • The moral argument from Kant, including his concept of the ‘summum bonum’ and his inferences about innate moral awareness;
  • Challenges from Freud
  • Freud’s challenges to the moral argument, his view that moral awareness comes from sources other than God

Summer Half Term 1

The Ontological Argument

  • Introduction: The Ontological argument from Anselm
  • Anselm’s understanding of God as a being than which nothing greater can be conceived. Challenge from Gaunilo
  • Gaunilo’s analogy of the island in On Behalf of the Fool The Ontological Argument from Anselm
  • His understanding of the differences between contingent and necessary existence
  • The Ontological argument from Descartes
  • Descartes understanding of existence as a perfection which God cannot lack Challenge from Kant
  • Kant’s argument that existence is not a predicate

Summer Half Term 2

Candidates will be given time to undertake a period of revision and examination preparation. On all units of study candidates should be able to discuss these areas critically and their strengths and weaknesses and comment on views of different thinkers.

AS Ethics

Autumn Half Term 1

Ethical Theories

  • Absolute and relative morality
  • Absolute and objective
  • Relativist and subjective
  • Deontological and teleological

Natural Law

  • Origins of Aquinas’ Natural Law in Aristotle’s idea of purpose.
  • Aquinas’ ideas of purpose and perfection.
  • Use of reason to discover Natural Law.
  • Primary and Secondary Precepts.
  • Evaluating Natural Law

Autumn Half Term 2

Kantian Ethics

  • Kant’s theory of duty
  • Kant’s ideas of the moral law, good will and summum bonum
  • Difference between the Categorical and Hypothetical imperatives.
  • Kant’s understanding of the universalisation of maxims
  • The various formulations of the Categorical imperative.
  • Evaluation of Kantian Ethics

Spring Half Term 1

Utilitarianism

  • The principle of Utility.
  • The classical forms of Util. from Bentham. The Hedonic Calculus.
  • The classical forms of Util. from Mill. Differences between Bentham and Mill. Higher and lower pleasures, quantity Vs quality, Act and Rule Util.
  • Preference Util. of Peter Singer.
  • Evaluate Utilitarianism

Spring Half Term 2

Religious Ethics – A Study Of The Ethics Of The Religion Chosen By Candidate

  • The main ethical principles of the religion studies and how followers of the religion make ethical decisions.
  • The ways in which religion and morality may be seem to be linked or be seen as separate from each other.
  • How far morality may be seen as dependant on God, (Devine Command Theory)
  • How far religious ethics may be seen as absolutist or relativist.
  • How ethical theories may be considered religious. (e.g. Natural Law, Situation Ethics)

Applied Ethics:  Abortion; Right To A Child

  • The concept of ‘sanctity of life’ and how it applies to abortion
  • The concepts of personhood as applied to abortion
  • The right to life as applied to abortion and the rights of all those involved
  • The issues of infertility and the right to a child
  • Whether a child is a gift or a right

Summer Half Term 1

Applied Ethics: Euthanasia

  • The concept of ‘Sanctity of life’ and how it applies to euthanasia
  • The concept of ‘Quality of Life’ and how it applies to euthanasia
  • The right to life as applied to euthanasia
  • The application and different approaches of Util, N.L Kant, S.E and religious ethics to euthanasia

Applied Ethics: Genetic Engineering And Human Embryo Research

  • The ethical questions raised by the different types of genetic engineering / human embryo research
  • The concept of ‘Sanctity of life’ and how it applies to Genetic engineering and human embryo research
  • The application and different approaches of Utilitarianism N.L Kant, S.E and religious ethics to genetic engineering and human embryo research

Applied Ethics: War And Peace

  • The principles of ‘Just War’ and its application.
  • The theories of ethical and religious pacifism.
  • The application and different approaches of Utilitarianism N.L Kant, S.E and religious ethics to war and peace

Summer Half Term 2

Candidates will be given time to undertake a period of revision and examination preparation. On all units of study candidates should be able to discuss these areas critically and their strengths and weaknesses and comment on views of different thinkers.