Philosophy at Forest School

Head of Department: Ms R Mackie

Socrates claimed that the “unexamined life is not worth living”. It is in this spirit that philosophers have explored fundamental questions about the nature of knowledge, reality and the human person through logical reasoning and argument.

Philosophy introduces us to key ideas and thinkers that have shaped our view of the world today. We discuss if our ideas about right and wrong are simply emotional responses to the world or if there are any moral facts we can discover. Are we simply biological machines or is there something mysterious about consciousness that we will never be able to explain. How is it that we know physical objects exist? What do we actually mean by “know”?

Our rich learning opportunities can include: 

  • A level lectures from renowned Philosophers and Theologians such as AC Grayling, William Lane Craig and Rowan Williams
  • Opportunities to explore new topics and develop your debating skills at Philosophy Society (A level) and Socratic Dialogue Society (KS3 and GCSE)

A-level Overview

The AQA A Level in Philosophy qualification enables students to:

  • Understand the main philosophical arguments within topics, through the works of philosophers
  • Articulate Philosophical arguments in appropriate forms, correctly, clearly and precisely
  • Understand the ways in which philosophical arguments are developed, issues are raised, and arguments are reformulated in response to those issues
  • Understand the similarities and differences between the forms of reasoning used in different philosophical content areas, including the similarities and differences between different kinds of knowledge
  • Generate responses using appropriate philosophical formats, to a range of philosophical questions. These responses must include: articulating definitions; articulating arguments and counter-arguments; and selecting, applying and evaluating appropriate material to generate their own arguments

Assessment at A-level

A Level:

  • Paper 1: Epistemology and Moral Philosophy – Written examination (3 hours) – 50% of total mark A Level Philosophy
  • Paper 2: Metaphysics of God and Metaphysics of Mind – Written examination (3 hours) – 50% of total mark

How can Philosophy change the world?

Study of Philosophy inspires you to really think about deep questions or truths that we often simply take for granted. It allows a space to reflect on what we really mean by concepts like “mind”, “knowledge”, “God” and “good”.

Though it is a subject that promotes discussion and debate, it is not just about arguing your view forcefully: it is about examining and questioning beliefs and trying to really understand other perspectives (even when they might seem obviously wrong to you!). It will lead you to question things that you have taken for granted, but also might be the chance to examine and really analyse that random thought you’ve always had (does everyone see the same red that I see? Or does a tomato to them look like what I see when I look at grass?). It will allow you to think carefully about logical reasoning and be more aware of the assumptions and flawed arguments that characterise much of what we hear in day to day life. Sometimes it will definitely make your brain hurt.