Talk by Dr Naomi Goulder September 2013
The Sixth Form Philosophy students got the term off to a great start with a fascinating talk by Dr Naomi Goulder of the New College of Humanities. Dr Goulder spoke on the topic of Morality v Ethics. The Philosophy students really enjoyed her thought-provoking ideas and we would like to thank Dr Goulder very much for her time.
Oxford Philosophy Conference 2011
Sixth Form Philosophy students attended a conference at St Edward’s School this November. The conference was organised by the A-level Philosophy Departments of Oxford High School, St Edward’s School and Magdalen College School. We organised the conference specifically for sixth formers following the AQA Philosophy specification. Students heard lectures given by Professor Adrian Moore (Oxford University), Dr Anita Avramides (Oxford University), Dr Severin Schroeder (Reading University) and Dr Julian Baggini (journalist). Our girls really enjoyed the lectures on Kant, Wittgenstein, other minds and the value of philosophy. Many thanks to Robert Fletcher.
Cheltenham Conference 2011
In January the AS Philosophy group attended a conference in Cheltenham. Philosophers Stephen Law and Keith Ward spoke about the Problem of Evil and Suffering. It was a really useful day for all concerned.
Programme of Work
(AS) 117 (A-level) 2171
We are excited about offering Philosophy as a separate Sixth Form subject at Oxford High School. Philosophy as a component of Religious Studies has always proved to be fun, both for students and teachers, but we have always been aware that some girls do not take it because they did not want to do the theology part of that course. Also, many of our students go on to combine Philosophy and Religious Studies/Theology at university and we think it would be an excellent combination at A level as well. So now you can combine both subjects, or just take the one you want.
THE AS YEAR
Papers One & Two:
During Year 12 students will focus on six topics.
Reason and experience (a compulsory question on the first examination paper): Students will be taught three main concepts about experience – is it something we obtain through our senses? – are there things we just know? – how much does experience rely on a predetermined conceptual scheme or framework?
The idea of God? Students will be introduced to the Philosophy of Religion by exploring three aspects of the nature of God – the attributes of God – the ontological argument for the existence of God – where the idea of God comes from.
Why should I be moral? Students will be introduced to Ethics by looking at ideas of – social contract – self interest – conformity.
God and the World: Students understanding of the Philosophy of Religion will be developed by investigating – arguments for and from design – the problem of evil – criticisms of religion.
Knowledge of the external world: Students will explore three major views about the nature of reality – realism – representative realism – idealism.
Free will and determinism: Students will explore this question which has fascinated free thinkers for thousands of years – what is determinism? – what is free will? – what are the implications of these?
Students will be examined by two one hour and a half papers.
THE A2 YEAR
Key Themes in Philosophy
In Year 13 students will develop their understanding of three key themes in Philosophy.
Philosophy of mind: This theme raises both metaphysical and epistemological questions concerning the mind. What is mind? What is its place in nature? What is mental? What is physical?
Epistemology and metaphysics: Looks at scepticism, the nature of belief and knowledge, and the relationship between mind and knowledge.
Philosophy of religion: cosmological arguments, arguments from experience, faith, miracles and critiques of religion.
This will be examined by a two hour examination paper.
This paper will provide a superb opportunity to explore, at first hand, a famous philosopher and his ideas: Plato. This module gives students the chance to demonstrate the skills they have learnt throughout the course. Plato was arguably the Classical World’s greatest philosopher. Students will look at three passages from his greatest work The Republic. Students will focus on his ideas about reality, political leaders and morality.
This module is examined by a one and a half hour paper.
Mr Packard was appointed Head of Department in September 2010. He is also Head of Religious Studies and Head of Sixth Form General Studies. Mr Packard studied Philosophy of Religion in both the Philosophy and Religious Studies Departments at Lancaster University. His tutors were Colin Lyas (Philosophy Department) and Ninian Smart (Religious Studies Department).
Ms Pallas-Brown was appointed to the Department in September 2010. She is also Head of Sixth Form at Oxford High School and teaches Religious Studies. Ms Pallas-Brown was Head of Philosophy at Cherwell College where she taught the AQA specification. She read Literae Humaniores at Oxford University, studying Ancient Greek Philosophy, Ethics, Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of Language.