A level Philosophy scheme of work




A2 (modular)



Philosophy A2

Scheme of Work

Section Topic Essay Syllabus
1 Mind and body Describe dualism. The mind–body problem: What is the relationship between the mental and the physical? 
2 Substance dualism Assess the indivisibility argument. Dualism: the mind is distinct from the physical 
3 Eliminative materialism Do mental states exist? Eliminative materialism: some or all mental states do not exist (folk-psychology is false or at least radically misleading). 
4 Identity theory Can brain states have the same properties as thoughts? Mind–brain type identity theory: all mental states are identical to brain states (‘ontological’ reduction) although ‘mental state’ and ‘brain state’ are not synonymous (so not an ‘analytic’ reduction). 
5 Behaviourism Can mental states be described adequately? Logical/analytical behaviourism: all statements about mental states can be analytically reduced without loss of meaning to statements about behaviour (an ‘analytic’ reduction). 
6 Functionalism Can qualia be inverted in functional twins? Functionalism: all mental states can be reduced to functional roles which can be multiply realised. 
7 Property dualism What are qualia? Qualia as introspectively accessible subjective/phenomenal features of mental states (the properties of ‘what it is like’ to undergo the mental state in question) –
for many qualia would be defined as the intrinsic/non-representational properties of mental states. 
8 Knowledge arguments How far do knowledge arguments support dualism? The ‘knowledge’/Mary argument for property dualism based on qualia (Frank Jackson). 
9 Causation and solipsism Can body and mind interact? The issues of causal interaction for versions of dualism: The problem of other minds for dualism 
10 Dualisms Does the notion of philosophical zombies lead to any conclusion? The ‘philosophical zombies’ argument for property dualism: the logical possibility of a physical duplicate of this world but without consciousness/qualia (Chalmers). 
11 Mind-body theories What is the relation of the mind-body theories studied? Materialism: the mind is not ontologically distinct from the physical. 
12 Materialism Can materialism ever be an adequate account? Materialism: the mind is not ontologically distinct from the physical. 
13 Dualisms Evaluate the conceivability argument. The conceivability argument for substance dualism: the logical possibility of mental substance existing without the physical (Descartes). 
14 Utilitarianism What is Ethics? Utilitarianism: the maximisation of utility 
15 Bentham and Mill What is the advantage of Mill over Bentham? the question of what is meant by ‘pleasure’, including Mill’s higher and lower pleasures 

how this might be calculated, including Bentham’s utility calculus 

16 Issues with utilitarianism How practical is utlitarianism? forms of utilitarianism: act and rule utilitarianism; preference utilitarianism. 
17 Deontological ethics Explain the place and role of categorical imperative in Kant’s ethics. Kantian deontological ethics: what maxims can be universalised without contradiction 
18 Kantianism Does Kantianism work as a source of practical ethical guidance? the categorical and hypothetical imperatives 

the categorical imperative – first and second formulations. 

19 Issues with duty-based ethics Can there be clashing duties? Issues for Kantian deontological ethics
20 Virtue ethics Evaluate the virtue ethics approach. Aristotle’s virtue ethics: the development of a good character 
21 Aristotle’s ethics Is Aristotle too specific to his world? ‘the good’: pleasure; the function argument and eudaimonia 

• the role of education/habituation in developing a moral character 

• voluntary and involuntary actions and moral responsibility 

• the doctrine of the mean and Aristotle’s account of vices and virtues. 

22 Issues with virtue ethics Assess the problem of guidance for virtue ethics. Issues for virtue ethics
23 Practical ethical questions: crime and punishment; war; simulated killing Which ethical system best deals with questions of life and death? Students must be able to critically apply the theories above to the following issues:

crime and punishment; war; simulated killing

24 Practical ethical questions: treatment of animals; deception Compare the approach to deception in different ethical theories. Students must be able to critically apply the theories above to the following issues:

the treatment of animals; deception and the telling of lies

25 Ethical language Is naturalism adequate in ethics? Ethical language: What is the status of ethical language? 
26 Cognitivism Is ethical language meaningless? Cognitivism: ethical language makes claims about reality which are true or false (fact-stating) 

Non-cognitivism: ethical language does not make claims about reality which are true or false (fact-stating) 

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