Headteacher’s Newsletter – Friday 1st December 2023
Philosophy and Theology is a unique A Level subject that helps students to “know thyself”, recognise the philosophical assumptions of their other subjects and provide different frameworks for integrating the humanities, sciences and arts in a unified whole.
The Tiffin Philosophy and Theology A Level is taught as a survey course covering the history of Western metaphysics, epistemology and ethics from the time before Socrates to our own (from the “Presocratics to the Postmoderns”). Political philosophy, moral philosophy, applied ethics (business ethics, sexual ethics, etc.), philosophy of science, anthropology, theology, psychology and the philosophy of mind are some of the main themes of the course. In Year 12 we study foundational scholars from antiquity, medieval and early modern periods such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume and Kant. In Year 13 we study more advanced topics with reference to 20th and 21st century philosophers, thinkers and movements including Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Marxism, Logical Positivism, Pragmatism, Psychoanalysis (Freud), Existentialism (Sartre and De Beauvoir) and Radical Orthodoxy.
The course is linear and formally assessed at the end of two years study. In addition to take home essays, we also have timed mock exams at the end of Year 12 and in the Spring term of Year 13.
In order to assist the UCAS process, students use departmentally developed booklets (designed especially for Oxbridge applicants). For a number of years we have been invited by academics from the University of Oxford to attend undergraduate style seminars designed especially for Tiffin students. We also intend to visit notable centres of philosophical, theological and cultural interest.
Many go on to study philosophy, politics and economics in PPE courses, double degrees (Philosophy with Physics, etc.) or as standalone subjects.