It is in the pursuit of knowledge and what we can say about our knowledge, that Philosophy is interested. As a discipline, it takes us on a journey where the destination is almost less interesting than the conditions of travel.
As many philosophers have said, this is a subject where questions come easily but answers remain elusive, and the joy - at every level - is in pursuing the right questions. Some of the matters that taxed philosophers years ago have now become the domain of the natural sciences, but many fundamental questions remain: what, for instance, is the 'good life'? Who, or what, am I? Does free will exist? What value is there in art? Do animals, or indeed humans, have rights?
Through Philosophy, pupils learn the importance of reasoned, critical thinking, and of justifying and making logical steps in their arguments, developing skills that underpin so many other disciplines, like mathematics and languages.
At A level, our students are committed to the world of ideas and enjoy sharing that commitment with one another and the teacher. Classes explore some of the great themes of the subject with topics including how we know (Epistemology), what can be said about belief in God (Philosophy of Religion), what it means when we talk about a person having a mind (Philosophy of Mind) and how we talk about behaviour and ethics.
In Year 9, some pupils also enjoy a block of Philosophy lessons as part of an enrichment carousel, undertaking a course that introduces some fascinating philosophical ideas and asks them to think critically and engage in discussion, as they consider issues such as happiness, responsibility, free will, epistemology and politics.
Outside classes, the student-run Philosophy Society puts on lectures and discussions, delivered by students, teachers and outside speakers, with alternative clubs also run for Middle School and Lower School pupils. Many attend the Philosophy and RS Film club and visits to conferences are popular.
Our students go on to study a range of courses at university, equipped with skills of problem-solving and analysis, and a real conceptual grip. Even more importantly, regardless of their destination, they enjoy the intellectual journey itself!