Philosophy for AS and A Level: Epistemology and Moral Philosophy

Philosophy for AS and A Level: Epistemology and Moral Philosophy

By: Michael Lacewing (author)Paperback

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Philosophy for AS and A Level is an accessible textbook for the new 2017 AQA Philosophy syllabus. Structured closely around the AQA specification this textbook covers the two units shared by the AS and A Level, Epistemology and Moral Philosophy, in an engaging and student-friendly way. With chapters on 'How to do philosophy', exam preparation providing students with the philosophical skills they need to succeed, and an extensive glossary to support understanding, this book is ideal for students studying philosophy. Each chapter includes: argument maps that help to develop student's analytical and critical skills comprehension questions to test understanding discussion questions to generate evaluative argument explanation and commentary on the AQA set texts `Thinking harder' sections cross-references to help students make connections bullet-point summaries of each topic. The companion website hosts a wealth of further resources, including PowerPoint slides, flashcards, further reading, weblinks and handouts, all structured to accompany the textbook. It can be found at

About Author

Michael Lacewing is a teacher of philosophy and theology at Christ's Hospital school, and a former Reader in Philosophy and Vice-Principal Academic at Heythrop College, University of London. He is founder of the company A Level Philosophy (, and advises the British Philosophical Association on matters related to philosophy in schools.


Contents Permissions Introduction How to use this book How to do philosophy Following the syllabus Additional features Using the anthology Glossary Companion website and further resources Acknowledgements 1 How to do philosophy Philosophical argument Deductive argument Inductive argument Hypothetical reasoning Understanding arguments and argument maps Evaluating arguments Evaluating claims An aside: why reason? Fallacies Reading philosophy Approaching the text Engaging with the text Beyond the text Writing philosophy What you need to know Planning an essay Writing an essay A standard essay structure General advice 2 Epistemology I. What is knowledge? A. Knowledge and its definition Types of knowledge Propositional knowledge The definition of knowledge The purpose and nature of definition Can propositional knowledge be defined? Key points: knowledge and its definition B. The tripartite view The tripartite definition of knowledge Why justified true belief? Thinking harder: A note on certainty Are the conditions individually necessary? Justification is not a necessary condition of knowledge Truth is not a necessary condition of knowledge Belief is not a necessary condition of knowledge Gettier's objection: are the conditions jointly sufficient? Key points: the tripartite view C. Responses Add a `no false lemmas' condition (J+T+B+N) Infallibilism Thinking harder: rejecting the argument for infallibilism Reliabilism (R+T+B) Truth and the third condition Virtue epistemology (V+T+B) Zagzebski's analysis of knowledge Key points: Responses Summary: What is knowledge? II. Perception as a source of knowledge A. Direct realism The argument from perceptual variation Responses The argument from illusion Thinking harder: the argument from hallucination The disjunctive theory of perception The time-lag argument Thinking harder: direct realism and openness Key points: direct realism B. Indirect realism What are sense-data? Why indirect realism? Locke's distinction between primary and secondary qualities Scepticism about the existence of mind-independent objects The existence of the external world is the best hypothesis Two supporting arguments Thinking harder: the existence of mind-independent objects is not a hypothesis Representation, resemblance and the nature of physical objects Berkeley's argument that mind-dependent ideas cannot be like mind-independent objects Key points: indirect realism C. Berkeley's idealism Berkeley on primary and secondary qualities Berkeley on secondary qualities Berkeley's attack on the primary/secondary quality distinction The immediate objects of perception are mind-dependent objects Three arguments against mind-independent objects Berkeley's `master' argument Idealism and God Thinking harder: idealism and the cause of our perceptions Issues with Berkeley's idealism Problems with the role played by God in Berkeley's idealism Arguments from illusion and hallucination Idealism leads to solipsism Key points: Berkeley's idealism Summary: perception as a source of knowledge III. Reason as a source of knowledge Rationalism, empiricism and innatism A priori/a posteriori knowledge Analytic/synthetic propositions Necessary/contingent truth Defining rationalism, empiricism and innatism Key points: rationalism, empiricism and innatism A. Innatism Two arguments for innate knowledge Plato's slave boy argument Leibniz on knowledge of necessary truths Locke's arguments against innate knowledge Leibniz's response to Locke Thinking harder: experience triggers innate knowledge Alternative empiricist accounts Locke's argument against innate concepts Rejecting Locke's definition of `innate concept' Leibniz's defence of innate concepts The mind as a `tabula rasa' Locke's two sources of concepts Hume on impressions and ideas Simple and complex concepts Issues with the empiricist theory of concepts Thinking harder: challenging the copy principle Leibniz on `intellectual ideas' Thinking harder: the concept of substance Discussion Key points: innatism B. The intuition and deduction thesis Rationalism and empiricism revisited The meaning of `intuition' and `deduction' Empiricist alternatives Hume's fork Descartes' theory of rational intuition The cogito Clear and distinct ideas Empiricist responses to the cogito Clear and distinct ideas and God Descartes' Trademark argument Thinking harder: degrees of reality Empiricist responses to the Trademark argument Descartes' cosmological argument Empiricist responses to Descartes' cosmological argument Descartes' ontological argument Empiricist responses to Descartes' ontological argument Descartes' proof of the external world The concept of a physical object Thinking harder: The existence of physical objects Empiricist responses to Descartes' proof of the external world Key points: the intuition and deduction thesis Summary: reason as a source of knowledge IV. The limits of knowledge A. Philosophical scepticism The particular nature of philosophical scepticism Am I a brain in a vat? The distinction between philosophical scepticism and normal incredulity Local and global scepticism Descartes' sceptical arguments Key points: philosophical scepticism B. Responses to scepticism Descartes' own response Empiricist responses Thinking harder: Direct realism Thinking harder: Reliabilism Key points: responses to scepticism Summary: the limits of knowledge 3 Moral Philosophy I. Normative ethical theories A. Utilitarianism Bentham's quantitative hedonistic utilitarianism `The Principle of Utility' `Measuring Pleasure and Pain' Mill on utilitarianism Mill's qualitative hedonistic utilitarianism Is pleasure the only good? Smart on hedonistic and non-hedonistic utilitarianism Nozick's experience machine Preference utilitarianism Mill's `proof' of utilitarianism Stage 1: Happiness is good Stage 2: Only happiness is good Issues for (act) utilitarianism Problems with calculation Fairness, individual liberty and rights Partiality Moral integrity and the individual's intentions Rule utilitarianism Smart on rule utilitarianism Rule utilitarianism developed Objections Key points: utilitarianism B. Kantian deontological ethics Deontology Kant's account of the good will and duty The good will The distinction between acting in accordance with duty and acting out of duty Thinking harder: The good will again The categorical imperative Hypothetical and categorical imperatives Thinking harder: Contradiction in conception and contradiction in will The second formulation of the Categorical Imperative Issues for Kantian deontological ethics Universalisability and morality Conflicts between duties The view that consequences of actions determine their moral value Morality is a system of hypothetical imperatives The value of certain motives Key points: Kantian deontological ethics C. Aristotelian virtue ethics The good for human beings Eudaimonia Final ends The function argument Testing the analysis Thinking harder: the rational `soul' Aristotle's account of virtues Virtues as character traits Virtues, the doctrine of the mean and the importance of feelings The role of education in the development of a moral character Practical wisdom The role of practical wisdom The relation between practical wisdom, virtue and action Key points: Aristotelian virtue ethics (I) Eudaimonia, pleasure and philosophy Eudaimonia and pleasure Eudaimonia and philosophy Voluntary action, choice and moral responsibility Voluntary and involuntary actions Choice and deliberation Thinking harder: moral responsibility Justice Issues for Aristotelian virtue ethics Guidance on how to act Conflicts between virtues The possibility of circularity involved in defining virtuous acts and virtuous people in terms of each other Thinking harder: Virtue and eudaimonia Key points: Aristotelian virtue ethics (II) Summary: normative ethical theories II. Applied ethics Stealing Utilitarianism Kantian deontology Aristotelian virtue ethics Eating animals Utilitarianism Kantian deontology Aristotle, Diamond and virtue ethics Simulated killing Playing the killer An audience's perspective Telling lies Utilitarianism Kantian deontology Aristotelian virtue ethics Key points: applied ethics Summary: applied ethics III. Metaethics What is metaethics? The origins of moral principles: reason, emotion/attitudes, or society The distinction between cognitivism and non-cognitivism Key points: The distinction between cognitivism and non-cognitivism A. Moral realism From cognitivism to moral realism Moral naturalism Utilitarianism as naturalism Thinking harder: naturalism in virtue ethics Moral non-naturalism: Moore's intuitionism The naturalistic fallacy The open question argument Thinking harder: is the `naturalistic fallacy' a real fallacy? Intuitionism Objections Issues for moral realism A J Ayer's verification principle The argument from Hume's fork Hume's argument from motivation Hume's is-ought gap Mackie's argument from relativity Mackie's arguments from queerness Key points: moral realism B. Moral anti-realism Error theory Non-cognitivism and moral anti-realism Emotivism Emotivism and subjectivism Ayer's defence Emotivism after Ayer Prescriptivism Prescriptive meaning Good Moral language Issues for moral anti-realism Can moral anti-realism account for how we use moral language? Thinking harder: disagreement and moral argument Whether moral anti-realism becomes moral nihilism Moral progress Key points: moral anti-realism Metaethics and applied ethics Summary: metaethics 4 Preparing for the exam The examination The structure of the exam Assessment objectives Understanding the question: giving the examiners what they are looking for Short-answer questions Nine-mark questions Fifteen-mark questions Revision: it's more than memory Exam technique: getting the best result you can Revision tips Exam tips Glossary (with Joanne Lovesey) Index by syllabus content Subject index

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781138690394
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 458
  • ID: 9781138690394
  • weight: 794
  • ISBN10: 1138690392

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