Philosophy is a subject available in the sixth form only as part of the International Baccalaureate. The emphasis of the Diploma Programme philosophy course is on “doing philosophy”, that is, on actively engaging students in philosophical activity. The course is focused on stimulating students’ intellectual curiosity and encouraging them to examine both their own perspectives and those of others. Students are challenged to develop their own philosophical voice and to grow into independent thinkers, in addition to engaging with some of the world’s most interesting and influential thinkers. The course also develops highly transferable skills such as the ability to formulate arguments clearly, to make reasoned judgments and to evaluate highly complex and multifaceted issues.
In this course, we introduce students to key philosophical arguments and topics. We give students the skills required to justify their own viewpoints through reasoned argument. They have opportunities to read primary texts and to consider the key ideas raised by great philosophers of the past. We have engaging and exciting programmes of study. Students become increasingly familiar with key philosophical terminology and concepts. Our teaching encourages the development and continual refinement of key skills; acquiring knowledge, how to structure an argument, evaluating counter-arguments, extended writing and analysing philosophical texts. These skills provide the foundation for success. Students are given the opportunity to practise these skills through a range of activities, including role play and debate. Students also can develop their research skills through the internal assessment (IA). Students learn to apply their philosophical knowledge and skills to real-life situations and to explore how non-philosophical material can be treated in a philosophical way.
Students develop and build upon their prior knowledge and skills at all levels to justify their own viewpoints; teachers constantly reference prior learning and help students to understand the reasoning behind their statements and assertions. Students consider ultimate questions, which gives students an opportunity to think about issues that they possibly don’t get to think about in their other subjects. As philosophers they are challenged to support their views with reasoned premises, constructing arguments that are logically valid and sound. Students should finish the course with an enhanced ability to apply philosophical tools such as critical and systematic thinking, careful analysis, and construction of arguments when they address abstract questions.