Religion & Philosophy
A lively and vibrant place of discovery and learning, encouraging open-mindedness and free thinking.
At all levels, pupils who participate in Religious and Philosophical Studies are encouraged to think for themselves, learn from each other and develop opinions which are both informed and respectful of all beliefs.
From Transitus to Fifth Year, pupils are taught core Religious Education for one period per week. Beginning in Transitus, pupils receive a grounding in the largest world religions including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism, while First Year introduces learners to basic philosophical skills in a course entitled 'Arguments For and Against the Existence of God'.
In Second Year, pupils focus on 'Climate Change and Religion', including a case study on the Amazon Rainforest and the work of David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, as well as looking at what Christians and Hindus teach us about the role of humans in the natural world.
Third Year pupils delve into the topic, 'Science vs Belief', looking at whether there is reason to believe in ghosts or aliens but also investigating religious and non-religious reasons to believe in God and the afterlife.
Fourth Year again leans towards the philosophical, with topics including 'Free Will' and 'Justice' investigating whether humans are responsible for their actions and what affects the ability to choose differently, using real life criminal case studies to examine these concepts. Our Fourth Year cohort also study 'Just War' theories - what makes a war just or unjust - as well as investigating terrorism and pacifism, examining the role of religion in global conflict. At this stage, pupils can also gain SCQF credits through participating in a research project.
Fifth Year pupils delve deep into moral questions as they look at 'Utilitarianism and Medical Ethics', dealing with emotive and challenging topics such as euthanasia, abortion, organ donation and genetic engineering.
The department runs a Higher Philosophy course that covers the topics 'Arguments in Action', 'Moral Philosophy' and 'Knowledge and Doubt'. The rationale of the course is to encourage the ability of candidates to engage with abstract thought, gaining insight into the ideas of others and developing a range of skills such as analysing arguments and presenting ideas in a respectful and logical manner.