Study Philosophy with our Oxford Summer School 2017 | Students aged 16-18
Class Summary

This summer Philosophy course has been designed to offer our brightest learners the opportunity to study challenging topics which rarely features in the school curriculum. It is unusual for Philosophy to be offered as a school subject, yet this ancient and venerated discipline (dating back to the 6th Century BCE) provides students with valuable transferable skills.

Students will be introduced to the four main branches of analytic philosophy – logic, metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics – and will have the opportunity to analyse and debate some of life’s most fundamental questions with their peers: “What makes an action right or wrong?”; “How can we trust our senses?”; “What is truth?”; “What defines the human mind?”. The class serves more as an introduction to analytic philosophy, as studied at most major English-speaking universities, although some discussion of religious systems will be encouraged under the umbrella of metaphysics. Students will also get the chance to explore the philosophy of science.

The course offers transferable skills including the identification of fallacies in argument, formal debate and discussion skills, confident presentation to a group, and essay-writing. Students are encouraged to express their opinions in a clear and respectful manner, and to remain open-minded and considerate when faced with opposition. The class will be assessed by a logic exercise, a short essay and a presentation, thereby giving students the opportunity to demonstrate their particular strengths and skills acquired. All out teachers hold at minimum a Master’s-level qualification in Philosophy, and will be more than happy to talk through university applications, how best to pursue further studies in the subject, and the job prospects available for Philosophy graduates.

The course will focus primarily on the students’ practical implementation of philosophical thought, logic, and arguments. However, this will be informed and underpinned by a grounding in the history of Philosophy; the viewpoints of famous philosophers will be discussed and analysed alongside students’ suggestions. All classes emphasise a democratic approach in which everyone will get the chance to express and debate their opinion.

Expectations/Prerequisites

No previous knowledge of philosophy is presumed.  It is, however, essential that each student is willing to consider all arguments seriously and on their merits; to question their own beliefs and values; and to give and receive constructive criticism. Students with some prior knowledge of philosophy will be encouraged to share it with their peers in the class discussions.

Suggested Reading

Students who wish to undertake some preliminary reading are advised to read Jostein Gaarder’s book Sophie’s World, though this is not compulsory.