The Richmond Philosophy Pages



Mat Carmody
Steve Grant
Paul Sheehy

Philosophy A2
Philosophy of Mind
Moral Philosophy

Philosophy AS
Reason and Experience
The Idea of God
Why Should I Be Moral?
Free Will
Knowledge of the External World
The Value of Art
God and the World

Critical Thinking
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Welcome to the Richmond philosophy pages!

A2 Exam Revision classes (Summer half-term)!

Paul and Mat will be in college on Thursday 29th and Friday 30th of May for revision classes on mind and ethics. And Descartes, if needed. Classes will be 11-3ish.

Exam Revision Help!

Below are some pages to help you with revision.

AS: General information A2: General information AS 1: Reason & Experience A2 3: Mind AS 1: Why Should I Be Moral? A2 3: Ethics AS 1: The Idea of God A2 4: Descartes AS 2: Knowledge Of The External World AS 2: God and The World


If you are a new AS student or new IB student, then welcome to the course. This web-site contains information about the course and material to help you study. Many of the materials we use in class can be found here as well as extra material and links to other sites to help you pursue philosophy in more depth. By the time you've read this, you should have had your first lesson. To find out more about the course, click here for our course essentials page. Read on for a brief introduction to philosophy and links to other parts of the site.

What is Philosophy?

phil conference s1
Students discussing the problem of the weakness of the will at the end of year AS Philosophy Conference 2009

Literally translated from the Greek, 'philosophy' means 'love of wisdom'. In Ancient Greece, the birthplace of Western philosophy, the philosophers were people who set their minds to solving the fundamental questions about reality and our place in it. What are the things around us made of? What is space and the heavenly bodies in it? Is the reality we perceive with our senses all there is? Are there gods and what are they like? How should we live? What is a just and fair society? What is beauty? What is truth?

Today, we would say that some of these questions fall into more specialised areas of study. For example, physicists investigate the structure of matter and astronomers study the heavens. Yet these divisions are relatively recent. Originally, the philosopher was subject to no restrictions on the questions he could ask. What made him a philosopher was the approach he undertook. He looked for a systematic explanation of why things are as they are. He would not take things at face value but look for deeper causes. He would use reason and argument to lay out his theory. He would welcome discussion and criticism with others. Philosophy, like science, is a collective enterprise in search of objective truths.

The philosopher today continues to ask fundamental questions about reality and our place in it. On this website, you will find resources to help you study philosophy. To find out more about what philosophy is, click on Philosophy Introduced below. But why should you study philosophy?

phil conference s2
Two students debate whether we can know anything at the end of year AS Philosophy Conference 2009

Why Study Philosophy?

By studying philosophy you will gain many important practical skills. You will learn different ways of thinking. You will learn how to analyse, argue and assemble your thoughts in a coherent way. Yet, as we hope you will realise, these are not the main reasons. By studying philosophy, you will study some of the most fundamental questions that human beings have ever asked. You will thereby gain an appreciation of the value of gaining knowledge not because of its immediate practical consequences but because it is exciting, interesting and valuable just to have knowledge for its own sake. We have extremely powerful minds and are enormously curious beings and we should enjoy both our ability to wonder about the universe we find ourselves in and the challenge of knowing ever more about it.


Below are links to topic areas on the AQA syllabus. There are also links that will take you beyond the confines of the course and some advice on how to do philosophy. Please also visit the Richmond Journal of Philosophy where you can read articles on philosophical topics written by professional philosophers.

You can also join the Philosophy Society which puts on talks by staff and students each week. We also have a Facebook Group on which you can post questions of a philosophical nature. Recent experience has shown that it's particularly useful during revision time!

Reason and Experience
(AS 1)
Why Should
I Be Moral?
(AS 1)
(AS 1)
of the
External World
(AS 2)
(AS 2)
(AS 2)
The Value
of Art
(AS 2)
God and the World
(AS 2)
(A2 3)
of Mind
(A2 3)
Philosophy Introduced Philosophy: Some History How To Do
Recommended Reading Course
IB Philosophy
World Development Philosophy
© COPYRIGHT 2007-13 Matthew Carmody and Paul Sheehy.