Are these books too advanced for A-level Philosophy? Watch

Lostx
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Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
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gjd800
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It depends what you will be assessed on, right? The Nietzsche book is an easy read (though a bit dull). The Marx is more of a slog.
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Lostx
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(Original post by gjd800)
It depends what you will be assessed on, right? The Nietzsche book is an easy read (though a bit dull). The Marx is more of a slog.
Beyond Good and Evil is on the syllabus, but the Marx book isn’t. How stupid of me!
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gjd800
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(Original post by Lostx)
Beyond Good and Evil is on the syllabus, but the Marx book isn’t. How stupid of me!
BGE is fine, a nice book. If you find it a bit of hard work, then the Genealogy of Morals contains the basics and is very short. But yeah, it's great reading this stuff (and I always encourage it), but focus on the stuff you will be assessed on first!
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Joe312
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Are you sure beyond good and evil is on the spec? I can't see it anywhere.
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Lostx
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I didn't realise this was for the old specification, but it does say Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil is recommended reading.


Old A2-level Philosophy Tuition
The AQA's A2 previous level philosophy enabled candidates to develop further their understanding of key philosophical concepts, themes, texts and techniques. A2 candidates are given the opportunity to specialise by selecting two key themes to study in depth and focusing on philosophical problems through the study of a chosen key text.

The A2 level also comprises two units. The first is divided into five key themes, the second into five philosophical texts:

Key Themes in Philosophy (PHIL 3)

Philosophy of mind
Political philosophy
Epistemology and metaphysics
Moral philosophy
Philosophy of religion
Philosophical Problems (PHIL 4)

Hume: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
Plato: The Republic
Mill: On Liberty
Descartes: Meditations
Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil


http://philosophytutor.net/a-level-p...hy-tutor.shtml
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Joe312
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(Original post by Lostx)
I didn't realise this was for the old specification, but it does say Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil is recommended reading.


Old A2-level Philosophy Tuition
The AQA's A2 previous level philosophy enabled candidates to develop further their understanding of key philosophical concepts, themes, texts and techniques. A2 candidates are given the opportunity to specialise by selecting two key themes to study in depth and focusing on philosophical problems through the study of a chosen key text.

The A2 level also comprises two units. The first is divided into five key themes, the second into five philosophical texts:

Key Themes in Philosophy (PHIL 3)

Philosophy of mind
Political philosophy
Epistemology and metaphysics
Moral philosophy
Philosophy of religion
Philosophical Problems (PHIL 4)

Hume: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
Plato: The Republic
Mill: On Liberty
Descartes: Meditations
Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil


http://philosophytutor.net/a-level-p...hy-tutor.shtml
That is the old-old specification that I actually took like 10 years ago. I did Nietzsche and loved it! Unfortunately, there's nothing to be gained from reading it for the new specification except if you're already the most well-read student and have read everything that is relevant.
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Lostx
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(Original post by Joe312)
That is the old-old specification that I actually took like 10 years ago. I did Nietzsche and loved it! Unfortunately, there's nothing to be gained from reading it for the new specification except if you're already the most well-read student and have read everything that is relevant.
Please can you let me know which books are best to read for the AQA A-level Philosophy course?
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zeddiful42
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There's no need to read full books to get high grades IMO. Especially so close to exams (assuming you're in Year 13), I wouldn't bother.
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Joe312
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Berkeley, George (1713), Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous
Descartes, René (1641), Meditations on First Philosophy, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Gettier, Edmund (1963), ‘Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?’ Analysis, 23(6): 121–123
Hume, David (1748), An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Section 2 and Section 4 (part
1)
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm (1705), New Essays on Human Understanding, Preface and Book 1
Locke, John (1690), An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book 1 (esp. Chapter 2), Book
2 (esp. Chapters 1, 2, 8 and 14), Book 4 (esp. Chapter 11)
Plato, Meno, from 81e
Russell, Bertrand (1912), The Problems of Philosophy, Chapters 1, 2
Trotter Cockburn, Catharine (1732), (attrib) ‘A Letter from an anonymous writer to the author of the
Minute Philosopher’ Appendix to G Berkeley Theory of Vision Vindicated and Explained
12 Visit aqa.org.uk/7172 for the most up-to-date ȕDZƁŤƲƙŤÖȥƲǜǒů resources, support and administration
Zagzebski, Linda (1999), ‘What is Knowledge?’ in John Greco & Ernest Sosa (eds.), The Blackwell
Guide to Epistemology 92 –116



Annas, Julia (2006), 'Virtue Ethics', in David Copp (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory,
Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 515–536
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics: Books 1 (1–5, 7–10, 13), 2 (1–7), 3 (1–5), 5, 6 (1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13),
7 (12–13), 10 (1–8)
Ayer, Alfred J (1973/1991), The Central Questions of Philosophy, London, Penguin, 22–29 and
Ayer, AJ (1946), Language, Truth and Logic, 2nd Edition, New York, Dover, (esp. Chapters 1 and
6)
Bentham, Jeremy (1789), Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Oxford,
Clarendon Press. Chapter 1 (The Principle of Utility) and Chapter 4 (Measuring Pleasure and Pain)
Diamond, Cora (1978), ‘Eating Meat and Eating People’ Philosophy 53: 465–479
Foot, Philippa (1972), ‘Morality as a system of hypothetical imperatives.’ Philosophical Review, vol
81, issue 3, 305–316.
Hare, Richard M (1952) The Language of Morals, Chapters 1, 5, 7, 10.2
Hume, David (1739–40), Treatise of Human Nature, Book III, Part 1
Kant, Immanuel (1785), Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Chapters 1 and 2
Mackie, John L (1977), Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, Penguin, Chapter 1, Sections 8 and 9
Mill, John Stuart (1863), Utilitarianism, Chapters 1, 2, 4, 5
Moore, George E (1903), Principia Ethica, Cambridge University Press, Sections 6–14
Smart, Jack J C & Williams, Bernard (1973), Utilitarianism: For and Against, Chapter 2 (Act
utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism) and Chapter 3 (Hedonistic and non-hedonistic utilitarianism)



Anselm, Proslogium, Chapters II–IV and Gaunilo, from the appendix to Anselm’s Proslogium
Aquinas, Thomas, Summa Theologica, Part 1, Question 25, Article 3 and Question 2, Article 3
Ayer, Alfred J (1973/1991), The Central Questions of Philosophy, London, Penguin, 22–29 and
Ayer, AJ (1946), Language, Truth and Logic, 2nd Edition, New York, Dover, (Chapters 1 and 6)
Descartes, René (1641), Meditations on First Philosophy, 3 and 5
Flew, Antony, Richard M Hare and Basil Mitchell (1955), ‘Theology and Falsification’ in New
Essays in Philosophical Theology, edited by Antony Flew and Alasdair MacIntyre, London, SMC
Press
Hick, John (1966/1978), Evil and the God of Love, New York, Harper and Row (revised edition).
Chapters 13–17 (esp chapter 13)
Hume, David (1779), Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Parts II, V, VIII and IX
Hume, David (1748), Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Part XI
Leibniz, Gottfried (1714), Monadology, sections 32–39.
Malcolm, Norman (1960), ‘Anselm’s ontological arguments’, The Philosophical Review, 69, 41–62
Midgley, Mary (1984), Wickedness. Routledge, Chapters 1 and 5
Paley, William (1802/2008), Natural Theology, OUP, Chapters 1, 2 and 5
Plantinga, Alvin (1975), God, Freedom and Evil: Essays in Philosophy, George Allen & Unwin, 29–
34 and 59–64
Plato, Euthyphro
Stump, Eleanore & Kretzmann, Norman (1981), Eternity. Journal of Philosophy 78 (8):429–458
Swinburne, Richard G (1968), ‘The Argument from Design,’ Philosophy, 43 (165), 199–212



Avramides Anita (2001). Other Minds. Routledge, Chapter 2.
Block, Ned (1980) ‘Troubles with functionalism,’ in Readings in Philosophy of Psychology, Vol 1.
Harvard University Press, 275–278 – section 1–2.
Chalmers, David (1996), The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory. Oxford
University Press, Chapter 1.
Chalmers, David (2003). ‘Consciousness and its place in nature’ in Blackwell Guide to the
Philosophy of Mind, Sections 2 and 3. Blackwell
Churchland, Patricia Smith (2002). Brain-wise. Introduction (Sections 1, 3, 4) and Chapter 4,
section 2. The MIT Press.
Churchland, Paul (1981), ‘Eliminative Materialism and Propositional Attitudes’, Journal of
Philosophy 78, 67–90 (section 2, Why folk psychology might (really) be false)
Descartes, René (1641), Meditations on First Philosophy, 6
Hempel Carl (1949/2000), ‘The Logical Analysis of Psychology.’ in Richard Jeffrey (Ed) Carl G
Hempel: Selected Philosophical Essays, Cambridge University Press
Jackson, Frank (1982), ‘Epiphenomenal Qualia’, Philosophical quarterly, 32, 127–136
Putnam, Hilary (1975/1986), ‘The Nature of Mental States’ In Mind, Language and Reality.
Philosophical Papers, Volume 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ryle, Gilbert (1949/2000), The Concept of Mind, London, Penguin Classics, Chapters 1, 2, 5 and 6
Shapiro Lisa (Ed) (2007), The correspondence between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and Rene
Descartes, edited and translated. University of Chicago Press. Letters from May 1643.
Smart, Jack J C (1959), ‘Sensations and brain processes’, The Philosophical Review, 68 (2), 141–
156
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Joe312
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(Original post by zeddiful42)
There's no need to read full books to get high grades IMO. Especially so close to exams (assuming you're in Year 13), I wouldn't bother.
This person is, for better or worse, correct.
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zeddiful42
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Don't get me wrong, go the extra mile and get juicy quotation from these books which support a particular line of argument, but don't read these books in their entirety - that's what uni students have to do and you don't have time at AS/A-level
(Original post by Joe312)
This person is, for better or worse, correct.
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Joe312
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(Original post by zeddiful42)
Don't get me wrong, go the extra mile and get juicy quotation from these books which support a particular line of argument, but don't read these books in their entirety - that's what uni students have to do and you don't have time at AS/A-level
The main benefit that students can gain from reading philosophical texts is improving their writing to be concise and skilful in their handling of arguments. This does matter a fair bit honestly, though only for the higher grades. However it's certainly not necessary.
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Lostx
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Thank you, everyone. Very helpful!

(Original post by Joe312)
Berkeley, George (1713), Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous
Descartes, René (1641), Meditations on First Philosophy, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Gettier, Edmund (1963), ‘Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?’ Analysis, 23(6): 121–123
Hume, David (1748), An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Section 2 and Section 4 (part
1)
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm (1705), New Essays on Human Understanding, Preface and Book 1
Locke, John (1690), An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book 1 (esp. Chapter 2), Book
2 (esp. Chapters 1, 2, 8 and 14), Book 4 (esp. Chapter 11)
Plato, Meno, from 81e
Russell, Bertrand (1912), The Problems of Philosophy, Chapters 1, 2
Trotter Cockburn, Catharine (1732), (attrib) ‘A Letter from an anonymous writer to the author of the
Minute Philosopher’ Appendix to G Berkeley Theory of Vision Vindicated and Explained
12 Visit aqa.org.uk/7172 for the most up-to-date ȕDZƁŤƲƙŤÖȥƲǜǒů resources, support and administration
Zagzebski, Linda (1999), ‘What is Knowledge?’ in John Greco & Ernest Sosa (eds.), The Blackwell
Guide to Epistemology 92 –116



Annas, Julia (2006), 'Virtue Ethics', in David Copp (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory,
Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 515–536
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics: Books 1 (1–5, 7–10, 13), 2 (1–7), 3 (1–5), 5, 6 (1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13),
7 (12–13), 10 (1–8)
Ayer, Alfred J (1973/1991), The Central Questions of Philosophy, London, Penguin, 22–29 and
Ayer, AJ (1946), Language, Truth and Logic, 2nd Edition, New York, Dover, (esp. Chapters 1 and
6)
Bentham, Jeremy (1789), Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Oxford,
Clarendon Press. Chapter 1 (The Principle of Utility) and Chapter 4 (Measuring Pleasure and Pain)
Diamond, Cora (1978), ‘Eating Meat and Eating People’ Philosophy 53: 465–479
Foot, Philippa (1972), ‘Morality as a system of hypothetical imperatives.’ Philosophical Review, vol
81, issue 3, 305–316.
Hare, Richard M (1952) The Language of Morals, Chapters 1, 5, 7, 10.2
Hume, David (1739–40), Treatise of Human Nature, Book III, Part 1
Kant, Immanuel (1785), Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Chapters 1 and 2
Mackie, John L (1977), Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, Penguin, Chapter 1, Sections 8 and 9
Mill, John Stuart (1863), Utilitarianism, Chapters 1, 2, 4, 5
Moore, George E (1903), Principia Ethica, Cambridge University Press, Sections 6–14
Smart, Jack J C & Williams, Bernard (1973), Utilitarianism: For and Against, Chapter 2 (Act
utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism) and Chapter 3 (Hedonistic and non-hedonistic utilitarianism)



Anselm, Proslogium, Chapters II–IV and Gaunilo, from the appendix to Anselm’s Proslogium
Aquinas, Thomas, Summa Theologica, Part 1, Question 25, Article 3 and Question 2, Article 3
Ayer, Alfred J (1973/1991), The Central Questions of Philosophy, London, Penguin, 22–29 and
Ayer, AJ (1946), Language, Truth and Logic, 2nd Edition, New York, Dover, (Chapters 1 and 6)
Descartes, René (1641), Meditations on First Philosophy, 3 and 5
Flew, Antony, Richard M Hare and Basil Mitchell (1955), ‘Theology and Falsification’ in New
Essays in Philosophical Theology, edited by Antony Flew and Alasdair MacIntyre, London, SMC
Press
Hick, John (1966/1978), Evil and the God of Love, New York, Harper and Row (revised edition).
Chapters 13–17 (esp chapter 13)
Hume, David (1779), Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Parts II, V, VIII and IX
Hume, David (1748), Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Part XI
Leibniz, Gottfried (1714), Monadology, sections 32–39.
Malcolm, Norman (1960), ‘Anselm’s ontological arguments’, The Philosophical Review, 69, 41–62
Midgley, Mary (1984), Wickedness. Routledge, Chapters 1 and 5
Paley, William (1802/2008), Natural Theology, OUP, Chapters 1, 2 and 5
Plantinga, Alvin (1975), God, Freedom and Evil: Essays in Philosophy, George Allen & Unwin, 29–
34 and 59–64
Plato, Euthyphro
Stump, Eleanore & Kretzmann, Norman (1981), Eternity. Journal of Philosophy 78 (8):429–458
Swinburne, Richard G (1968), ‘The Argument from Design,’ Philosophy, 43 (165), 199–212



Avramides Anita (2001). Other Minds. Routledge, Chapter 2.
Block, Ned (1980) ‘Troubles with functionalism,’ in Readings in Philosophy of Psychology, Vol 1.
Harvard University Press, 275–278 – section 1–2.
Chalmers, David (1996), The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory. Oxford
University Press, Chapter 1.
Chalmers, David (2003). ‘Consciousness and its place in nature’ in Blackwell Guide to the
Philosophy of Mind, Sections 2 and 3. Blackwell
Churchland, Patricia Smith (2002). Brain-wise. Introduction (Sections 1, 3, 4) and Chapter 4,
section 2. The MIT Press.
Churchland, Paul (1981), ‘Eliminative Materialism and Propositional Attitudes’, Journal of
Philosophy 78, 67–90 (section 2, Why folk psychology might (really) be false)
Descartes, René (1641), Meditations on First Philosophy, 6
Hempel Carl (1949/2000), ‘The Logical Analysis of Psychology.’ in Richard Jeffrey (Ed) Carl G
Hempel: Selected Philosophical Essays, Cambridge University Press
Jackson, Frank (1982), ‘Epiphenomenal Qualia’, Philosophical quarterly, 32, 127–136
Putnam, Hilary (1975/1986), ‘The Nature of Mental States’ In Mind, Language and Reality.
Philosophical Papers, Volume 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ryle, Gilbert (1949/2000), The Concept of Mind, London, Penguin Classics, Chapters 1, 2, 5 and 6
Shapiro Lisa (Ed) (2007), The correspondence between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and Rene
Descartes, edited and translated. University of Chicago Press. Letters from May 1643.
Smart, Jack J C (1959), ‘Sensations and brain processes’, The Philosophical Review, 68 (2), 141–
156
I have to read all of them? :eek:
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Joe312
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(Original post by Lostx)
Thank you, everyone. Very helpful!



I have to read all of them? :eek:
No you don't have to read any of them! Just learn the specification. If you want to read around the subject then read something from that list though.
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Lostx
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If I was to quote from a book which is not on the recommended reading list would I still get marks for it or not?
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Joe312
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(Original post by Lostx)
If I was to quote from a book which is not on the recommended reading list would I still get marks for it or not?
As long as it answers the question then yes.
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jamesbarry17
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Nothing is too high-level if you understand a part of it and can quote and explain it in a way that relates to the syllabus.
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Retired_Messiah
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At A level they tend not to expect you to actually have read the books so much as just know a bit about the content. But if you want to read them, read them. Nietzsche's far more interesting than any A level spec really gives him credit for. IMO my A level had far too many of the boring bits in it.
(Original post by Lostx)
If I was to quote from a book which is not on the recommended reading list would I still get marks for it or not?
You would.
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renni87
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(Original post by Lostx)
Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
in my opinion not
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