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AQA A Level Philosophy Paper 1 + 2 (7172/1+2) 18th and 26th May 2023 [Exam Chat]

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How did you find your AQA A-level Philosophy Paper 1 exam today?

AQA A Level Philosophy Paper 1 (7172/1) 18th May 2023 and Paper 2 (7172/2) 26th May 2023 [Exam Chat]

Welcome to the exam discussion thread for this exam. Introduce yourself! Let others know what you're aiming for in your exams, what you are struggling with in your revision or anything else.
Wishing you all the best of luck. :yy:

General Information
Paper 1
Date/Time: 18th May 2023/ PM
Length: 3h

Paper 2

Date/Time: 26th May 2023/ AM
Length: 3h

Resources
AQA A Level Philosophy
(edited 9 months ago)

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Reply 1
I took the AQA A-Level philosophy course but performed badly due to a necessary surgery. I am retaking this year so if help is needed, let me know. Of course, philosophy is one of the most difficult A levels due to the required accuracy and precision. On this I will be periodically posting notes and essay plans.
Reply 2
Example essay plan

Indirect Realism logical outline

Arg 1. Pro
PRO: There are cases in which what we perceive are not properties of a physical object but rather sense data. Such cases are subjectively indistinguishable from veridical perception. Thus, we perceive sense data in all cases, thus we perceive objects indirectly.
OTOH: In such cases we could argue that we still do directly perceive an object as it is the matter of the relational and intrinsic properties. Thus, what we perceive in acts of perception are exactly the same as what exists in the mind.

Sub-concl: Weak argument, as the distinction between different properties of an external object show it is possible to directly perceive an object, thus showing we do not perceive sense data. Thus, another way to establish indirect realism is to look at the refutations of the theory and see if we can defend it.

Arg 2. Con
Con: Veil of perception.
There is no way to verify our perceptions, as the verification would include sense-data - the thing we perceive. Thus, we can never actually know what is in the external world leading us into scepticism.
Sub-concl: If it were true, its significance would completely undermine ID as a theory, leading to its downfall.

Defence against Arg 2 (from Locke and Trotterburne)
Pro: Locke gives two arguments which are then developed by Trotter Cockburn and himself defending ID from scepticism which seems to advance to.

Arg (A): Locke argues we have two operations of the mind: imagination and sensation. Imagination is voluntary while sensation is involuntary. The involuntary nature of our senses indicate that there is something that we are forced to perceive, thus something is at least in the external world

Sub-concl: Although this strengths ID by showing that there is no scepticism of the external world we still need to defend ID from scepticism of the properties of external objects.


Arg (B+C): (B) Locke argues the coherence between different senses shows us that the similar experience between different senses while perceiving an object. An external object with specific properties is affecting all of our senses, thus they cohere. Thus, there is an external physical world.
OTOH: Perhaps one sense is actually affecting the other thus there is no coherence but rather a cause relationship between the senses.
(C) Cockburn adds the development that the coherence of the senses allows us to predict the experience of a sensation in one sense from a sensation in another. As this function of the senses is not simultaneous, it is less likely that one sensation affects the other, but rather an external enduring object causing the sensations at different times.
Sub-concl: ID is now secured from scepticism, both of the existence of the external world and now of the properties of external objects.

Arg (D): Locke’s solidification of ID is argued by the connection between perception and acts of the mind that link different acts of perception together. E.g., sending a letter to a friend: not only do my sensations of writing the letter cohere, but they agree with my intent. Furthermore, upon my friend reading the letter, their perception is the same as what I thought I wrote, as shown by his thought of the content, the same as mine.
Sub-concl: Locke’s further developments that connect acts of perception together through coherence between sensation and intent, ultimately defend indirect realism from scepticism of existence of the external world and the properties of external objects.

Conclusion
In conclusion, Indirect Realism as a theory of perception is an established theory due to Locke’s defence against Scepticism with his refutations against the veil of perception. He showed the existence of the external world and properties of the external world as supported by his arguments: coherence of the senses and the involuntary nature of our experiences, which is further supported by his and Trotter Cockburn’s developments. However, while indirect realism’s status as an established theory is secured, it must be noted that we have not shown that it is a superior theory, as shown by the first aforementioned argument which attempts to bolster Indirect realism by showing we perceive things indirectly but of course, alternative methods of perceiving object directly is upheld by the fact we can have relational and intrinsic properties of an object which would explain variation in perception. Therefore, while indirect realism is established as a theory, this evaluation has not proven it superior.
Reply 3
Looks pretty good - however I would consider adding evaluations of Locke's defences of indirect realism. His involuntary nature of perception and coherence of the senses arguments aren't perfect. For example, an evil demon could be causing our perceptions and causing them in a way that cohere with each other and that we have no voluntary control over. His arguments fail to rule out that possibility and therefore he fails to defend indirect realism from scepticism.
Reply 4
Did not think about it like that. If one was to use the evil demon would you be expected to outline the whole argument?
Reply 5
Original post by Teob
Did not think about it like that. If one was to use the evil demon would you be expected to outline the whole argument?


No, there would be no need to get into the whole three waves of doubt and so on.
Original post by Teob
I took the AQA A-Level philosophy course but performed badly due to a necessary surgery. I am retaking this year so if help is needed, let me know. Of course, philosophy is one of the most difficult A levels due to the required accuracy and precision. On this I will be periodically posting notes and essay plans.

any predictions for the 2023 test?
I feel like Tripartite may come up for paper 1, but could also be limits of knowledge. But my honest thought is tripartite.
Reply 8
(Original post by Nash2404)any predictions for the 2023 test?

Not yet. However, coming closer to the exam I will start to come up with more practice answers and try to start predicting. You need to think about what was left out of the indicative content from last year. And definitely expect all of the things left outside the COVID list to be in the papers. Then you can start with to predict the other things.
Reply 9
Original post by Rayne123456789
I feel like Tripartite may come up for paper 1, but could also be limits of knowledge. But my honest thought is tripartite.


With the tripartite definition of knolwedge only a few essays can come up. Like 'is J+T+B necessary conditions for knowledge' or 'Evaluate VE/Reliabilism' But they cannot ask to evaluate JTB as the simple response would be Gettier's objections.
Well I mean when i was in year 12, we did an essay on ‘how should propositional knowledge be defined’ meaning you can use all of the theories.

Original post by Teob
With the tripartite definition of knolwedge only a few essays can come up. Like 'is J+T+B necessary conditions for knowledge' or 'Evaluate VE/Reliabilism' But they cannot ask to evaluate JTB as the simple response would be Gettier's objections.
Original post by Teob
With the tripartite definition of knolwedge only a few essays can come up. Like 'is J+T+B necessary conditions for knowledge' or 'Evaluate VE/Reliabilism' But they cannot ask to evaluate JTB as the simple response would be Gettier's objections.

They can ask to evaluate JTB. There is also the issue that the conditions are not individually necessary.

Also, all the post-gettier definitions of knowledge would still be relevant to an 'evaluate JTB' essay. It's valid to bring virtue epistemology in, for example, because if VTB is the correct definition of knowledge then that shows JTB is not. So it's relevant to assess VTB for an essay question focused on evaluating JTB.

Also, it's honestly not a good idea to try and predict the 25 mark question. Everyone thought they could predict them last year and were correct about the 1st paper - and then totally incorrect about the 2nd paper. It's just not a good idea. I remember years and years ago AQA just did the same topics twice in a year. You never know!
Reply 12
Original post by Joe312
They can ask to evaluate JTB. There is also the issue that the conditions are not individually necessary.

Also, all the post-gettier definitions of knowledge would still be relevant to an 'evaluate JTB' essay. It's valid to bring virtue epistemology in, for example, because if VTB is the correct definition of knowledge then that shows JTB is not. So it's relevant to assess VTB for an essay question focused on evaluating JTB.

Also, it's honestly not a good idea to try and predict the 25 mark question. Everyone thought they could predict them last year and were correct about the 1st paper - and then totally incorrect about the 2nd paper. It's just not a good idea. I remember years and years ago AQA just did the same topics twice in a year. You never know!

which year did they do them twice in a row? they've only started doing it since 2019 and all of the questions have been different each year to my understanding but I may be wrong
Reply 13
Original post by Nash2404
which year did they do them twice in a row? they've only started doing it since 2019 and all of the questions have been different each year to my understanding but I may be wrong

Yeah this was like 10 years ago. The philosophy A level has existed in this form for like 15 years (the version since 2019 just being a slight variation on the previous), and before that for some time in a quite different form too.
Reply 14
any predictions for what will come up in 2023 paper? especially 25 markers!
Reply 15
Does anyone have any predictions of what the 25 markers may be, always interested to hear different peoples thoughts
Reply 16
The ones that haven't come up before:

Scepticism/limits of knowledge / indirect realism / defining knowledge

Applied ethics

Cosmological / religious language

Identity theory / behaviourism / physicalism / epiphenomenalism
Reply 17
Original post by Olivia_questions
i find it hard on how to ever write an essay on applied ethics...there isnt any evaluation you can do lol, do you have a plan for this perhaps?


You just use the standard evaluations that you would normally do for the ethical theories, but attempting to make them relevant to the applied ethics issues through illustration.

Here's the document I prepared for my students on the applied ethics 25 mark questions:

Applied ethics 25 mark essay questions

You will be asked a question about the morality of lying/stealing/S-killing/eating-animals.

E.g:

Is lying always wrong? [25]
Could stealing ever be morally acceptable? [25]
How moral is simulating killing? [25]
Should we eat animals? [25]

The goal of the essay is to use one or more of the normative ethical theories (or meta-ethical theories if you want a headache) to help you answer the question.

The normative theories will each have an answer to the question because they each have a view on the morality of the ethical issue. You have to explain their view on it and then assess their theory to assess whether their view on the ethical issue is correct.

Essay plan which can answer any of the 4 applied ethics issue questions:

Intro:

This essay will show how the Kantian view on issue X fails, however the Utilitarian answer to it succeeds and therefore the answer to the question is…

Paragraph 1:
1: Explain Kant’s ethics (Categorical imperative & good will) and
2: Explain Kant’s view on the ethical issue (Kant’s view on the morality of lying/stealing/S-killing/eating-animals).
3: Criticise Kant with the issue that consequences are what determine an action’s moral value. Kant seems to have an extreme view that consequences have zero moral relevance. This leads to the situation where Kant says you can’t lie even to save someone’s life - the murderer at the door situation. Lying, stealing, simulating killing and eating animals could all, depending on the situation, have really good or really bad consequences - and Kant seems wrong in ignoring their moral relevance.
4: Evaluation of this issue - but say Kant is wrong

Paragraph 2:
Outline Utilitarianism (Bentham’s Act Util & hedonic calculus) and
explain Bentham’s view on the ethical issue
Criticize Utilitarianism with the issue of calculation. To weigh up how much pleasure/pain an action will produce - surely we need to know the future - which we can’t - nor can we easily measure subjective mental states or do any of this calculation in time-sensitive conditions. We can’t calculate the long-term consequences of every act of stealing, lying, simulating killing or eating animals. You could steal/lie to save someone’s life, and they could grow up to be Hitler, etc. You could allow eating animals if they have happy lives and are killed humanely - and then you could discover that animal farming is a massive contributor to climate change (which we have discovered..). You could allow simulated killing because it is fun/pleasurable, and then that person could turn out to have anger issues that were made worse. So, Utilitarianism is of no help at deciding what we should do.

Defend Util: Mill’s version of Util - Rule utilitarianism - weighting point that it is stronger because it doesn’t rely on calculating every single moral action that we do. Follow the social rule regarding stealing, lying, simulating killing or eating animals which maximises happiness. There should be a rule against stealing and lying. There should be a rule that if you want to simulate killing, you have to be psychologically screened first. The rule about eating animals is that so long as they have a happy life, are killed humanely and don’t contribute to climate change, then it is morally acceptable.

Paragraph 3:
Explain Nozick’s experience machine (more crucial argument than the calculation issue - because it attacks the foundational premise of Util). Bentham (and Mill) claim that happiness/pleasure is our ultimate and sole desire - this is the basis of their argument for (hedonic) Utilitarianism. However - Nozick points out that if this were true - that pleasure is our ultimate desire - then we would all plug into a machine that created fake but purely pleasurable experiences. Nozick claims that many people would not plug into this machine - thus proving Utilitarianism false. This means that the judgement Utilitarianism provided on the applied ethics issue [animals, lying, stealing, simulated killing] is also false.

[note - although Nozick’s argument has no relevance to the applied ethics issues - it does show utilitarianism is false, and thereby indirectly undermines Utilitarianism’s judgement on the applied ethics issue, which answers the question].

Defence of Utilitarianism against Nozick’s experience machine (e.g. preference utilitarianism

Alternative defence (of hedonic utilitarianism):

To respond to Nozick, a Utilitarian would have to show that the reasons a person has for not entering the machine might appear to differ to a desire for happiness, but a Utilitarian could try to argue that those reasons actually do reduce to a desire for happiness.

Arguably the reason people value connection to reality is because they have emotional connections to family, society and perhaps the future state of the human race. People want to take part in ensuring that humans in reality are as happy as possible. That suggests that their desire to be connected to reality is really founded on a desire for the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people, so utilitarianism is still true.

Conclusion :Kant fails, Utilitarianism is right. Therefore, Utilitarianism’s judgement on the applied ethics issue is correct - this will give you your answer to the question.

Super hard applied ethics question plan.

You might be asked to apply a particular theory to a particular issue.

Evaluate the application of theory X (Kant/Util/Virtue/Meta-ethics) to issue Y (Lying/Stealing/S-killing/animals)

Follow this plan:

Paragraph 1: Explain theory X and its application to issue Y (you need to know this for 5 & 12 mark questions anyway)
Criticise theory X with one of its criticisms from the spec (which you need to know anyway)
Optional: defend theory X from that criticism

Paragraph 2:
Criticise theory X with one of its criticisms from the spec
Defend theory X from that criticism
Optional: counter that defence of theory X

Paragraph 3:
Criticise theory X with one of its criticisms from the spec - OR critically compare with a different theory
Evaluate the criticism or the different theory

Good criticisms to choose due to being easy to make relevant:
Aristotle - clear guidance - we don’t have precise guidance on when or whether to do [issue Y]
Util - issue of calculation - we can’t calculate the consequences of [issue Y]
Kant - the issue of ignoring consequences - sometimes consequences of [issue Y] could be really good or bad, and Kant seems wrong for ignoring that.
Reply 18
Original post by Olivia_questions
I dont think they'd directly ask about epiphenomenalism though, but also maybe integrate it within property dualism...


You never know - it is a decently sized part of the specification with three issues of its own that you have to learn.

Here's the essay plan I would recommend for that:

Epiphenomenalism essay plan

Paragraph 1:
Epiphenomenalism is a dualist theory, so it relies on dualism being true. So, assess one of the arguments for dualism (indivisibility / conceivability / zombies / mary). If the arguments for dualism fail, then we have no reason to accept epiphenomenalism (though that doesn’t quite prove it false).

Paragraph 2:
Part of the attraction of epiphenomenalist dualism is a way of avoiding the interaction problem. However, other dualists like Descartes thought they could just solve the interaction problem. If they can, there’s no need for epiphenomenalism.
So, assess whether the interaction problem can be solved.

Paragraph 3:
Assess one of the issues faced by epiphenomenalism - (natural section / intuitive phenomenology / introspection argument)


Original post by Olivia_questions
Thank-you so much for this Joe!

No problem!

I don't have a sample essay written, no.
Reply 19
Original post by Olivia_questions
I think they'd give dualism is true, but one on epiphenomenalism it is integrated with the issues of dualism


That is more likely yes.

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