Philosophy and Reason

​Does this subject contribute to an ATAR? Yes (General Subject)
How many credits does this subject contribute towards QCE? 4

What is Philosophy and Reason?

Philosophy & Reason combines the discipline of philosophy with the associated skills of critical reasoning. This subject allows students to recognise the relevance of various philosophies to different political, ethical, religious and scientific positions. It also allows them to realise that decisions in these areas are the result of the acceptance of certain ideas and specific modes of reasoning. In addition, critical reasoning and logic provide knowledge, skills and understanding so students are able to engage with, examine and analyse classical and contemporary ideas and issues. This subject enables students to make rational arguments, espouse viewpoints and engage in informed discourse. In Philosophy & Reason, students learn to understand and use reasoning to develop coherent world-views and to reflect upon the nature of their own decisions as well as their responses to the views of others.

Through the study of Philosophy & Reason, students collaboratively investigate philosophical ideas that have shaped and continue to influence contemporary society. These ideas include what it means to be human, how we understand the role of reason in our individual and collective lives and how we think about and care for each other and the world around us.

Students analyse arguments from a variety of sources and contexts as they develop an understanding of what constitutes effective reasoning. They formalise arguments and choose appropriate techniques of reasoning to attempt to solve problems. The collaborative nature of philosophical inquiry is an essential component for students to understand and develop norms of effective thinking and to value and seek a range of ideas beyond their own.

A course of study in Philosophy & Reason specifically focuses on the development of transferable thinking skills such as analysis, evaluation and justification, and an appreciation of the values of inquiry such as precision, accuracy, clarity and credibility; students are thus well prepared for post-school participation in a wide range of fields. Students learn to value plurality in terms of perspectives and world-views as a necessary condition for human progress. Studying Philosophy & Reason provides students with the skills of collaboration and communication that are essential components of informed participation in the 21st century.

What makes a student suited to Philosophy and Reason?
Students who achieve success in Ancient History are those who: 
  • have an interest in a range of contemporary social issues
  • like to argue their opinions about different topics
  • want to learn about human nature
  • enjoy discussing solutions to complex problems thinking in abstract ways

What prerequisites must students meet in order to take this subject?

Year 9 - Minimum of C Standard in Core English
Year 10 - Minimum of C Standard in Core English 

What is the cost of this subject?

What materials or equipment do I need for this subject?

  • Compulsory BYOD
  • Large scrapbook
  • Blue, black and red pens, and highlighters 

What do students study in this subject and how are they assessed?
  Unit OverviewsAssessment
Year 10Semester 1

Plato's Cave: Students investigate what is real and how they come to determine that what they know if true through Plato's Cave. They analyse films to identify elements of Plato's Cave.

Fallacies in Reasoning: Students learn about errors in reasoning and then study a court case to identify any errors and make a decision on the outcome of the case.

Extended Response: (25%): Analytical Essay: Film Analysis 800-1000 words

 Extended Response: (25%): Analytical Essay: Court Case Decision 1000 – 1500 words

 Semester 2

Morals and Ethics: Students consider how we come to develop our own moral compass and decide what is right and what is wrong. Students attempt to resolve real-life moral issues.

Philosophy of the Mind: Students consider what makes us who we are. We consider where our mind resides, at what point is our personality a physical or mental trait, what consciousness is and where it is located, and what it means to be a person.

Seen Exam: (25%): Extended Response: What is the right decision? 800 – 1000 words

Extended Response: (25%): Analytical Essay: Who am I? 1000 – 1500 words 

Year 11Unit 1

Fundamentals of Reasoning: Students will examine inductive and deductive reasoning and identify associated fallacies and shortcomings. They will use modern symbolic language as an effective system for the analysis and evaluation of arguments. To assess an argument is to assess a truth claim. This skill is therefore foundational to both the process of critical inquiry and our knowledge about the world.

Formative Assessment 1 (25%): Short Response Unseen Exam 800-1000 words

Formative Assessment 2 (25%): Extended Response 1000 – 1500 words

Unit 2

Topic 1: Philosophy of Religion: Students will explore and demonstrate how the fundamentals of reason are used to engage with religious conceptions of god and morality. Arguments about the existence of a god or gods will involve the generation of questions and theses and use of reasoning techniques.
Topic 2: Philosophy of Science: S
tudents will explore and demonstrate how the fundamentals of reason are used within science to create new knowledge. They will use of deduction through the hypothetico–deductive method (falsification) and induction through the use of analogy and generalisation. Students will then assess the status of knowledge claims within science.

Formative Assessment 3 (25%): Extended Response Unseen Exam 800-1000 words


Formative Assessment 4 (25%): Extended Response Analytical Essay 1500-2000 words

Year 12Unit 3

Topic 1: Moral Philosophy:  Students will study philosophical theories in an attempt to understand and discuss how we should live our lives. Analysis of philosophical concepts such as rightness, duty, freedom and virtue is vital if such a discussion is to be informed, rational and convincing.
Topic 2: Philosophical School of Thought: S
tudents will study the philosophical ideas of a selected school of thought. They will conduct an in-depth exploration of concepts in previous units, or to inquire into other ideas beyond the course.

Summative Internal Assessment 1 (25%): Extended Response Unseen Exam 800-1000 words


Summative Internal Assessment 2 (25%): Extended Response Analytical Essay 1500-2000 words 

Unit 4

Topic 1: Rights: Students will explore how rights can be understood, drawing on a range of associated social and political ideas and philosophers. They will apply this knowledge and understanding to a discussion of contemporary application and codification of rights.

Topic 2: Political Philosophy: Students will investigate how best to arrange our collective life; analyse political institutions, economic systems and social practices based on a philosophical understanding of ideas such as rights, fairness and justice.

Summative Internal Assessment 3 (25%): Extended Response Analytical Essay 1500 – 2000 words


External Assessment (EA): (25%): Unseen QCAA produced​

Last reviewed 04 August 2022
Last updated 04 August 2022