Raffles Institution

Philosophy



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    Philosophy is the birth of human knowledge and today it is a subject that specializes in the art of clear, critical and caring thinking. Through a rigorous curriculum that crosses several key fields in Philosophy including logic, ethics, science and politics, the RI Philosophy Programme seeks to mould the RI student into critical, rational thinkers with sound moral beliefs.

    Curriculum

    Year 1

    In Year 1, the emphasis is on foundation skills in Philosophy, including logical reasoning, formulating arguments and the techniques of questioning. The students will receive hands-on practices involving the Hilda-Taba method of understanding concepts, constructing and analysing arguments and applying Socratic reasoning in class discussions.They will be expected to challenge common notions and definitions, to look at them from alternative perspectives, and have fun in the process.

    Year 2

    In Year 2, the focus will mainly be on certain moral theories and their application. Students will be asked to apply the spirit of inquiry and methods of reasoning learnt in Year 1 to their understanding of moral values.

    Year 3

    At this level, students will have an overview of the different ways of knowing, and the relationship of each to understanding reality. Problems of knowledge in different fields are introduced to the students. Possible topics include: the problem of scientific knowledge, in terms of the problem of sense-experience and the problem of induction. Throughout the different issues discussed in the year, logic will also be weaved into the curriculum to hone their reasoning skills.

     

    Year 4

    At this stage, the students will move on to political philosophy and a special Argument Writing Template (AWT) module. Political theories that are introduced are: Plato's theory of aristocracy, emphasising the role of an elite minority; Hobbes' theory, which rests on a theory of conflict in the natural state of man, and emphasises the role of the state as a controlling mechanism; Locke's theory, which rests on a more harmonious natural state of society, and emphasises the social contract as defining the role of the government; and Marx's theory, which looks at society as primarily class-based, applying Hegel's analysis of dialectical evolution through synthesis, and emphasises the role of the underlying economics in defining political structure rather than the traditional overarching justification present in the other three theories. The Argument Writing Template (AWT) is a module that aims to help pupils focus on the logic of their prose writing. This is a skill that is required in all fields of writing that calls for persuasion and reason.