AS Philosophy Exam Questions


Past exam questions for the AS Level OCR Philosophy exam. (Old spec.)
Summer Pearce
Note by Summer Pearce, updated more than 1 year ago
Summer Pearce
Created by Summer Pearce almost 8 years ago

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Ancient Greek Influences on the Philosophy of Religion:Part A: Explain criticisms that have been made of Plato's Theory of Forms. (25 marks) Explain the Platonic concept of Forms. (25 marks) Explain what Aristotle meant by final cause. (25 marks) Explain the analogy of the cave in Plato's Republic. (25 marks) Explain the concepts of ideals in Plato's writings. (25 marks) Explain Aristotle's understanding of the four causes. (25 marks) Explain Aristotle's concept of the Prime Mover. (25 marks) Explain the relationship between Plato's Form of the Good and the other Forms. (25 marks) Explain Plato's Analogy of the Cave. (25 marks) Part B: How valid are the criticisms of Plato in your view? (10 marks) To what extent is it true to say that the Forms teach us nothing about the physical world? (10 marks) To what extent does the concept of the final cause teach us anything about the real world? (10 marks) 'The analogy of the cave tells us nothing about reality.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'Ideals are an illusion; we can only experience what is real.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'Aristotle's four causes fail as a description of the real world.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'An accidental universe is just as likely as a created one.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'Plato is wrong to say that most people live in the shadow world.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'The Forms teach us nothing about the real world.' Discuss. (10 marks)

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Judeo-Christian Influences on the Philosophy of Religion:Part A: Explain the Judeo-Christian concept of God as law-giver and judge. (25 marks) How do the writers of the Bible explain the concept of God as Creator? (25 marks) Explain the concept of 'Creatio ex nihilo'. (25 marks) Compare the concept of a Prime Mover with the idea of God as a craftsman. (25 marks) Explain what it means to say that 'God is good.' (25 marks) Explain Biblical beliefs about the attributes of God. (25 marks) Explain what is meant by 'creatio ex nihilo.' (25 marks) Part B: "God has no right to judge human beings." Discuss. (10 marks) Assess the claim that God created humanity for a purpose. (10 marks) 'Nothing comes from nothing.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'Only philosophers can explain creation.' Discuss. (10 marks) To what extent are things only good because God commands them? (10 marks) ''The Bible is too inconsistent to be used for moral teachings.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'God shouldn't judge us as he is responsible for the way we are.' Discuss. (10 marks)

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The Ontological Argument:Part A: Explain Anselm's ontological argument. (25 marks) Explain how Descartes developed Anselm's argument that God's existence is necessary. (25 marks) Explain the traditional forms of the Ontological argument put forward by Anselm and Descartes. (25 marks) Explain the Ontological Argument for the existence of God. (25 marks) Explain how Kant challenged the Ontological argument. (25 marks) Explain Descartes' version of the Ontological argument. (25 marks) Part B: "It is pointless to deny the logical necessity of the existence of God." Discuss. (10 marks) Evaluate the claim that God's existence is not a logical necessity. (10 marks) "The criticisms presented by Gaunilo and Kant successfully reject these arguments." Discuss. (10 marks) "The Ontological Argument for God's existence is illogical." Discuss. (10 marks) To what extent was Kant successful in his criticisms of the ontological argument? (10 marks) "Descartes has proved that a perfect God exists.' Discuss. (10 marks)

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The Cosmological Argument:Part A: Explain the main arguments put forward by Copleston in his radio debate. (25 marks) Jan 2012 Explain Aquinas' cosmological argument. (25 marks) June 2009 Explain Hume's criticisms of the cosmological argument. (25 marks) June 2011 Explain why Hume and Russell reject the cosmological argument. (25 marks) Explain the main strengths of the cosmological argument. (25 marks) Explain the cosmological argument. (25 marks) Explain the arguments put forward by Copleston in his radio debate with Russell. (25 marks) Part B: To what extent was Hume successful in his critique of the cosmological argument? (10 marks) June 2011 To what extent were Russell's criticisms of the cosmological argument successful? (10 marks) June 2009 How far was Russell successful in countering Copleston's arguments in the radio debate? (10 marks) Jan 2012 "Hume's criticisms of the cosmological argument do not succeed." Discuss. (10 marks) "The cosmological argument can never overcome Russell's objection that the universe is a brute fact." Discuss. (10 marks) "Russell made a more convincing case than Copleston." Discuss. (10 marks) "Something must have caused the universe to exist." Discuss. (10 marks) "God is the most likely explanation for the existence of the universe." Discuss. (10 marks) "No convincing explanation for the universe has yet been found." Discuss. (10 marks)

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The Teleological Argument:Part A: Explain Mill's challenge to the Teleological argument. (25 marks) Explain why some philosophers argue that evidence of design in the universe proves the existence of God. (25 marks) Explain Paley's argument for the existence of God. (25 marks) Explain Mill's criticisms of the Design Argument. (25 marks) Part B: Evaluate the claim that the universe has too many flaws for it to be designed. (10 marks) 'Mill's discussion of evil successfully undermines the argument from design.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'The universe has no purpose.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'The Teleological Argument has successfully survived all criticisms.' Discuss. (10 marks)

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The Moral Argument:Part A: Explain Freud's view that moral awareness comes from other sources other than God. (25 marks) Explain Kant's moral argument for the existence of God. (25 marks) Explain what Kant means by 'Summum Bonum.' (25 marks) Explain Freud's views on the source of moral awareness. (25 marks) Part B: "God is the only explanation of moral awareness." Discuss. (10 marks) 'Moral awareness has nothing to do with a god.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'The existence of morality is not evidence for the existence of God.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'Morality has nothing to do with the existence of God.' (10 marks) 'Only God can be the source of moral awareness.' Discuss. (10 marks)

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The Problem of Evil:Part A: Explain the theodicy of Irenaeus. (25 marks) Explain the Augustinian Theodicy. (25 marks) Explain why Irenaeus argues that the existence of evil is a necessary part of the universe. (25 marks) Explain the nature of the problem of evil. (25 marks) Explain the Irenaean theodicy. (25 marks) Explain the theodicies of both Augustine and Irenaeus. (25 marks) Explain how Augustine justified the existence of natural evil. (25 marks) Part B: 'The theodicy of Irenaeus cannot justify the existence of evil.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'There is too much evil in the world to believe in the argument of the theodicies.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'Irenaeus is wrong; evil disproves the existence of God.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'Moral evil may be the fault of humanity but natural evil is God's fault.' Discuss. (10 marks) To what extent can evil be said to be a test? (10 marks) 'There is too much evil in the world for there to be a God.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'The existence of natural evil proves there is no God.' Discuss. (10 marks)

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Religion and Science:Part A: Explain the concept of the Irreducible Complexity. (25 marks) Explain the debate between Creationism and the Big Bang theory. (25 marks) Explain Darwinism and evolutionary theory. (25 marks) Explain why some creationists do not believe in the Big Bang theory. (25 marks) Explain the theory of evolution. (25 marks) Explain what is meant by intelligent design. (25 marks) Part B: 'There is no evidence of Intelligent Design in the universe.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'The Big Bang theory is more believable than Creationism.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'The universe is too complex for evolutionary theory to explain it.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'Scientists are the only ones who can explain why the universe is here.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'God is the only explanation for the existence of life.' Discuss. (10 marks) 'The Intelligent Design argument makes no sense.' Discuss. (10 marks)

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How to Structure 25 Mark Questions:For the introduction:Define your terms - Write about any relevant key words (e.g. is the argument a priori or a posteriori, deductive/inductive reasoning, etc.).Introduce the implications - What is the main question this topic is trying to answer? (e.g. Problem of Evil is trying to answer how/why God can exist with the presence of evil in the world)Scholars - Introduce key philosophers, scientists and scholars that you will refer to in the main body paragraphs. (e.g. Descartes, Hume)Signpost your conclusion - Link your introductory paragraph to your conclusion by stating your line of argument.For the main body paragraphs:Point - Make your intial point and give a reason to support your line of argument.Example - Where is your evidence to prove this point? Apply logic to an example, or refer to the work of a particular philosopher or religious text.Explain - Explain the concept as fully as you can, using scholarly argument, key words and detailed information.Link - Link back to the question, don't go off on a tangent and write everything you know about a topic! Your knowledge needs to be selected and applied to appropriate questions. This is like a small conclusion of the paragraph.

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