To think and write like a philosopher: with clarity, originality and depth.

The study of Philosophy appeals to those who like to think about things other people take for granted. The aim of the course is to enable students to think and write like a philosopher: with clarity, originality and depth. We consider key philosophical questions through discussion, example and judicious use of texts by the great philosophers.

The unexamined life is not worth living.


Philosophy can be studied for the IB Diploma at either Higher or Standard Level. Candidates are required to study philosophical questions and problems grouped into themes; to explore in detail one major text in Philosophy; and to respond philosophically to different stimuli.

The Core Theme asks what it means to be human, and offers different perspectives on issues such as the self, personal identity and consciousness. Other themes include Theories and Problems of Ethics, the Philosophy of Religion and Political Philosophy. Students also study one classic text from a list that includes Descartes' Meditations, Mill's On Liberty and Nietzsche's The Genealogy of Morals. All students complete a coursework essay exploring the philosophical implications of a non-philosophical stimulus. Higher Level candidates also develop their understanding of Philosophy as an activity in an additional paper.

Outside the classroom there are three groups which meet to explore philosophical issues: the Lower School Philosophy Club; the Middle School Philosophy Group; and the weekly Sixth Form Philosophy Society. In all of them we encourage philosophical thinking on matters that are important in our everyday lives. Recent presentations by students at the Sixth Form Philosophy Society include Minds and Machines; the Limits of Capitalism; the Problems of Democracy; Language and Reality; Freedom of Speech; and investigations into Rousseau, Marx, Plato, Ayer and Zizek.

The Philosophy department also offers a variety of extension classes for students wishing to pursue Philosophy or a related degree at university, including a History of Philosophy course from the Presocratics to the present day.

View volume one of the Sevenoaks School Journal of Philosophy

Head of Department: Mr James