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3.9 out of 5 stars
AQA An Introduction to Philosophy for AS level (Philosophy in Focus)
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2008
As with the other titles available in the Philosophy in Focus series, this companion book for the new AQA AS specification that is to be taught from September 2008 is very student friendly and includes plenty of relevant material.

The book explains potentially difficult content well and the use of pictures is especially useful for allowing students to conceptualise tricky marterial. The use of key quotes allows students to get a feel for the language that Philosophy is often written in, whilst the activities and summaries will support teachers and students alike. As a book aimed at students coming to Philosophy for the first time, or with little prior experience, it has many positives.

Given all of these positives, why not 5 stars? Sadly the book does not cover all the units on the AS specification: there are no chapters on 'Why should I be goverened?', 'Why should I be tolerant?' and 'The value of art'. As a teacher who intends to cover two of these three topics from September, this book does not meet the needs of my students for an easy to understand and comprehensive textbook that they can use. However, if your course is covered by the topics in this book, it may well be an excellent course text.

When Nelson Thornes have published their AS Philosophy book in June, as well as the planned publication of Michael Lacewing's book later this year, it looks as though there will be a quality selection of textbooks to choose from for the new AS specification.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2009
I note the comments from the previous review and would largely endorse them but my purpose is to relate how I have found the book so far in teaching the new AQA philosophy syllabus. I have used Philosophy In Focus to teach before, notably 'Epistemology' and 'Philosophy of Religion' by the same authors. The latter pair were/ are excellent for the highly academic student but, at 150 and 230 pages respectively, remain intimidating for the less confident.
The new 'Introduction' borrows material from the previous books and the 'Reason and experience' chapter in particular reflects the same rigour, whilst 'Knowledge of the external world' is a far briefer, and rather welcome, account of relevant issues, adding Phenomenalism as a non-essential afterthought.
I went with the book's suggestion that, '... epistemology is a highly abstract field... as such it does not always make the best introduction to the subject'. I led in with Chapter 1 on morality, as recommended, and the students' response confirmed the efficacy of the approach. 'Why should I be moral?' is a thorough and engaging chapter. I feel that AQA has set a difficult task in making epistemology compulsory; I can see their reasons for doing so but if we are to expand philosophy as a subject, which I feel we should, a more flexible approach could reap benefits.
The authors are sympathetic to the needs of the A Level student and include plenty of activities for discussion. Thought experiments featuring aliens and mad axe murderers crop up with refreshing frequency though their inevitable counterpoint is sobering doses of Kant.
It is good to have all of the material (at least all of the modules that I am likely to teach) in one, suitably comprehensive, volume and I intend to stick with it, though I will also use the Nelson Thorne and other sources for ideas. Students are unlikely to go far wrong with this, though they may remain mystified by the far reaches of epistemology, as do I some thirty five years after I began studying it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 13 March 2010
This wasn't the main recommended text book for my philosophy A level course, but has proved to be invaluable in giving extra supporting information and sometimes a more thorough and understandable take on the topics than the actual course book. A useful source of knowledge for the AS and A level curriculum.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2011
This book is extremely helpful, especially for students who will be taking the AS exams.It is basically revision guide through the examination with extra detailed facts. And even for those who are just interested in Philosophic themes, this book offers a very detailed explanation of the topics chosen. A very good decision for a purhcase.
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on 18 February 2015
a well written book which is very clearly laid out and a real asset to studying philosophy at a basic level
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2011
I bought this as my teacher recommended it to me, if it's the only AS level textbook on philosophy then its worth buying, it gets the information across. But it was written by a collaboration of the most boring people to have ever studied philosophy.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2014
Hard to comment except to say the person I bought the book for threw it away out of sheer boredom.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2011
I expected it to be in a better format than huge walls of text and the index is completely useless.
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