OCR ALEVEL Philosophy Scholar sheet


Philosophical Language and Thought



What they argue



Can there be only one form of the good even though we use ‘good’ in so many ways? For example, a good harpist is good at playing the harp but that may not mean that they are a good person. A good gun is not morally good, but is good because it shoots.

Karl Popper


Plato is determined to find certainty that cannot be found in this world, so he assumes that there is certainty in another world – the world of the forms. There is no proof that there is a world of the forms, and if it was so important then why are only a small number of people aware of it?

1.    Plato, the cave and the world of the forms

2.    Aristotle, the 4 causes and the Prime mover

3.    Mind, Body and soul – life after death



What they argue

Plato (dualist)

Supports life after death

Cycle of opposites, death comes after life, so life must come after death; our soul gets ‘recycled.’ It is our soul that is our identity, not our body.

Brian Davis

C/A to Plato 

Not everything has an opposite e.g. is there an opposite of a candle? Or the colour red?

Bernard Williams 

C/A to Plato

We are known by our appearance – it is our looks that give us our identity not our soul. Our body and mind must also be linked, as we can do things to our body that have an effect on our mind, for example drugs. We ca put drugs into our bodies, and they can affect our mind e.g. we can become delusional, or start hallucinating. 

Descartes (dualist)

Supports life after death

‘I think therefore I am’ we can doubt the existence of everything including our body, but we cannot doubt that we’re thinking. DUALIST

Gilbert Ryle (materialist)

Against life after death

Argues that Descartes is guilty of categorical error.

Believes the mind and body are one and the same, and uses the example of a foreign student in Cambridge, being shown all the university buildings but still asking where the university is. Also uses the example of a foreigner watching cricket and asking where the team spirit is. 

Dawkins (materialist)


Humans are merely carriers of info and DNA. We have evolved.

Hick (soft materialist)

Supports life after death, but believes body and soul are the same

Body and soul cannot be separate at the point of death. Replica Theory - When a person dies, God creates a replica/duplicate of the person, which will then live on after death. The replica has all the same memories, the same appearance etc. God is omnipotent so has the power to be able to do this.


C/A Hick

How do we know that the replica is the same person? Does the replica even know if they are the same person? There is no proof of this theory so…


Maisie Green1


I’m here from Twitter, you’re a true angel