Philosophy Optional Syllabus For UPSC 2020
IAS Exam has one of the optional subjects as Philosophy. The subject has two papers – paper 1 and paper 2. The marks for each paper is 250, in a total of 500 marks, and the duration for each paper is three hours. It is easy to crack this optional subject for those candidates who have a keen interest in Philosophy. Philosophy is the study that questions and makes us think about the knowledge of our existence, our beliefs, thinking, wisdom, and reality of life, causes, and their explanations. This article provides you with the latest Philosophy optional syllabus for UPSC IAS Mains 2020.
IAS Philosophy Syllabus Paper 1 and 2 – Download PDF
UPSC Philosophy Syllabus – Optional Paper I
History and Problems of Philosophy
- Plato and Aristotle: Ideas; Substance; Form and Matter; Causation; Actuality and Potentiality.
- Rationalism (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz): Cartesian Method and Certain Knowledge; Substance; God; Mind-Body Dualism; Determinism and Freedom.
- Empiricism (Locke, Berkeley, Hume): Theory of Knowledge; Substance and Qualities; Self and God; Skepticism.
- Kant: Possibility of Synthetic a priori Judgments; Space and Time; Categories; Ideas of Reason; Antinomies; Critique of Proofs for the Existence of God
- Hegel: Dialectical Mehod; Absolute Idealism
- Moore, Russell and Early Wittgenstein: Defence of Commonsense; Refutation of Idealism; Logical Atomism; Logical Constructions; Incomplete Symbols; Picture Theory of Meaning; Saying and Showing.
- Logical Positivism: Verification Theory of Meaning; Rejection of Metaphysics; Linguistic Theory of Necessary Propositions.
- Later Wittgenstein: Meaning and Use; Language- games; Critique of Private Language.
- Phenomenology (Husserl): Method; Theory of Essences; Avoidance of Psychologism.
- Existentialism (Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger): Existence and Essence; Choice, Responsibility and Authentic Existence; Being-in-the –world and Temporality.
- Quine and Strawson: Critique of Empiricism; Theory of Basic Particulars and Persons.
- Carvaka: Theory of Knowledge; Rejection of Transcendent Entities.
- Jainism: Theory of Reality; Saptabhaòginaya; Bondage and Liberation.
- Schools of Buddhism: Pratîtyasamutpada; Ksanikavada, Nairatmyavada
- Nyaya- Vaiúesika: Theory of Categories; Theory of Appearance; Theory of Pramana; Self, Liberation; God; Proofs for the Existence of God; Theory of Causation; Atomistic Theory of Creation.
- Samkhya: Prakrti; Purusa; Causation; Liberation
- Yoga: Citta; Cittavrtti; Klesas; Samadhi; Kaivalya.
- Mimamsa: Theory of Knowledge
- Schools of Vedanta: Brahman; Îúvara; Atman; Jiva; Jagat; Maya; Avidya; Adhyasa; Moksa; Aprthaksiddhi; Pancavidhabheda
- Aurobindo: Evolution, Involution; Integral Yoga.
UPSC Philosophy Syllabus – Optional Paper II
- Social and Political Ideals: Equality, Justice, Liberty.
- Sovereignty: Austin, Bodin, Laski, Kautilya.
- Individual and State: Rights; Duties and Accountability
- Forms of Government: Monarchy; Theocracy and Democracy.
- Political Ideologies: Anarchism; Marxism and Socialism
- Humanism; Secularism; Multiculturalism.
- Crime and Punishment: Corruption, Mass Violence, Genocide, Capital Punishment.
- Development and Social Progress.
- Gender Discrimination: Female Foeticide, Land and Property Rights; Empowerment.
- Caste Discrimination: Gandhi and Ambedkar
Philosophy of Religion
- Notions of God: Attributes; Relation to Man and the World. (Indian and Western).
- Proofs for the Existence of God and their Critique (Indian and Western).
- Problem of Evil.
- Soul: Immortality; Rebirth and Liberation.
- Reason, Revelation and Faith.
- Religious Experience: Nature and Object (Indian and Western).
- Religion without God.
- Religion and Morality.
- Religious Pluralism and the Problem of Absolute Truth.
- Nature of Religious Language: Analogical and Symbolic; Cognitivist and Noncognitive.
Also, Check Other UPSC IAS Optional Subject’s Syllabus
Preparation Strategies for UPSC Philosophy Optional Subject 2020
Here comes the catch as well, a good planning strategy to cover the syllabus by taking care of the depth of each topic will give you an upper hand in the subject.
- You could plan out a good time period of say two to two and a half months to prepare for the subject, including revision time.
- You could choose to refer good books and prepare your notes, or you could also attend a coaching centre to get a better grasp of the concepts.
- Once you get a good explanation of philosophical concepts and fundamentals, the rest could be a sweep.
- Many questions appear to be open questions which tend to brainstorm you to build your ideas and opinions/suggestions regarding a particular theory. That said, the subject is more of a comment based and opinionated type of pattern that will help you conquer your level of understanding and subject expertise.
- When we talk about human behavior and ethics, etc., there needs to be a level of conceptual understanding from the books. What we understand in general is a very vague idea perceived, and that shouldn’t be reflected in the paper. It gives the reader a very dull picture of the student’s opinion. A very formulative answer that is supported by strong theories and backed by comments and references could fetch more marks.
- A student needs to identify the roots of the concepts and how they are related to philosophy.
UPSC Philosophy Optional Books
- A history of philosophy by Frank Thilly.
- An introduction to Indian philosophy by S.Chatterjee
- An introduction to political theory by O P Gauba.
- Philosophy of religion by John H Hick
- A critical survey of Indian philosophy by C Sharma.
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