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Philosophy Optional for UPSC 2025

  • May 2024
Philosophy Optionals

Click to download brochure of Philosophy Optional Foundation Classes for UPSC 2025


You can view  demo lectures by clicking the links below,

Sociopolitical Philosophy      Philosophy of Religion


Course Highlight's

  • Short syllabus
  • Logical and easy to follow
  • Helps in GS Paper IV (Ethics) and Essay Paper
  • Content is mostly static
  • Develops reasoning and critical thinking
  • Appeals to all students irrespective of Academic Background


What we Offer

  • Exhaustive coverage of Philosophy Optional Paper 1 and 2
  • Comprehensive and detailed study material
  • Interactive and thought provoking classroom sessions
  • 10 comprehensive test to track progress
  • Rigourous writing practice sessions
  • Assistance in developing Mental Maps

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; Scepticism.
  • 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 Method; 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; Saptabhanginaya; Bondage and Liberation.
  • Schools of Buddhism: Pratîtyasamutpada; Ksanikavada, Nairatmyavada
  • Nyaya- Vaisesika: 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; Îsvara; Atman; Jiva; Jagat; Maya; Avidya; Adhyasa; Moksa; Aprthaksiddhi; Pancavidhabheda
  • Aurobindo: Evolution, Involution; Integral Yoga.
Reference books:

Western Philosophy

  • A Critical Survey of Western Philosophy -Y. Masih
  • A History of Philosophy - F. Thilly
  • Contemporary Western Philosophy- D.M Dutta
  • History of Philosophy - B.Russell
  • An introduction to Western Philosophy-D.Palmer
  • IGNOU materials.
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Dictionary of Philosophy.

Indian Philosophy

  • An Introduction to Indian Philosophy –Dutta and Chatterjee
  • A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy – C.D Sharma
  • IGNOU materials.
  • Dictionary of Philosophy

Paper – II

Socio-Political Philosophy:

    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
Reference Books
  • Social and Political Philosophy –O.P Gauba
  • NCERT Books
  • IGNOU material
  • Stanford Encyclopedia on Philosophy
  • Dictionary of Philosophy

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; Cognitive and Non-cognitive.

Reference Books

  • Introduction to Religious Philosophy –Y. Masih
  • Philosophy of Religion- John Hick
  • IGNOU material
  • Stanford Encyclopedia on Philosophy
  • Dictionary of Philosophy

Common queries about Philosophy Optional?

Q) Who all can choose philosophy optional?

A) People from any background can choose it. Eventhough philosophy is classified as a humanities subject most of the successful candidates are from science background.


Q) While going through the syllabus I feel like some of the topics and terminologies are not familiar. Does it mean that I have to read something before choosing the philosophy optional? Also is it inevitable to byheart the terminologies?

A) All the topics are common sensical to their core and they will be dealt with in a very simplified manner that anyone can understand. The terminologies will be part of your active vocabulary as the course evolves. You don’t have to memorise things without understanding them. You will fall in love with the subject after every session.


Q) Is it necessary to have philosophical language to score well in the subject?

A) Every subject has its own language which every serious aspirant learns sub-consciously while learning a subject. In philosophy its only about clear understanding and not about using jargons and being too “philosophical” to score high.


Q) Do I need to have my own thoughts about different philosophers for scoring high?

A) You need to understand the basic thoughts of the philosophers in the syllabus and their critique. Just present what is in the book in a coherent manner. In fact writing own thoughts will back fire. Just stick on to the instructions you receive from a good philosophy mentor who knows the subject decently and the exam process clearly.


Q) Can philosophy give me some kind of aid in GS preparation as well?

A)The basic aptitude for cracking ethics and essay questions will definitely get enhanced through studying philosophy. Also it can help you appreciate subjects like polity and society in a more analytical way. It can be materialized to good scores through proper practice.


Q) Are there any other benefits which I can get by choosing philosophy optional?

A) Concurring with the popular belief, it can be said that syllabus of philosophy is very short and concise. You need not worry about contemporary developments in the subject as it is fully static in nature. So you can dedicate a decent time for GS, as the final success is about getting the combinations right.


Q) Is it a scoring subject?

A) Scoring 300+ in any subject is about being in the top 1% in that subject. Getting scores around 260 with minimal efforts also can secure you good ranks with decent marks in GS papers. In Enlite we have had some students scoring 300+ in most of the years and around 80% of the candidates scoring around 260+. So from Enlite’s perspective it is a scoring subject.


Q) If I am thinking of choosing philosophy optional, why should I choose Enlite IAS?

A) Beginning from classroom sessions to handholding you till you clear the exam, we always value your satisfaction and goodwill than anything else. Our strength lies in the sincerity with which toppers give us our due in their success. Also the yet to be successful candidates appreciate our academic competency and dedication from the bottom of their hearts. This gives us full confidence to say you “if you join us, you will never feel letdown”.


Q) Okay, how will the courses proceed once if I join Enlite IAS for the philosophy foundation class?


A) The philosophy course will have 3 phases


Phase I – Concept building phase


In around 90 classes ( < 150 hours) you will be taught about the all the concepts in the syllabus from “ground zero” . You only need to come with an open mind with full dedication. Also we are passionate about clearing your doubts and help you discriminate between what should be learnt? and what should not be learned? from the exam perspective. Also you will be provided with printed materials which are sufficient for clearing the exam.


Phase II - Consolidation phase


You will be shared with a detailed revision plan in this phase. Here you will be given access to the recorded Question and Answer sessions from all the probable angles in the syllabus. You should watch them and read the material multiple number of times.


Phase III - The final phase


Once you are safe in the prelims, we will work on intense writing followed by individual mentorship sessions. In a span of 3 months you will be writing at least 10 mock tests within the stipulated time of 3 hours. In this process we will individually assist you in all possible ways to come out in flying colours in the civil service exam.


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