Philosophy and Reason – Years 11 & 12

It helps puts things into perspective and allows me to make sense of my life through asking the big questions. Beth, Year 11

What We Believe

Philosophical Inquiry lessons to support and enhance other subjects have been developed in response to requests from departments or individual teachers. Over time these have been developed in all subject areas and in all year levels.

What has become clear (anecdotally) is the connection of Philosophical Inquiry to other subject areas. Feedback to this effect has come from both teachers and students. Aerin, one of our first cohort of Year 11 Philosophy and Reason students said:

 There have been many positive effects. One that stands out in particular is the way that I have been able to apply skills that I’ve learned to almost all of my senior schoolwork in other subjects. In the case of persuasive texts, I have been able to effectively justify my points and understand what makes my arguments valid. I have really noticed a difference in my thinking processes and the way that I learn now. I cannot begin to express how amazing it has been to process the ideas of others. I am able to understand current events and have philosophical opinions on them and express my thoughts on these with confidence. Overall, Philosophy has helped me immensely by improving my communication and cognitive skills, allowing me to not only take benefit from this subject, but in all aspects of my schooling and everyday life.

The positive impact of the Philosophical Inquiry program is attributable to the PI teachers who commit to the principles and unique strategies of delivering Hillbrook’s unique curriculum; starting with the Year 7 teachers who set the foundational philosophical themes and thinking skills through to the Year 10s teachers who nurture and facilitate deeper reasoning of broader philosophical topics.

Reflection from a Teacher

I found from the current Year 11 cohort (back when they were my Year 8 Business students) and continuing with each new Year 8 student, the calibre of responses both verbally and written have been more extensive and more articulate. I remember distinctly thinking that back in 2016, and have made my exams a bit more challenging since then. I don’t really have any evidence, other than believing that PI was the reason.

Vicki Hansen,

Business Teacher

Teacher and student working on philosophical inquiry

Philosophy and Reason provides opportunities for students to investigate philosophical ideas that have shaped and continue to influence contemporary society.

These ideas include:

  • what it means to be human
  • how we understand the role of reason in our individual and collective lives
  • how we think about and care for each other and the world around us.

 By the conclusion of the course of study during Years 11 and 12, students will:

  • define and use terminology
  • explain concepts, methods, principles and theories
  • interpret and analyse arguments, ideas and information
  • organise and synthesise ideas and information to construct arguments
  • evaluate claims and arguments inherent in theories, views and ideas
  • create responses that communicate meaning to suit purpose.


We are discussing no small matter but how we ought to live.

We believe that engaging students in PI helps build collaborative, flexible, independent thinkers with the capacity to innovate and solve problems. They become well-rounded individuals ready to take their place productively in our society.

Philosophy and Reason gives me the skills to understand my own and other people’s reasoning, specifically what is valid and sound. Now, in other parts of my life, I can look at my reasoning and check for fallacies, examine my premices and make sure I have properly explained them, in order to create a stronger and more reasoned argument. It also pushes me to think deeper and understand my beliefs, as well as those of people around me. It puts things into perspective and allows me to make sense of my life through asking the big questions. 

Beth, Year 11

Philosophy teaches you things you use day-to-day, like argument analysis. It also complements other subjects, through providing similar topics and relevant subject matter. I have certainly used things I have leaned in Philosophy literature. In modern day society it pays to be well versed in logic and reason – it is a field that we tap into daily to make decisions, form opinions and justify ourselves. To learn Philosophy is to learn the theory behind this system of reasoning. The subject of Philosophy and Reason features engaging content such as interesting thought experiments and philosophical exercises. It’s actually pretty sick!

Theo, Year 11

Ready to Enrol?

Choosing your child’s secondary education is a big step in the life of a parent. If you are ready to take that step you can start your application now, however you don’t have to complete it all in one sitting. Once you start, it will be uniquely saved for you to return and complete when convenient. 

You can also find out more about our enrolment process, including our Enrolment Policy and Entry Year Guide.


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