UPSC Philosophy Syllabus: Ultimate Guide to Success

Paper-I: History and Problems of Philosophy

1. Plato and Aristotle:

This section explores the foundational ideas of Plato and Aristotle, covering topics such as Ideas, Substance, Form and Matter, Causation, Actuality and Potentiality. The dialectical engagement between these two giants of ancient philosophy is crucial for understanding classical Western philosophical thought.

2. Rationalism (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz):

Examining the Cartesian Method, Certain Knowledge, Substance, God, Mind-Body Dualism, and Determinism versus Freedom, this section delves into the rationalist tradition. It provides insights into how reason and intellect were emphasized in the philosophical systems of Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz.

3. Empiricism (Locke, Berkeley, Hume):

The section on empiricism explores the theories of knowledge, substance and qualities, self and God, and skepticism as proposed by Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. It contrasts the empirical approach with rationalism, highlighting the debate on the sources and limits of human knowledge.

4. Kant:

Immanuel Kant’s philosophy is examined in terms of synthetic a priori judgments, space and time, categories, ideas of reason, antinomies, and his critique of proofs for the existence of God. This marks a pivotal point in modern philosophy, addressing the nature of human cognition and metaphysical questions.

5. Hegel:

This section introduces Hegel’s dialectical method and absolute idealism. Hegel’s philosophy is crucial in understanding the development of thought from Kantian idealism to absolute idealism and the emphasis on the dialectical process.

6. Moore, Russell, and Early Wittgenstein:

Covering the defense of commonsense, refutation of idealism, logical atomism, logical constructions, incomplete symbols, and the picture theory of meaning, this part explores the early analytic philosophy in the works of Moore, Russell, and Wittgenstein.

7. Logical Positivism:

The verification theory of meaning, rejection of metaphysics, and linguistic theory of necessary propositions are discussed in this section. Logical positivism marks a significant movement in 20th-century philosophy that sought to ground philosophy in logical analysis and empirical evidence.

8. Later Wittgenstein:

Later Wittgenstein’s concepts of meaning and use, language-games, and critique of private language are explored. This section showcases Wittgenstein’s shift from his earlier philosophy and emphasizes language as a tool embedded in social practices.

9. Phenomenology (Husserl):

The section on phenomenology covers Husserl’s method, theory of essences, and the avoidance of psychologism. Phenomenology is instrumental in understanding consciousness and the structure of experience without presuppositions.

10. Existentialism (Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger):

Exploring existentialism, this section addresses concepts such as existence and essence, choice, responsibility, authentic existence, being-in-the-world, and temporality. Existentialism focuses on individual freedom, choice, and the subjective experience of existence.

11. Quine and Strawson:

This part provides a critique of empiricism and explores Quine’s theory of basic particulars and persons. It contributes to the analytical tradition, challenging the foundations of traditional empiricism.

12. Carvaka:

The Carvaka school’s theory of knowledge and rejection of transcendent entities is examined. Carvaka represents an atheistic and materialistic school of thought in ancient Indian philosophy.

13. Jainism:

Covering the theory of reality, Saptabhanginaya, and concepts of bondage and liberation, this section delves into Jain philosophy, emphasizing non-violence, truth, and ascetic practices.

14. Schools of Buddhism:

Exploring various schools of Buddhism, including Pratityasamutpada, Ksanikavada, and Nairatmyavada, this section provides insights into Buddhist metaphysics and epistemology.

15. Nyaya-Vaisesika:

This part covers Nyaya and Vaisesika schools, discussing the theory of categories, theory of appearance, theory of pramana (valid means of knowledge), self, liberation, God, proofs for the existence of God, and the atomistic theory of creation.

16. Samkhya-Yoga:

Examining Samkhya and Yoga, this section covers concepts like Prakrti, Purusa, causation, and liberation. Samkhya is a dualistic school, while Yoga focuses on the discipline of the mind and body.

17. Mimamsa:

Exploring the Mimamsa school’s theory of knowledge, this section delves into the philosophical aspects of ritual and hermeneutics in Hindu tradition.

18. Schools of Vedanta:

Covering Brahman, Isvara, Atman, Jiva, Jagat, Maya, Avidya, Adhyasa, Moksa, Aprthaksiddhi, and Pancavidhabheda, this part provides insights into different schools of Vedanta and their metaphysical doctrines.

19. Aurobindo:

The section on Aurobindo discusses concepts of evolution, involution, and integral yoga. Aurobindo’s philosophy integrates spirituality and practical life, emphasizing the transformation of consciousness.


Part-1 Socio-Political Philosophy

1. Social and Political Ideals:

This section introduces fundamental ideals such as equality, justice, and liberty. It lays the groundwork for understanding various political philosophies and their ethical foundations.

2. Sovereignty:

The concept of sovereignty is explored through the perspectives of Austin, Bodin, Laski, and Kautilya. Understanding the nature and source of political authority is crucial in political philosophy.

3. Individual and State:

Examining rights, duties, and accountability, this section delves into the relationship between individuals and the state. It discusses the ethical and legal dimensions of citizenship.

4. Forms of Government:

This part discusses different forms of government, including monarchy, theocracy, and democracy. It addresses the strengths and weaknesses of each system and their implications for governance.

5. Political Ideologies:

Anarchism, Marxism, and socialism are explored in this section, providing insights into different ideologies that have shaped political thought. The critique of existing political structures is central to these ideologies.

6. Humanism, Secularism, Multiculturalism:

Philosophies such as humanism, secularism, and multiculturalism are discussed, emphasizing diverse perspectives on human values, separation of religion from governance, and the acknowledgment of cultural diversity.

7. Crime and Punishment:

Examining corruption, mass violence, genocide, and capital punishment, this section addresses ethical and legal considerations in dealing with crimes and punishments. It delves into the social and political dimensions of justice.

8. Development and Social Progress:

This part explores the philosophical dimensions of development and social progress. It addresses questions of equity, sustainability, and the ethical implications of various models of development.

9. Gender Discrimination:

Discussing issues such as female foeticide, land and property rights, and empowerment, this section critically examines gender discrimination and the philosophical underp
[16:28, 15/01/2024] Simran Mam LSF: pinnings of gender inequality. It delves into the ethical considerations surrounding women’s rights and empowerment.

10. Caste Discrimination:

This section critically examines caste discrimination, drawing insights from the perspectives of Mahatma Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar. It explores the historical and philosophical dimensions of caste-based inequalities and efforts towards social justice.

Part 2. Philosophy of Religion

1. Notions of God (Indian and Western):

Comparing the notions of God in both Indian and Western traditions, this section explores the attributes of the divine, its relation to humanity and the world, and the varying philosophical perspectives on the concept of God.

2. Proofs for the Existence of God and their Critique (Indian and Western):

Examining arguments for the existence of God and their criticisms, this section engages with classical and contemporary philosophical discussions on the rational basis for belief in the divine.

3. Problem of Evil:

The problem of evil is discussed in this part, addressing the philosophical challenge posed by the existence of evil in a world created or overseen by a benevolent and omnipotent deity.

4. Soul: Immortality, Rebirth, and Liberation:

Exploring the concept of the soul, this section delves into beliefs regarding its immortality, the idea of rebirth, and liberation or moksha. It encompasses perspectives from both Indian and Western philosophical traditions.

5. Reason, Revelation, and Faith:

Examining the interplay between reason, revelation, and faith, this part explores the epistemological foundations of religious beliefs. It considers how individuals arrive at religious truths through rational inquiry, divine revelation, or faith.

6. Religious Experience (Indian and Western):

Comparing religious experiences in both Indian and Western contexts, this section delves into the nature and object of religious experiences. It examines the phenomenological aspects of encounters with the divine.

7. Religion without God:

Exploring non-theistic or atheistic religious philosophies, this section considers philosophical perspectives that embrace religious or spiritual dimensions without positing the existence of a personal deity.

8. Religion and Morality:

Examining the relationship between religion and morality, this part discusses philosophical perspectives on whether ethical principles are inherently tied to religious doctrines or can be independently grounded.

9. Religious Pluralism and the Problem of Absolute Truth:

Addressing the diversity of religious beliefs, this section explores the challenges posed by religious pluralism and examines philosophical responses to the question of whether absolute truth exists within the realm of diverse religious traditions.

10. Nature of Religious Language: Analogical and Symbolic; Cognitivist and Non-cognitive:

The section on the nature of religious language discusses different approaches to understanding religious discourse, including analogical and symbolic interpretations. It also delves into cognitivist and non-cognitive theories regarding the truth value of religious statements.

This comprehensive syllabus in philosophy covers a vast array of topics, ranging from the historical foundations of philosophical thought to contemporary discussions on religion, ethics, and societal issues. Candidates preparing for the UPSC examination in philosophy will gain a deep understanding of diverse philosophical traditions and their implications on various aspects of human existence and society.

For the 2024 UPSC Calendar; CLICK HERE


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *