ias junior philosophy




Philosophy Syllabus 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.


The 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. Cârvâka : Theory of Knowledge; Rejection of Transcendent Entities. Jainism: Theory of Reality; Saptabhaòginaya; Bondage and Liberation.

Schools of Buddhism:

Pratîtyasamutpâda; Ksanikavada, Nairâtmyavâda. Nyâya- Vaiúesika: Theory of Categories; Theory of Appearance; Theory of Pramâna; Self, Liberation; God; Proofs for the Existence of God; Theory of Causation; Atomistic Theory of Creation. Sâmkhya: Prakrti; Purusa; Causation; Liberation. Yoga: Citta; Cittavrtti; Klesas; Samadhi; Kaivalya. Mimâmsâ: Theory of Knowledge. Schools of Vedânta: Brahman; Îúvara; Âtman; Jiva; Jagat; Mâyâ; Avidyâ; Adhyâsa; Moksa; Aprthaksiddhi; Pancavidhabheda Aurobindo: Evolution, Involution; Integral Yoga.

Philosophy Syllabus 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

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). The 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.

Reference Books:

  • Ashok Verma (Symbolic logic)
  • Dr. B.K. Lal (Contemporary Western Philosophy)
  • Dr. C.D. Sharma (Indian Philosophy)
  • Dr. Daya Krishna (Western Philosophy)
  • Dr. Deo Raj (Indian Philosophy)
  • Dr. Divakar Pathak (Indian Ethic)
  • Dr. Franckena Thilly (Western Philosophy)
  • Dr. V.P. Verma (Western Ethic)
  • Dr. Ya Mashiha (Western Philosophy)
  • Lilly (Ethics)
  • Six ways of knowing by D.M. Datta.

Optional notes: available under mentorship program.



  • Philosophy has the shortest syllabus than that of other subjects.
  • It is a scoring optional.
  • The entire syllabus can be completed in just two and half months.
  • The second paper is relatively open ended.
  • It involves topics which can be answered in the exam even with general knowledge.
  • Current affairs do not play any part in this subject. This should come as quite a relief to aspirants.
  • Studying philosophy is especially helpful in the ethics paper.
  • A lot of good study material is available for philosophy.

How to prepare:

  • Memorise the Syllabus.
  • Stick to limited reference books
  • Before starting preparation, go through previous year qps
  • As far as possible, remember the Sanskrit terms in Indian Philosophy and use them.
  • Link Indian Philosophy with western concepts wherever possible.
  • For example – Abhava is very similar to negative fact of Bertrand Russell. So, the Abhava debate between Prabhakara and Kumaril Bhatt is similar to the Negative Fact debate between Wittgenstein and Russell.
  • For contemporary Western Philosophy, try to watch some videos. Such as in School of Life youtube channel and some sources from Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, as well as Wikipedia. They are actually much simpler than we assume.
  • First, understand the question – if it is examine, analyse, critically analyse, short notes, explain, describe, etc.
  • For socio-political philosophy, build answers based on elaborating the important terms given in each of the questions, and then associating them with Thinkers who have argued on the respective subject.
  • Practise test series and solve minimum 10 previous year question papers.


Previous Year Question Papers:



2010 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
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Sample Toppers Answers (pdfs): 

Philosophy Topper sample answers

philosophy topper answers sample- juhi