For a UPSC CSE aspirant, the optional subject is also an important subject. In the UPSC mains exam, optional marks have two papers, Paper 1 and Paper 2. Each paper is of 250 marks which makes a total of 500 marks. The UPSC optional subject list contains 48 subjects in total, one of which is Philosophy.

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SYLLABUS FOR PAPER I

  1. Plato and Aristotle: 
  • Ideas
  • Form and Matter
  • Substance
  • Potentiality
  • Causation
  • Actuality
  1. Rationalism (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz):
  • Cartesian Method and Certain Knowledge
  • God
  • Substance
  • Determinism and Freedom
  • Mind-Body Dualism
  1. Empiricsm (Locke, Berkeley, Hume): 
  • Theory of Knowledge
  • Substance and Qualities
  • Skepticism
  • Self and God
  1. Kant: 
  • Possibility of Synthetic a priori Judgments
  • Categories
  • Space and Time
  • Antinomies
  • Ideas of Reason
  • Critique of Proofs for the Existence of God
  1. Hegel: 
  • Absolute Idealism
  • Dialectical Method
  1. Moore, Russell and Early Wittgenstein: 
  • Defense of Commonsense
  • Refutation of Idealism
  • Logical Constructions
  • Logical Atomism
  • Incomplete Symbols
  • Saying and Showing
  • Picture Theory of Meaning
  1. Logical Positivism:
  • Verification Theory of Meaning
  • Linguistic Theory of Necessary Propositions
  • Rejection of Metaphysics
  1. Later Wittgenstein:
  • Meaning and Use
  • Critique of Private Language
  • Language-games
  1. Phenomenology (Husserl):
  • Method
  • Avoidance of Psychologism
  • Theory of Essences
  1. Existentialism (Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger):
  • Existence and Essence
  • Being–in–the–world and Temporality
  • Choice, Responsibility, and Authentic Existence
  1. Quine and Strawson: 
  • Theory of Basic Particulars and Persons
  • Critique of Empiricism
  1. Carvaka: 
  • Theory of Knowledge
  • Rejection of Transcendent Entities
  1. Jainism: 
  • Bondage and Liberation
  • Theory of Reality Saptabhanginaya
  1. Schools of Buddhism:
  • Pratityasamutpada
  • Nairatmyavada
  • Ksnikavada
  1. Nyaya Vaisesika:
  • Theory of Categories
  • Theory of Causation
  • Theory of Appearance
  • Atomistic Theory of Creation
  • Theory of Pramana
  • Self, Liberation
  • God
  • Proofs for the Existence of God
  1. Sa-mkhya:
  • Prakrti
  • Prurusa
  • Causation
  • Liberation
  1. Yoga: 
  • Cittavrtti
  • Citta
  • Klesas
  • Kaivalya
  • Samadhi

18. Mimamsa:

  • Theory of Knowledge
  1. Schools of Vedanta:
  • Brahman
  • Atman
  • Isvara
  • Jagat
  • Jiva
  • Maya
  • Avida
  • Adhyasa
  • Moksa
  • Pancavidhabheda
  • Aprthaksiddhi
  1. Aurobindo:
  • Involution
  • Evolution
  • Integral Yoga

SYLLABUS FOR PAPER II 

A. Socio-Political Philosophy

  1. Social and Political Ideals:
  • Justice
  • Liberty
  • Equality
  1. Sovereignty: 
  • Austin
  • Laski
  • Bodin
  • Kautilya
  1. Individual and State:
  • Rights
  • Accountability
  • Duties
  1. Forms of Government: 
  • Theocracy
  • Monarchy
  • Democracy
  1. Political Ideologies:
  • Anarchism
  • Socialism
  • Marxism
  1. Humanism;
  • Secularism
  • Multiculturalism
  1. Crime and Punishment: 
  • Corruption
  • Capital Punishment
  • Genocide
  • Mass Violence
  1. Development and Social Progress.
  1. Gender Discrimination:
  • Female Foeticide
  • Empowerment
  • Land and Property Rights
  1. Caste Discrimination: 
  • Gandhi
  • Ambedkar

B. Philosophy of Religion

  1. Notions of God:
  • Attributes
  • Relation to Man and the World (Indian and Western).
  1. Proofs for the Existence of God and their Critique (Indian and Western).
  1. Problem of Evil.
  1. Soul: 
  • Immortality
  • Liberation
  • Rebirth
  1. Reason, Revelation and Faith.
  1. Religious Experience:
  • Nature and Object (Indian and Western)
  1. Religion without God.
  1. Religion and Morality.
  1. Religious Pluralism and the Problem of Absolute Truth.
  1. Nature of Religious Language:
  • Analogical and Symbolic
  • Cognitive and Non- cognitive
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