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Version date: 09 September 2011
Key changes: Version 2
Subject facilitator email: seniorsecondary@tki.org.nz

What is philosophy?

Philosophy is about acquiring wisdom through free inquiry. It explores fundamental questions about the world and our place in it.

For example:

  • How do I know what is real?
  • How should I live, and who should decide?
  • How much should I reveal about myself (on Facebook
    for example)?
  • How should tapu and noa influence my behaviour?
  • What makes a fair society?

Teacher and philosophy student.


In philosophy, wisdom and knowledge are pursued through imaginative speculation together with sustained reflection and critical argument.

Philosophy pushes students to use reason and logical argument to explore the limits of their understanding and cultural perspectives.

Philosophy develops students’ ability to question and to form rational, plausible arguments in a wide variety of contexts.

Philosophy curriculum guide content

Use the links below to access the sections of this guide. To navigate through the guide's web pages, select from the section and sub-section menu in the left-hand navigation.

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To print the complete guide, select the ‘Download this guide in PDF format’ button. If your browser default is set to automatically open PDF downloads in a PDF reader, the entire guide will open and can then be printed. If not, the entire guide will download into your download folder, where you can then open the document and print. Please note, some guides may be more than 200 pages long.

Last updated July 31, 2015