Philosophy Extended Essay Topics for IB

Philosophy Extended Essay Topics

Taking on the Extended Essay is a significant academic undertaking. As an IB tutor and writer, I understand the unique challenges and rewards it presents. With its breadth and depth, the Philosophy course offers a particularly fascinating field for research. In this post, I will discuss topics to consider for the Philosophy Extended Essay.

Popular Themes for Your Philosophy Extended Essay

Before we begin, let’s look at some common themes many students have used and successfully written their Extended Essays. By the way, with our skilled writers, you can order an Extended Essay explicitly written for you and achieve a great score without effort.

Ethics and Morality

Consider topics such as the ethical implications of artificial intelligence. It could involve investigating whether AI can make moral decisions or if morality is uniquely human. Another engaging topic is moral relativism in global conflicts, which examines whether moral standards can be universally applied or are culturally dependent.

Philosophy of Mind

From my experience, topics in the philosophy of mind, like the mind-body problem, attract considerable interest. You might research the distinction between the mind and the body and whether this distinction is a cultural construct or a concrete reality.

Political Philosophy

Political philosophy also offers a fertile ground for research. You could write about the principles underlying political liberalism or analyze the concept of justice in modern societies. These topics align with the core themes of IB Philosophy and encourage a critical evaluation of contemporary issues.

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Philosophy Extended Essay Topics for IB

Philosophy Extended Essay Topics and Research Questions

Choosing a topic that interests you is crucial. A topic that resonates with you will keep you motivated through the long process of researching and writing. Among the Philosophy Extended Essay Topics I give you below, you are sure to find the perfect one:

  1. The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence. Can artificial intelligence ever achieve moral agency, and what implications does this have for human responsibility?
  2. Free Will and Determinism. To what extent does the concept of determinism challenge the traditional understanding of free will in human actions?
  3. Philosophy of Mind: Consciousness. How can contemporary philosophical theories explain the phenomenon of consciousness concerning the physical brain?
  4. Existentialism and Authenticity. How do existentialist philosophers define the concept of authenticity, and why is it essential for individual freedom?
  5. Moral Relativism vs. Moral Absolutism. Is moral relativism a more plausible ethical theory than moral absolutism in today’s globalized world?
  6. Philosophical Implications of Quantum Mechanics. How do the principles of quantum mechanics challenge traditional philosophical notions of reality and determinism?
  7. Utilitarianism in Public Policy. How effective is utilitarianism as a guiding principle for public policy decisions in modern democracies?
  8. Philosophy of Language: Meaning and Interpretation. What role does context play in the interpretation of meaning in language, according to Ludwig Wittgenstein?
  9. Feminist Philosophy: The Ethics of Care. How does the ethics of care challenge traditional ethical theories in addressing justice and equality?
  10. The Philosophy of Education: Knowledge vs. Understanding. What should be the primary goal of education — imparting knowledge or fostering understanding — and why?
  11. Environmental Ethics and Human Responsibility. What moral obligations do humans have towards the environment, and how can these be philosophically justified?
  12. Social Contract Theories and Modern Society. How relevant are Rousseau’s and Hobbes’ social contract theories in explaining the foundation of modern political authority?
  13. The Concept of Justice in Plato’s Republic. How does Plato’s concept of justice in ‘The Republic’ relate to modern ideas of fairness and equality?
  14. Nietzsche and the Philosophy of Power. How does Friedrich Nietzsche’s “will to power” philosophy provide insight into contemporary social and political issues?
  15. The Problem of Evil in Theodicy. How do different philosophical traditions address the problem of evil, and can it be reconciled with the existence of an all-powerful, benevolent deity?
  16. The Ethics of Euthanasia. Under what conditions, if any, can euthanasia be morally justified from a utilitarian perspective?
  17. Philosophy of Science: Paradigm Shifts. How do Thomas Kuhn’s ideas about paradigm shifts challenge the objective nature of scientific knowledge?
  18. Existence and Concept of God. Can the existence of God be proved or disproved using Anselm’s ontological argument?
  19. Philosophy and Literature: Camus’s Absurdism. How does Albert Camus’ concept of the absurd in literature provide a philosophical critique of existential nihilism?
  20. Philosophical Skepticism and Knowledge. Is absolute certainty necessary for knowledge, according to philosophical skeptics?
  21. Virtue Ethics and Modern Morality. How does Aristotle’s theory of virtue ethics apply to contemporary moral dilemmas, such as corporate ethics?
  22. Philosophy of Art: Aesthetics and Experience. According to Immanuel Kant, what role does aesthetic experience play in art appreciation?
  23. Justice and Social Equity. How does John Rawls’ theory of justice as fairness apply to contemporary debates about economic inequality?
  24. Philosophy of Religion: Faith vs. Reason. Can faith in a religious context ever be reconciled with the demands of rational justification?
  25. Marxism and Class Conflict. How relevant are Karl Marx’s theories of class conflict and societal change in understanding modern capitalist societies?
  26. Bioethics and Genetic Engineering. What ethical principles should govern the use of genetic engineering technologies in humans?
  27. Philosophy of Technology and Human Values. How does technology influence human values, and what philosophical issues does this raise about autonomy and freedom?
  28. Eastern Philosophy: Concepts of Self in Buddhism. How does the Buddhist concept of ‘no-self’ challenge Western notions of identity and selfhood?
  29. Political Philosophy: The Right to Privacy. What philosophical arguments support the right to privacy in the digital age?
  30. Phenomenology and Perception. How does Husserl’s phenomenology enhance our understanding of the relationship between perception and reality?
  31. Ethical Implications of Human Cloning. What are the philosophical arguments for and against the ethical permissibility of human cloning?
  32. Philosophy of Time: Presentism vs. Eternalism. How do presentism and eternalism differ in their conceptualization of time, and what implications do these differences have for our understanding of reality?
  33. Animal Rights and Ethical Vegetarianism. Can the moral arguments for vegetarianism and animal rights be justified through Kantian ethics?
  34. Philosophy of Happiness: Utilitarianism vs. Hedonism. How do utilitarian and hedonist views on happiness differ, and which provides a more sustainable model for societal well-being?
  35. Simone de Beauvoir and Feminism. How does Simone de Beauvoir’s concept of the “Other” contribute to contemporary feminist thought and the fight for gender equality?
  36. The Philosophy of Language: Truth and Meaning. According to contemporary philosophers like Donald Davidson, what is the relationship between language, truth, and meaning?
  37. Ethics of War and Peace. How can just war theory be applied to evaluate the morality of modern warfare practices?
  38. Philosophy of Education: Critical Thinking. What is the role of critical thinking in education, and how should it be fostered according to classical and contemporary philosophers?
  39. Stoicism and Modern Life. How relevant are Stoic philosophies in helping individuals deal with modern life stresses and decision-making?
  40. Cognitive Liberty and Neuroethics. What are the philosophical implications of cognitive liberty in the context of emerging neurotechnologies?
  41. Philosophical Analysis of Utopian and Dystopian Literature. How do utopian and dystopian works of literature reflect philosophical ideas about society and human nature?
  42. Existential Risks and Global Priorities. What philosophical principles should guide humanity’s approach to existential risks, such as artificial intelligence or climate change?
  43. The Ethics of Care: A Feminist Critique. How does the ethics of care provide a feminist critique of traditional ethical theories like utilitarianism and deontology?
  44. Postmodernism and Truth. How does postmodern philosophy challenge traditional concepts of truth and knowledge?
  45. Philosophy and Disability. What do philosophical theories suggest about the ethical treatment and societal integration of individuals with disabilities?
  46. The Moral Implications of Poverty and Wealth. From a philosophical standpoint, what are the moral obligations of wealthy societies towards impoverished ones?
  47. Philosophy of Law: Natural Law vs. Legal Positivism. How do natural law and legal positivism differ in their approaches to understanding the nature and purpose of law?
  48. The Ethics of Space Research. What ethical considerations should govern the expansion of human activity into space, particularly concerning planetary protection and exploitation?
  49. Philosophical Underpinnings of Capitalism and Socialism. What philosophical arguments support capitalism and socialism, and how do they address human welfare?
  50. Mindfulness and Philosophy. How does mindfulness practice intersect with philosophical concepts of consciousness and self-awareness?
  51. The Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence: Personhood and Rights. Should advanced artificial intelligence be considered a person, and what rights would they be entitled to?
  52. Existentialism and Freedom. How do existentialist philosophers conceptualize freedom, and what implications does this have for personal responsibility?
  53. Neurophilosophy and the Self. How does neurophilosophy challenge traditional philosophical views about the self and personal identity?
  54. Philosophical Perspectives on Environmental Conservation. What are the philosophical bases for environmental conservation, and how do they address the challenge of sustainable development?
  55. Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Beauty. What role does beauty play in human experience, according to philosophers like Kant and Hume, and how does this influence contemporary aesthetic judgments?

According to general IB criteria, a topic too broad can be as challenging as one too narrow. Therefore, preliminary research to gauge the scope of available academic material is a step you must take.

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The Philosophy Extended Essay gives an excellent chance for IB students to focus on a topic of great interest to them. In my experience, the path to success is mindful topic selection, extensive research, and a clear, logical structure of your essay. Remember to request feedback from your supervisor and maintain a critical eye on your work. Also, our IB experts are always here and ready to help with EE writing on any subject.