UPSC Philosophy Mains Syllabus 2023: Download PDF for Mains Exam

UPSC Philosophy Mains Syllabus 2023: Preparing for UPSC CSE Mains Exam and optional Philosophy, then check the topic-wise UPSC Philosophy Optional Syllabus for Papers 1 & 2, PDF here.

Jul 25, 2023, 23:20 IST
UPSC Philosophy Syllabus
UPSC Philosophy Syllabus

UPSC Philosophy Syllabus 2023: Philosophy is one of the most preferred optional subjects in the UPSC exam. As per the past 10 years' statistics, approximately 400-600 aspirants choose Philosophy optional subject, and the success ratio varies between 7-9%. The UPSC Philosophy mains syllabus provides valuable information about the issues related to the history and evolution of philosophy and its effect on Indian Culture. 

Thus, aspirants must check the latest philosophy Syllabus for UPSC before commencing the preparation and must also create a list of important topics as per the exam requirement. Going by the previous year's exam analysis, it is reported that the questions asked in Philosophy optional subjects are moderate.

In this blog, we have shared the detailed UPSC Philosophy mains syllabus Pdf along with the preparation strategy and best books for the ease of the aspirants.

UPSC Philosophy Mains Syllabus 2023 PDF

The Philosophy optional syllabus is divided into two papers, i.e., Paper I and Paper II  in the UPSC Mains exam. Each paper comprises 250 marks with a maximum of 500 marks. Aspirants are advised to follow the latest UPSC Philosophy mains syllabus and use the right resources to excel in this subject. Mentioned below is the topic-wise UPSC Philosophy syllabus for both papers shared below.

UPSC IAS Philosophy Syllabus

Download Here

UPSC Philosophy Mains Syllabus for Paper I

The UPSC Philosophy Mains Syllabus for Paper I covers one topic, i.e., History and Problems of Philosophy that are sub-divided into sub-topics like  Plato and Aristotle,  Rationalism, Empiricism, Kant, Hegel, Logical Positivism, etc. Check the subject-wise UPSC Philosophy Paper I syllabus below.

  • 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.
  • Kant: 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, Sarte, 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.
  • Carvaka: Theory of Knowledge; Rejection of Transcendent Entities
  • Jainism: Theory of Reality; Saptabhanginaya; Bondage and Liberation.
  • Schools of Buddhism: Prat Ityasamutpada; Ksanikavada, Nairatmyavada.
  • Nyaya—Vaiesesika: Theory of Categories; Theory of Appearance; Theory of Pramana; Self, Liberation; God; Proofs for the Existence of God; Theory of Causation; Atomistic Theory of Creation.
  • Samkhya; Prakrit; Purusa; Causation; Liberation.
  • Yoga; Citta; Cittavrtti; Klesas; Samadhi; Kaivalya.
  • Mimamsa: Theory of Knowledge.
  • Schools of Vedanta: Brahman; Isvara; Atman; Jiva; Jagat; Maya; Avida; Adhyasa; Moksa; Aprthaksiddhi; Pancavidhabheda.
  • Aurobindo: Evolution, Involution; Integral Yoga

UPSC Philosophy Mains Syllabus for Paper II

The UPSC Philosophy Mains Syllabus for Paper II covers two topics, i.e., Socio-Political Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion, further subdivided into various topics. Check the subject-wise UPSC Philosophy Paper II syllabus below.

UPSC Philosophy Mains Paper II Syllabus

Socio-Political Philosophy

Social and Political ldeals: 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; Multi-culturalism.

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).

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 Non-cognitive.


How to Prepare for UPSC Philosophy Mains Syllabus 2023?

Philosophy is one of the most popular and preferred optional subjects among UPSC aspirants. Aspirants must check the UPSC Philosophy mains syllabus to discover important and unimportant topics for the exam. Based on the latest syllabus and trends, they must prepare an adequate UPSC Philosophy preparation strategy and choose the best books for preparation. Mentioned below are the best tips and tricks to perform well in the UPSC Philosophy mains exam.

  • Analyse the latest Syllabus: One should check the latest UPSC Philosophy mains syllabus to study all the topics and sub-topics important from the exam perspective. 
  • Learn Basic Fundamentals: The next tip is to clear the basic concepts of all the topics specified in the official syllabus. Thus, they should choose expert-recommended books and online resources to master the concepts.
  • Previous Year Papers: Practice UPSC Philosophy's previous year's papers to get familiar with the topics asked in the exam along with the question weightage and difficulty level.
  • Practice of Answer-writing: After completing half of the syllabus, one should start practicing answer-writing for the optional subject. This will allow them to improve their speed of answering questions along with accuracy.
  • Attempt Mock Tests: Candidates must solve mock tests and sample papers to assess the level of their preparation. Also, it will help them to identify their strong and weak areas and allow them to strengthen their weak areas.

Booklist for UPSC Philosophy Mains Syllabus

There are a variety of UPSC Philosophy books and resources available for exam preparation. The right books, study materials, and online resources will help them cover all the topics of the UPSC Philosophy Mains Syllabus. Let’s look at the paper-wise books for the Philosophy optional subject shared below:

UPSC Philosophy Mains Books 2023

Paper I

A Critical History of Greek Philosophy (Plato and Aristotle) by W. T. Stace

A New History of Western Philosophy. OUP Oxford by Anthony Kenny

A History of Philosophy (Relevant Chapters from volume I, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX & XI) by Copleston.

A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy. MLBD by C. D. Sharma.

An Introduction to Indian Philosophy. Rupa Publishing by Datta & Chatterjee

Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy.

Paper II

Social & Political Philosophy by O. P. Gauba

Philosophy of Religion by John Hick

Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction by Michael B. Wilkinson

Oxford Dictionary of Politics

Political Theory, An Introduction. Edited by Rajeev Bhargava & Ashok Acharya.

Get here latest School, CBSE and Government Jobs notification in English and Hindi for Sarkari Naukari and Sarkari Result. Download the Jagran Josh Sarkari Naukri App.


  • Which basic books cover UPSC Philosophy Mains Syllabus?
    Some of the books that cover the UPSC Philosophy mains syllabus include A Critical History of Greek Philosophy (Plato and Aristotle) by W. T. Stace, A New History of Western Philosophy. OUP Oxford by Anthony Kenny, Oxford Dictionary of Politics.
  • How to prepare for the UPSC Philosophy mains syllabus?
    To excel in the Philosophy optional subject, candidates should adhere to the latest UPSC Philosophy Mains Syllabus, pick the best books, and attempt mock tests and previous papers of last 5 years.
  • Is the Philosophy subject for UPSC easy?
    Philosophy is a preferred subject among all the optional papers in the UPSC main exam. As per the past trend and analysis, the question asked in Philosophy optional papers was moderate.
  • What is the UPSC Philosophy Mains Syllabus?
    The UPSC Philosophy Mains Syllabus for Paper I covers one topic, i.e., the History and Problems of Philosophy. In contrast, the UPSC Philosophy Mains Syllabus for Paper II covers two topics, i.e., Socio-Political Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion.


Related Stories

Trending Categories

Latest Education News

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.