The UPSC Mains examination is the crucible through which aspiring civil servants prove their mettle and understanding of a myriad of subjects. Among the plethora of optional subjects available, Philosophy stands as a choice that beckons those with a thirst for intellectual exploration. To navigate this fascinating realm, Classes by Mitra Sir offers an illuminating journey into the Philosophy syllabus for UPSC Mains. In this article, we provide a comprehensive overview of the syllabus, highlighting key topics and insights shared by Mitra Sir to empower UPSC aspirants.

Performance of Mitra’s IAS

I Recommended for Mitra sir is best teacher for preparing philosophy optional for UPSC Civil Services Exam. In year 2022, 19 of his students got selected in the final list. Also, he has been giving such consistent results over last 15 years with 10-20 selections each year.

Paper I: Indian Philosophy and Western Philosophy

1. Indian Philosophy:

  • A brief introduction to Indian philosophy: Understanding the historical and cultural context of Indian philosophical thought.
  • The schools of Indian philosophy: Delving into the six classical schools, including Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa, and Vedanta.
  • Buddhism and Jainism: Examining the core tenets and contributions of these two significant philosophical traditions.
  • Contemporary relevance: Mitra Sir emphasizes connecting ancient Indian philosophical ideas with contemporary issues, fostering a holistic understanding.

2. Western Philosophy:

  • Pre-Socratic Philosophers: Exploring the thoughts of philosophers like Thales, Anaximander, and Heraclitus, and their contributions to metaphysics and epistemology.
  • Socratic and Platonic Philosophy: Analyzing the philosophical inquiries of Socrates and the metaphysical ideas of Plato.
  • Aristotelian Philosophy: Understanding Aristotle’s contributions to ethics, politics, and natural philosophy.
  • Modern Western Philosophy: Delving into the works of philosophers like Descartes, Hume, and Kant, and their impact on contemporary thought.

Paper II: Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy

1. Ethics:

  • Metaethics and Normative Ethics: Discussing the distinction between metaethics and normative ethics and exploring various ethical theories.
  • Utilitarianism, Deontology, Virtue Ethics: Analyzing these ethical theories in-depth, and their application in moral dilemmas.
  • Applied Ethics: Mitra Sir focuses on the practical application of ethical principles in real-world situations, including medical ethics, business ethics, and environmental ethics.

2. Social and Political Philosophy:

  • Social Philosophy: Examining concepts like justice, equality, and freedom in the context of society.
  • Political Philosophy: Delving into political ideologies, including liberalism, socialism, and feminism.
  • Gandhian Philosophy: Highlighting the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy in the contemporary world.
  • Ambedkar’s Philosophy: Understanding the contributions of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to social and political thought.

3. Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Science

Philosophy of Religion:

  • The nature of religion: Discussing the various definitions and approaches to understanding religion.
  • Arguments for and against the existence of God: Examining classical arguments, including the cosmological, teleological, and ontological arguments.
  • Religious pluralism and secularism: Analyzing the challenges and implications of religious diversity and secular governance.

Philosophy of Science:

  • Scientific realism vs. instrumentalism: Exploring the philosophical debate surrounding the nature of scientific theories and models.
  • Induction and deduction: Discussing the role of induction and deduction in scientific reasoning.
  • Scientific revolutions: Understanding Thomas Kuhn’s concept of paradigm shifts and its impact on the philosophy of science.


The Philosophy syllabus for UPSC Mains, as elucidated by Classes by Mitra Sir, is a treasure trove of intellectual exploration. It not only equips aspirants with the knowledge and insights necessary for the examination but also fosters a deeper understanding of the profound questions that have shaped human thought. Classes by Mitra Sir’s guidance and expertise empower UPSC aspirants to not just excel in their exams but also embark on a lifelong journey of philosophical inquiry and critical thinking, essential qualities for future civil servants.


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