UPSC Philosophy Optional Syllabus - Download Philosophy Syllabus for UPSC PDF

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : January 18th, 2023

Philosophy Optional Syllabus of UPSC is focused on the topics and problems related to the evolution and history of philosophy and its influence on the culture of India. Philosophy Optional is a popular subject as a chunk of it overlaps with other general studies and essay papers. In addition, the UPSC Philosophy Optional Syllabus is static in nature, so the candidates don’t have to prepare for the current affairs section for this subject.

Furthermore, the Philosophy Syllabus for UPSC is concise, and resources are easily available for preparation. However, the candidates must have a strong grip over the Philosophy Optional Syllabus to come up with an effective preparation strategy and score big in this paper. 

Table of Content

Philosophy Optional Syllabus

The topics included in the UPSC philosophy optional syllabus should be prepared thoroughly by studying UPSC question papers and reading from relevant books. The candidates can also integrate their preparation for the Philosophy UPSC syllabus and the General studies of UPSC mains as there are some common topics between them. Check out the UPSC philosophy syllabus for both paper 1 and paper 2 below, and shape your preparation accordingly. There will be two papers in the UPSC philosophy syllabus, Paper 1, and Paper 2. Each paper will be 250 marks, and a total of 500 marks. By getting acquainted with the topics of the syllabus the candidates can enhance their level of UPSC preparation strategy.

UPSC Philosophy Optional Syllabus


Philosophy UPSC Syllabus Paper 1

History and Problems of Philosophy

UPSC Philosophy Syllabus Paper 2

Socio-Political Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion

Philosophy Optional Syllabus PDF

Candidates can download the UPSC philosophy syllabus from the link given below, and take a printout of it to ensure every topic is covered properly. The candidates can download the philosophy syllabus PDF which will aid them in covering the UPSC syllabus effectively.

Philosophy Syllabus for UPSC PDF

The Philosophy Optional Syllabus contains all the topics that are to be completed for the mains exam. Aspirants preparing in Hindi medium can also download UPSC Philosophy Syllabus In Hindi PDF

UPSC Philosophy Optional Syllabus Paper 1

Paper 1 of the Philosophy Optional Syllabus focuses on the history and problems of philosophy, divided into subtopics. UPSC Philosophy Syllabus for paper 1 include topics related to thinkers such as Plato, Kant, etc. Apt and accurate utilization of the UPSC study material will enable the candidates in preparing effectively for the exam.

Philosophy Optional Syllabus

UPSC Philosophy Optional Syllabus
Philosophy Syllabus for UPSC Paper 2

Two major topics included in paper 2 of the Philosophy UPSC Syllabus are socio-political philosophy, and philosophy of religion. Detailed knowledge of the core concepts and fundamentals of the philosophy will enable the candidates in performing well in the upcoming exam. This is an important and eminent segment of the UPSC mains and pushes the candidates toward achieving the desired position in the recruitment process.

Socio Political Philosophy UPSC Syllabus

It is advised to the aspirants to pick their optional subjects after taking a look at the syllabus. This highly impacts the performance of the candidates. This is a part of paper 2 of IAS Philosophy optional. The candidates can prepare for UPSC from zero level, if you have a methodical and efficient preparation strategy.

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

Philosophy Syllabus for UPSC

How to Prepare Philosophy Optional Syllabus?

The UPSC Philosophy Optional Syllabus is divided into four parts namely Indian Philosophy, Western Philosophy, Religious Philosophy, and Social-Political Philosophy. We have prepared a preparation strategy for each part. The candidates can refer to the preparation strategy adopted by the UPSC toppers in order to succeed and score good marks.

  • Indian Philosophy and Western Philosophy- Both these topics are included in GS paper 1 of the UPSC philosophy syllabus. Following good books, and online resources would be helpful while preparing for this topic.
  • Social-political philosophy and religious philosophy- for preparing these topics, candidates need to refer to the Hindu editorials, and articles from monthly magazines. 
  • Practicing UPSC mains answer writing, and preparing notes for this subject would be a good addition to the preparation.
  • Refer to the answer of toppers and get a point of view of how the answers should be constructed.

Important Topics of Philosophy Optional Syllabus

The candidates must be in possession of an in-depth knowledge of all the core concepts of the UPSC optional subjects. However, the essential topics can be marked by the candidates and prioritized while preparing for UPSC. The list of the essential segments of the Philosophy optional syllabus has been mentioned here-

  • Social and Political Ideals
  • Sovereignty
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Gender Discrimination

Best Books for UPSC Philosophy Syllabus

Apart from strategic preparation, following good books is highly essential. The candidates can check the IAS toppers optional subject and check their preparation strategy to get complete idea of preparation. Some of the highly recommended books to cover the UPSC philosophy syllabus are:

  • An Introduction to Indian Philosophy by Satishchandra Chatterjee
  • Contemporary Indian Philosophy by Basant Kumar Lal
  • An Introduction to Political Theory by O.P. Gauba
  • Philosophy of Religion by John H Hick
  • A Critical History of Western Philosophy: Greek, Medieval and Modern by Yakub Masih
  • A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy by Chandradhar Sharma

Other optional subject syllabi apart from UPSC Philosophy Optional Syllabus are given below. If you are still deciding on the optional subject for UPSC, download the syllabus and comprehensively go through the topics. 

List of UPSC Optional Subjects Syllabus
UPSC Agriculture SyllabusUPSC Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Syllabus
UPSC Anthropology SyllabusUPSC Botany Syllabus
UPSC Chemistry SyllabusUPSC Civil Engineering Syllabus
UPSC Commerce and Accountancy SyllabusUPSC Economics Syllabus
UPSC Electrical Engineering SyllabusUPSC English Literature Syllabus
UPSC Geography Syllabus UPSC Geology Syllabus
UPSC Hindi Literature SyllabusUPSC History Syllabus
UPSC Law SyllabusUPSC Management Syllabus
UPSC Maths Optional SyllabusUPSC Mechanical Engineering Syllabus
UPSC Medical Science SyllabusUPSC CSAT Syllabus
UPSC Physics SyllabusUPSC Political Science and International Relations (PSIR) Optional Syllabus
UPSC Psychology SyllabusUPSC Public Administration Syllabus
UPSC Science and Technology SyllabusUPSC Sociology Optional Syllabus
UPSC Statistics SyllabusUPSC Zoology Syllabus


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FAQs on Philosophy Optional Syllabus

  • The UPSC Philosophy Optional Syllabus has two papers, namely paper 1 and paper 2. Paper 1 focuses on the History and Problems of Philosophy, while paper 2 of the UPSC Philosophy Syllabus talks about Socio-Political Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Religion.

  • There is a chunk of the UPSC Philosophy Optional Syllabus can be found in the UPSC mains syllabus for paper 4 (ethics). This is one of the reasons why it is one of the popular optional subjects for the UPSC exam.

  • Candidates can download the UPSC philosophy syllabus from the official website of UPSC in the form of a notification. The direct link to download the UPSC syllabus for philosophy in both English and Hindi is mentioned here.

    DownloadPhilosophy Optional Syllabus PDF

  • Yes, it is possible to cover both the Philosophy Optional Syllabus and UPSC prelims syllabus simultaneously. You must cover the UPS prelims syllabus along with the mains and then shift your focus to only prelims a few months before the exam

  • Some of the highly recommended books for covering paper 1 of the UPSC Philosophy syllabus are as listed below. The candidates must pick apart study materials and UPSC philosophy books for preparing efficiently for the upcoming exam.

    • An Introduction to Indian Philosophy by Satishchandra Chatterjee
    • Contemporary Indian Philosophy by Basant Kumar Lal
    • A Critical History of Western Philosophy: Greek, Medieval and Modern by Yakub Masih
    • A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy by Chandradhar Sharma
  • The UPSC philosophy syllabus is shorter, As compared to other optional subject syllabi. Additionally, the syllabus is precisely defined, and that’s why it has become a popular choice among aspirants.

  • Yes, with the right approach, guidance, and plan you will be able to cover the UPSC philosophy syllabus. Every year many candidates take optional that is completely irrelevant to their background and still score well in it.

  • No, the UPSC philosophy syllabus does not witness changes every year. In case it is changed the same is notified by the official authorities of the Union Public Service Commission. It is of prime essentiality for the candidates to keep the track of the syllabus and prepare accordingly to score good marks. The optional subjects play an eminent role in deciding the fate of the candidates in the exam.

  • The official authorities of the Union Public Service Commission frame the UPSC philosophy syllabus in order to assess the candidates’ knowledge of the particular subjects and the core concepts of the syllabus. It is highly recommended to the candidates decipher the difficulty level by practicing the UPSC previous year question papers and kickstart their preparations effectively.

  • The time required by the candidates to cover the UPSC syllabus depends on the cognizance of the concerned topics, their grasping power, and their caliber. You can complete the UPSC philosophy syllabus in 6 months if you are dedicated and prepare a unique timetable for the UPSC preparation. The candidates are also recommended to refer to the strategy adopted by the toppers to gain ideas and develop a unique strategy.

  • The number of hours that are needed by the candidates highly depends on their preparation strategy, and their knowledge of the concerned topics. It is recommended to you that you can check the previous year papers and formulate an effective and efficient strategy for completing the syllabus before the exam. The candidates must be covering the important segments of the syllabus and take UPSC mock test.

  • The essential and important topics centering the philosophy optional syllabus are social and political ideals, women empowerment, crime and punishment, and gender discrimination. The aspirants must be acquainted with all the topics of the syllabus and develop a unique preparation strategy for solving the questions of the exam in the determined time span.

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  • The difficulty level is subjective to the preparation of the candidates and knowledge of the particular subjects. Usually, the level of difficulty for the philosophy is found to be moderate. The aspirants of any educational background can pursue this subject, if they prepare wells for the topic. This also comprises logical questions.

  • The biggest advantage of the philosophy optional subject is that it can be taken by any aspirant from any educational background. It also comprises logical questions so the comprehension of the essential subjects is highly essential. The concepts are usually general and easy to comprehend. The candidates must be acquainted with the UPSC philosophy optional syllabus and gear up their preparation for the UPSC mains exam. This subject can be cracked without coaching as well.

  • Yes, the philosophy syllabus for UPSC comprises general topics and it can be covered without coaching. The candidates can get a complete idea of the philosophy syllabus and gear up their preparation for the same. It can be picked by aspirants from any educational background, this serves to be the biggest advantage of the philosophy subject.

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