[Download] Philosophy Optional Subject Paper 1 & 2 of UPSC Civil Service IAS IPS Mains Exam 2013

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  1. Instructions
  2. Philosophy Paper I: Section A
  3. Philosophy Paper 1: Section B
  4. Philosophy Paper 2: Section A
  5. Philosophy Paper II: SectionB


  1. There are EIGHT questions divided in two SECTIONS. Candidate has to attempt FIVE questions in all.
  2. Questions no. 1 and 5 are compulsory and out of the remaining, THREE are to be attempted choosing at least ONE from each section.
  3. The number of marks carried by a question /part is indicated against it.
  4. Answers must be written in the medium authorized in the Admission Certificate which must be stated clearly on the cover of this Question-cum-Answer (QCA) Booklet in the space provided. No marks will be given for answers written in a medium other than the authorized one.
  5. Word limit in questions, wherever specified, should be adhered to.
  6. Attempts of questions shall be counted in chronological order. Unless struck off, attempt of a question shall be counted even if attempted partly. Any page or portion of the page left blank in the answer book must be clearly struck off.
  7. 250 marks | 3 hours for each paper.

Philosophy Paper I: Section A

Q1 Write short answers to the following in about 150 words each :x5=50

  1. Explain and evaluate Strawson’s arguments for his conception of the nature of a person.
  2. Explain Wittgenstein’s arguments against the possibility of private language.
  3. Distinguish necessary from empirical propositions. How is a necessary proposition justified ? Explain.
  4. Discuss how by refuting the different concepts of substances Aristotle establishes his own theory of substance.
  5. What is an antinomy ? Describe the major antinomies discussed by Kant.

Q2. Four questions x 12.5 marks each x 200 words each

  1. Explain Plato’s ontological theory of Forms. Is knowledge’ one of the Forms ? Give reasons.
  2. State Kant’s view of causality. How far is Kant able to answer Hume’s objection that causal relation lacks logical necessity ?
  3. Distinguish between atomic and general propositions. Show how they are justified true.
  4. Write a short critical essay on Spinoza’s conception of freedom of the individual.

Q3. Four questions x 12.5 marks each x 200 words each

  1. Explain Descartes’ method of doubt. Can this method be used to justify his belief in the existence of God ? Argue your case.
  2. Comment : ‘Movement is contradiction itself.’ Examine, in this context, Hegel’s dialectical method.
  3. Examine John Locke’s theory of substance.
  4. Examine Sartre’s distinction between Being-for-itself and Being-in-itself.

Q4. Four questions x 12.5 marks each x 200 words each

  1. Comment : Moore’s defence of common sense essentially is defence of ordinary language.’
  2. Analyse Kierkegaard’s concept of choice. Can there be, in his view, correct or incorrect choice ? Discuss.
  3. Give a critical account of Leibnitz’s principle of the identity of indiscernible.
  4. Give a critical account of Hume’s theory of the Self.

Philosophy Paper 1: Section B

Q5. Write short answers to the following in about 150 words each 10×5=50

  1. Analyse the relation between the theory of saptabhanginaya and anekantavada.
  2. Explain the Buddhists’ position of ‘Impermanence’ and show how the idea of Impermanence leads to the theory of momentariness of reality.
  3. How is the pramanya (validity/truth) of a statement determined ? Examine, in this context, the theory of paratah-pramanyavada.
  4. Explain the possibility of jivanmukti. Critically compare it with the Yoga account of kaivalya.
  5. Explain Sri Aurobindo’s conception of cosmic salvation through spiritual evolution of the individual.

Q6. Four questions x 12.5 marks each x 200 words each

  1. Describe the five types of differences (panchavidhabheda). Bring out their philosophical significance for Madhva’s theory.
  2. What is samavaya ? What are the grounds for accepting samavaya as a distinct padartha ? Discuss.
  3. Evaluate the relation, if any, between purusa and prakrti.
  4. How can isavara (God) be distinguished from Brahman (Absolute) ?      Which of the two concepts are philosophically better ?

Q7. Four questions x 12.5 marks each x 200 words each

  1. Analyse the Nyaya concept of vyapti and examine its relation to tarka.
  2. Evaluate Prabhakara Mimamsaka’s arguments for accepting sruti as pramana.
  3. Examine the Nyaya-Vaisesika arguments for the existence of jivatma(soul).
  4. Distinguish between Svarupa laksana and Tatastha laksana of Brahman after ankara.

Q8. Four questions x 12.5 marks each x 200 words each

  1. Comment : ‘Accepting sunyavada makes one indifferent to the pursuit of dharma.’ Examine, in this context, Nagarjuna’s arguments for sunyavada.
  2. ‘Not karma, but knowledge alone leads to moksa.’ (Samkara). Do you agree ? Justify your nswer.
  3. Evaluate Ramanuja’s critique of Samkara’s theory of maya.
  4. Give a critical account of the concept of cittravrtti in Yoga philosophy.

Philosophy Paper 2: Section A

Q1. Answer all the five parts below critically in not more than 150 words each: 10×5=50

  1. Does corruption have not only a moral dimension but also an economic dimension?
  2. What is the significance of including duties of citizens in the Indian Constitution?
  3. Does the idea of equal respect to all religions provide a consistent and viable state policy?
  4. Does the combination of democracy and socialism lead to a more equitable society?
  5. Is there any impact of caste discrimination on democracy in Indian context?

Q2. 15+15+20 (250 words each)

  1. What is meant by ‘democracy’? What are the various forms of democratic governments?
  2. Is a democratic government able to represent the interests of minority groups?
  3. Is a democratic government better than a benevolent dictatorship? Give reasons for your answer.

Q3. 15+15+20 (250 words each)

  1. What do you understand by ‘gender equality’ and why is it important?
  2. Is economic independence essential for equality between men and women?
  3. Why is adequate representation of women in political institutions important in this context?

Q4. 15+15+20 (250 words each)

  1. Explain and evaluate Aristotle’s conception of justice.
  2. What is meant by justice as fairness’? Explain the basic tenets of Rawls’ theory of justice.
  3. How is Amartya Sen’s approach to justice different from that of Rawls?

Philosophy Paper II: SectionB

Q5. Discuss the following critically in not more than 150 words each :x5=50

  1. Is God indispensable for religion?
  2. Is religious morality consistent with individual freedom?
  3. Is there anything else other than human efforts which may be conducive to attainment of liberation?
  4. Do theists succeed in explaining the natural evil in the world as a necessary counterpart to good?
  5. Is religious faith opposed to reason?

Q6. 15+15+20 (250 words each)

  1. State and elucidate the cosmological argument for the existence of God in Western and Indian philosophy.
  2. Discuss two main objections against this argument. Are theists able to answer these satisfactorily?
  3. Critically evaluate three major objections against the argument from design for the existence of God.

Q7. 15+15+20 (250 words each)

  1. What is the nature of mystical experience?
  2. Is mystical experience open to different interpretations?
  3. Can mystical experience be regarded as a valid source of knowledge?

Q8. 15+15+20 (250 words each)

  1. What is meant by saying that religious language is non-cognitive?
  2. Can religious language be said to be verifiable?
  3. Do cognitivists provide a cogent answer to the objection based on falsifiability?
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87 Comments on “[Download] Philosophy Optional Subject Paper 1 & 2 of UPSC Civil Service IAS IPS Mains Exam 2013”

  1. Dear All,

    I was thinking to opt for pub add for 2014 exam but sometimes i think to go for philosophy as well.
    can you pls share your thought on this.


    1. Dear Naren.

      I don’t know from how long you are preparing for CS exam. But from you planning it looks like you are a new player. Let me give you a clear advice regarding opting for optionals.
      I analysed geography subject, being my one optional, i can give you an insight. It was a very lengthy paper and quiet difficult. From every question it was almost impossible to write all subparts of it.
      Regarding P.ad. In short it is suicide. It will atleast take 1 complete year with through study. (As my friends have told me).

      Lets come to your main question. Regarding philosophy.

      If pattern remains the same as we have seen from last two years then take it without a second thought. It was my other optional and finally i went on with it. Believe me all the above questions are very much writeable. Yes there are 2-4 sub questions which were tricky otherwise it was quiet ok when compared to P.ad and geogrphy.

      If you need any further info mail me at


      1. thank you Aditya for your suggestion

      2. Hello Sir,
        I am planning to take philosophy as my optional,I’ve seen the syllabus and I find it interesting.Can you please suggest me the books required for this optional?

      3. sir, this is nagarjun here from bangalore and i have chosen philosophy as optional subject…where can get the notes of philosophy?? can u please provide me sir?? and mean time i am lookiing out for a notes which should be very much helpfull for studying and with simple words..

        1. Hello sir,

          Can i get more tips for philosophy optional. i can not afford Delhi coaching but i can collect notes.
          is it possible for you to give me some guidance about the philosophy as a optional..

          Please reply..

      4. Hi
        Can you tell me about philosophy optional , as I was confused regarding which optional to take.
        I am from an engg background and I like scientific subjects but I am also quite intuitive.

      5. sir i am planning to take philosophy as my optional for cse mains .i have seen the syllabus ,find it good, but i have no idea of the good books for it.kindly suggest me the books and sources i must use for prepearation

  2. please upload physics and chemistry papers. thanks in advance.

  3. I shouldn’t be saying this but the paper is quite easy. My guess of Descartes’ rational deduction is bang on target; in fact I had written an article dealing with the same question. It appeared in this website 2 months ago. History’s question is o.k. but I am surprised by Psychology’s question paper, anyone who has read the basic texts like Baron and Atkinson would be able to solve over 90 % of the questions.

  4. please arrange medical science paper and publish it on the site.. will be highly thnakful……..

    1. @ Vijay.
      I have the Medical Science paper.
      You can drop me an email.

      my id : misfitmedico@gmaildotcom

  5. hi,mrunal sir, the exam notification for PUNJAB PCS is out, & according to some coaching institutions it may be held on 02-02-2014, can you pls give us the broad strategy that how to prepare. pls help, time is very less. thanks in advance.

    1. Dont Worry Bedi Saab :) :D

  6. Hi Mrunal Sir, Please put on economics paper as well

  7. @Aditya_S, like Naren, I’m also thinking of opting for Philosophy. I was wondering if you’ll be willing to help me as well and whether you’d like me to use your email id for contacting you. Please reply asap.

    in deep mud.

    1. Hi Wasp

      You are most welcome to contact me. However most probably i would go for Pub Ad…


    2. Hey
      i ve philo and can guide u if u want,
      i appeared with philo this year

      1. hi Sac,
        Can you suggest me books for philosophy paper-1?Thanks in advance.

      2. Can you share soft notes of philosophy. I have choosen philosophy as my optional.

        Thanks in advance


      3. Hello,
        Please suggest me some books for philosophy. That will be a great help.

    3. Of course you can use my mail id. As far as possible i will help you.

      1. Can you help. Basic books for Philosophy mains suggestions?? Thanks

    4. Hello sir,

      Can i get more tips for philosophy optional. i can not afford Delhi coaching but i can collect notes.
      is it possible for you to give me some guidance about the philosophy as a optional..

      Please reply..

  8. sir, please upload economics paper

  9. Dear Mrunal,
    If possible please Update Electrical Engineering Optional Question Paper

  10. dear sir,
    please update the question paper of chemistry…..ueagerly waiting

  11. +1 for electrical engg optional paper …

  12. mrunal sir plzzz post zoology mains question paper…

  13. sir kindly provide chemistry papers thanks in advance

  14. Sir, Please provide geography optional paper for IAS in HINDI. THANKS.

  15. Good morning sir,
    Thanks will be a very small word in response of the hard work u r doing.
    sir i want to request you to pls provide the study plan for the IBPS S.O paper.
    sir u r the first & the last hope for thousands of job seekers.

  16. Sir, kindly upload Punjabi Language paper, if it is possible.

  17. hi friends
    please help i downloaded the call letter for ibps cwe po\mt 2013
    from a cyber cafe now it is requried again at interview stage but idont have its copy.what sud i do now as i am shortlisted for the interview is there any way out please someone help my email is brijitverma@yahoo.in
    please help

  18. heyy..new face of the website is great but cannot find forums..can dis be rectified?

  19. can anybody tell me book for contemporary Western philosophy in English….

    1. u can go for william lawhead’s The voyage of discovery……
      but original s too costly find some lib and get it xeroxed.

    2. Can u tell me the names of the basic books for philosophy mains?? Thanks

  20. sir,plz upload mechanical engineering optional paper

  21. plz… suggest any book for contemporary western philosophy..

  22. Hi guys,
    I am planning to write UPSC in Hindi Medium. Can anyone suggest me which is the best newspaper and magazines in hindi?
    Please do reply..


  23. please upload physics papers.

    1. yar mile to mujhe bhi mail kariyo plz

      1. i have received ias physics papers. how to mail u?

  24. someone tell me books for geography optional its urgent plz

  25. Dear Mrunal,
    If possible kindly put Electrical Engineering optional.

  26. sir,plzzz upload IAS mains Electrical Paper 2013 or mail to venumucharla2012@gmail.com…According i have to select geography or EE….i am eagerly waiting for your reply sir….

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  28. can anyone tell me where is the section in this blog where the blogger has mentioned about the each optional subject? its pros and cons. it’s not visible after the recent changes in the blog. thanks

  29. Is there any possibility of cutting marks in Interview because of AGE Factor? like i am 29 . But i have pretty good work ex of 7 years… do UPSC go by some of the recommendation of committees like Hota Committee (which recommended age of 21-25 years i guess) on Max AGE criteria for Civil Servants…….

    Pls comment….

    1. There are many senior players who get selected at age 30 as well (in their final attempt that is).
      UPSC, therefore, does not always use the said recommendations. Whether UPSC uses it at all is not known to me. You have listed the +ves and -ves of your profile yourself!
      All the Best.

      1. hopefully they will remain neutral… thanks..

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