AP/MODR1730 6.0 D: Reasoning About Social Issues

Offered by: MODR


Summer 2019





Calendar Description / Prerequisite / Co-Requisite

This is a skills-based course focusing on critical thinking, research-based writing, and qualitative and quantitative analysis. The particular focus will be on different positions taken within the social sciences on issues such as abortion, euthanasia, pornography, immigration etc. Typical examples are to be analyzed. Course credit exclusions: AP/MODR 1760 6.00, AP/MODR 1770 6.00.

Course Website

Many courses utilize Moodle, York University's course website system. If your course is using Moodle, refer to the image below to access it.

    Additional Course Instructor/Contact Details

Francisco Gomez-Holtved


Office: S401 Ross Building

Phone Number:  (416) 736-2100 Ext. 66449

Office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

    Expanded Course Description

This course is an introduction to critical thinking whose objective is to give students the skills needed to analyze arguments in a critical and systematic fashion. The theory underlying these skills will be put into practice through group work done in class, where you will be assigned a variety of exercises that will allow you to develop and apply the techniques you've been taught until you master them. Throughout the term we will apply what we've learned to arguments found in a variety of disciplines (ethics, politics, the cognitive sciences etc) and expressed through a variety of platforms (social media, film etc).  We will cover such social issues as (but will not be limited to) euthanasia, torture and problems arising from technological change. In other words, you will be dealing with arguments found in the 'real world'. The techniques presented in this course provide a good training in intellectual self-defence, by showing you how to organize your thoughts in a coherent fashion, and present work that is well structured and well written. In this way you will be able to argue more effectively for whichever position you take on any of the social issues we will be exploring, and not be misled by fallacious modes of reasoning.

    Required Course Text / Readings

Critical Thinking: Argument and Argumentation (2nd edition) by Jean Saindon and Peter Krek

    Weighting of Course

Argument mapping test: 10%;
Argument evaluation test: 20%;
Fallacies test: 20%
Critical Assignment : 20%;
Argumentation Assignment 20%.
Participation 10% (Grade based on group work done in class and submitted to Moodle).

    Organization of the Course

For each of the assigned modules in the textbook, you will be working through assigned exercises in the corresponding modules of the study guide.

Argument mapping test: May 8.

Modules 1 to 3 in the textbook.

Argument evaluation test: May 29.

Modules 4 and 5 in the textbook.

Fallacies test: June 17.

Module 7 in the textbook

Critical Essay: Due July 17.

Modules 6, 8 and 9 in the textbook.

Argumentation Essay: Due July 29:

Modules 10 and 11 in the textbook

Participation :

Grade based on group work done in class on a weekly basis and submitted through Moodle.

    Course Learning Objectives

You will learn how to diagram argument structure, identify deductive and inductive arguments, analyze common fallacies, critically assess extended texts and write a position paper.

    Relevant Links / Resources