AP/MODR1760 6.0 H: Reasoning About Morality and Values

Offered by: MODR


Fall 2019




ONLN (Fully Online)


Calendar Description / Prerequisite / Co-Requisite

This is a skills-based course focusing on critical thinking, critical writing, and logical and linguistic analysis. The course uses examples drawn from areas in the humanities where value judgements are made. Different sections will stress different topics in ethics, aesthetics, religion or law. Course credit exclusions: AP/MODR 1730 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.

    Getting Started with your Fully Online Course

Students enrolled in this course are required to review the Next Steps website.

The Next Steps website explains how to start your fully online (ONLN) & blended (BLEN) course(s) with start up information including computing requirements, course website access instructions and links to course outlines & course websites. Students are also encouraged to review the Student Guide to eLearning at York University.

Moodle course website access starts within the first week of the term. For late enrollees it takes two business days from the time of your enrolment to access the Moodle websites once the semester has started. Course materials begin to be released on the course website during the first week of the semester. Get familiar with Moodle by reviewing the Moodle Student Resources Page.

For enrolment matters and academic related questions, please contact the affiliated LA&PS School/Department. For eLearning support please contact eLearning Services, LA&PS.

Moodle and computing support can be directed to askit@yorku.ca or visit the Student Computing website

    Additional Course Instructor/Contact Details

Cael Cohen, PhD

Office hours: Monday, 11:30 am – 3:30 pm

Room 447, South Ross Building

Email: cccohen@schulich.yorku.ca

    Expanded Course Description

This skills-based course teaches students how to read, write and think critically through: (1) a collection of critical skills, practices, techniques, attitudes and principles that can be used every day to systematically evaluate your own and others’ reasoning about morality and values; (2) an approach to ethical disagreements and controversial moral issues using rational standards and mindfulness awareness; (3) critical assessment and formulation of ethical beliefs, arguments, and concepts based on relevant, acceptable and sufficient grounds, rather than passive acceptance.

    Required Course Text / Readings

Required reading for this course includes the one book listed below and several supplementary readings posted to the Moodle course site. This book is available for purchase from the York University Bookstore. Every week, students should check the weekly lecture schedule for the required readings. (See pages 5 – 19 of this course outline.)

  • Critical Thinking: Argument and Argumentation. 2014. 2nd Edition. Authors: Jean Saindon and Peter John Krek. ISBN: 978-0-17-666100-7. Publisher: Nelson Education.
    Weighting of Course
  • Take-Home Mid-Term Exam 30%.
  • Passage Analysis Assignment with Essay 35%.
  • Homework in Modules 1 and 3, as follows: 10% in Module 1; 10% in Module 3; for a total of 20%.
  • Participation 15%. Consists of weekly Lecture Participation Assignments (LPAs).

Take-Home, Mid-Term Exam—30%: Session 13: Exam questions will be posted on Monday, January 6, 2020, 9:00 am. Students will download the questions. Exam answers must be uploaded to Session 13 of the Moodle course site before Monday, January 13, 9:00 am.  

Practice exams and grading criteria will be provided. Must be students’ own original, independent work. Collaboration is not permitted.


Passage Analysis Assignment with Essay—35%: Due Monday, March 30, 2020, 9:00 am, Session 24.

Select a passage from a set of provided passages. Analyze the passage following the techniques and steps taught in class. Includes 1000-1250 word written essay. Must follow the techniques, skills and model taught in lectures. Grading criteria provided. Must be students’ own original, independent work. Collaboration is not permitted. To be submitted to Moodle course site. Turnitin.com, a commercial, Internet-based plagiarism detection service, will be used from within the Moodle site.


Homework—20%. All homework will be submitted online to the Moodle course site. Homework assigned in a Monday session will be in the following Monday session, 9:00 am.


Module 1 = 10%:

Five homework assignments. Amount of marks of each homework assignment in Module 1 varies. Marks earned will be divided by the total number of possible marks for homework in Module 1 and converted into a homework mark out of 10%.


Module 3 = 10%:

Two homework assignments. Amount of marks of each homework assignment in Module 3 varies. Marks earned will be divided by the total number of possible marks for homework in Module 3 and converted into a homework mark out of 10%.


Late homework will NOT be accepted under ANY circumstances, including late enrollment and illness. Homework must be students’ own original, independent work. Collaboration is not permitted, unless specified by the course instructor.




Lecture Participation Assignments (LPAs) are assigned almost every  lecture and are to be submitted online. LPAs will be assigned on Mondays and will be due the following Monday before 9:00 am. Lecture Participation Assignments will NOT be accepted late and cannot be made up, under any circumstances, including late enrollment or illness.

    Organization of the Course
  • This is a 3-Module course:

Module 1: Arguments and Argumentation – Apprentice Critical Thinker ▪ Teaches the fundamental skills and analytical techniques involved in argument analysis, including: clarifying meaning; identifying, portraying and assessing non-deductive arguments; and identifying and neutralizing different kinds of fallacies. Examines and explores the dynamic process of verbal argumentation with others, including: constructing and presenting arguments, and challenging and responding to those challenges in an ongoing dialogue. Some core patterns that help define the key features of an ideal argumentation encounter are examined.

Module 2: Concepts – Adept Critical Thinker ▪ Learn to identify, analyze and assess concepts in ordinary contexts. Use the techniques of reasoning by cases, similarities and differences, and conjectures and refutations to analyze cases and develop criteria for the meaning of concepts. Determine the meaning of abstract ideas using reasoning by cases.

Module 3: Passage Analysis – Expert Critical Thinker ▪ Analyze and assess extended arguments and ideas within a written passage by applying the skills learned in Modules 1 and 2. Learn how to write sound and effective arguments and essays.

    Course Learning Objectives


    Relevant Links / Resources