AP/MODR1770 6.0 G: Techniques of Persuasion

Offered by: MODR


Fall 2019






Calendar Description / Prerequisite / Co-Requisite

This is a skills-based course focusing on critical thinking, persuasive writing, and strategic argumentation. Examples are drawn from various forms of persuasion including advertising, propaganda and political argument. Course credit exclusions: AP/MODR 1730 6.00, AP/MODR 1760 6.00. Note: This is an approved LA&PS General Education course: Humanities OR Social Science.

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

Dr. Dan McArthur

Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy

Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies

Email: djmc@Yorku.ca


Students are encouraged to maintain contact with the instructor during office hours.  These are held weekly and are DROP IN.

Office: Department of Philosophy, S425 Ross Building

Office hours (drop in): Tuesday 3:00 – 4:00 PM

    Expanded Course Description

The aim of this course is to develop skills of reasoning and argumentation specially designed for use in academic studies, the professions, and everyday life.  With a special focus on moral issues, students will develop skills in analyzing arguments, distinguishing good from bad arguments, spot weaknesses in arguments, clarify concepts and terms, as well as articulating strong arguments that pass the test of rational scrutiny.

    Required Course Text / Readings

The Power of Critical Thinking

C. Vaughn and L. MacDonald. Oxford University Press

    Weighting of Course

Fall mid-term test:         25%

Fall exam:                     25%

Winter mid-term test:     25%

Final winter exam:         25%

    Organization of the Course

The course is divided into two parts.  The first part is devoted to learning analytical techniques used to differentiate good arguments from bad ones (e.g. the distinction between deductive and inductive reasoning, fallacies, etc.).  The second part deepens these analytic skills by considering further challenges to sound reasoning and the ways to overcome these challenges.  In this process, the relationship between scientific thinking and moral reasoning is explored.  In examining moral reasoning, special emphasis will be put on issues arising in the domain of law, health, and ethics.

    Course Learning Objectives

The objectives will be (1) to learn about the questions, concepts, and methods of critical reasoning and (2) to develop skills for independent critical inquiry using these questions, concepts, and methods, and to understand the challenges they present.

    Additional Information / Notes
  • Attendance is recommended in this course.
  • There may be additional readings. These will be announced in class, and students will be directed to York University Library website for access to the readings.
  • Any further information and any possible changes will be announced in class.
  • Weekly readings, lecture notes, sample exams and test dates will be posted on the course website
    Relevant Links / Resources