AP/MODR1730 6.0 A: Reasoning About Social Issues

Offered by: MODR


Summer 2021




ONLN (Fully Online)


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 eClass (Moodle), York University's course website system. If your course is using eClass (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.

eClass (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 eClass (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 eClass (Moodle) by reviewing the eClass (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.

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

    Additional Course Instructor/Contact Details

Instructor:     Professor Paul Mazzocchi, pamazzoc@yorku.ca

Office Hours: TBA

    Expanded Course Description

This course introduces students to critical thinking and informal logic in the context of social issues. The course is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on developing technical skills and knowledge related to critical thinking and arguments/argumentation. It addresses the following topics: the nature of critical thinking and the structure of arguments; mapping arguments; ways of evaluating particular types of claims and arguments; common forms of faulty reasoning used in arguments; conceptual analysis and the understanding of language, concepts and meaning; how to apply these skills when assessing passages of text. The second part of the course focuses on applying these skills in evaluating debates about contemporary social issues.

    Additional Requirements

As this is a fully online course, students will need access to a computer and internet connection.


Here are some useful links for student computing information, resources and help:

Student Guide to Moodle

Computing for Students Website

Student Guide to eLearning at York University

    Required Course Text / Readings

Jean Saindon and Peter Krek, Critical Thinking: Argument and Argumentation. ISBN: 978-0176661007. Available at the York Bookstore.


All other readings will be available via Moodle/eClass.

    Weighting of Course
Type of Assignment  Weighting
Homework Assignments 20%
Passage Analysis Assignment 20%
Argument Map 5%
Short Essay 15%
Take Home Final 20%
Participation Assignments 20%
    Organization of the Course

This is a fully online course and there will be no synchronous components.

    Course Learning Objectives

This is a skills-based course. Consequently, the main focus is not on content but on the development of critical thinking, argumentation, reading comprehension, and essay writing skills. After completing the course, students should be able to:

  • Distinguish arguments and non-arguments;
  • Put arguments into standard argument form;
  • Understand how to evaluate claims and different argument types;
  • Identify and neutralize fallacies;
  • Understand how to assess the use of concepts;
  • Be able to summarize arguments in their own words;
  • Understand how to apply these skills to critically analyse texts;
  • Be able to evaluate and develop arguments in relation to social issues.
    Relevant Links / Resources