AP/MODR1760 6.0 B: Reasoning About Morality and Values

Offered by: MODR


Summer 2021






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 eClass (Moodle), York University's course website system. If your course is using eClass (Moodle), refer to the image below to access it.

    Additional Course Instructor/Contact Details

Dr. Patrick J.J. Phillips


Office hours: In person: suspended due to the pandemic. Online via Zoom

    Expanded Course Description

Course Content

This is a problem-based course where students will be required to assess ethical issues and questions of value from historical, political, economic, and ethical approaches.  Emphasis will be placed on providing explicit instruction in critical analytical thought, and its communication in writing. (For an expanded description see below).

    Required Course Text / Readings


Contemporary Moral Problems by James E. White

Paperback: 544 pages

10th edition (January 1, 2011)

Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing

ISBN-10: 0840033788

ISBN-13: 978-0840033789

The Power of Critical Thinking by Chris MacDonald and Lewis Vaughn 5th Canadian Edition (4th Edition is also permitted).

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 978-0-19-901868-0

Both textbooks are available via the York Bookstore. Multiple used copies are available (at reduced cost). 

    Weighting of Course

Three essays

Note: Be mindful, if essay writing is NOT your preferred mode of assessment you may wish to reconsider undertaking this section of Modes

Essay 1: 35%, (Sunday, June 13th, 2021)

Essay 2: 35% (Sunday, July 18th,  2021)

Essay 3: 20% (Sunday, August 8th, 2021)

Opinion papers (x4) : 10% (details to be forthcoming)

Note: All Essays will be run through Turnitin.com

Details of the content and form of these essay components will be posted on Moodle in due course


The course director has the sole and absolute discretion on the format and content of all assessments.  Exams and tests may be based on the assigned readings (including, but not limited to, any exercises in the texts), assigned films  and discussions.

To ensure fairness and impartiality for the benefit and protection of all students, and to safeguard academic integrity, grades are not subject to bargaining or negotiation.  Students may formally request a reappraisal of their final grades to the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies.  It is the students’ responsibility to obtain, complete, and submit all applicable documents within the required time frame in accordance with the University’s requirements.

A grade reappraisal may result in the original grade being raised, lowered or confirmed.

Late or Missed Assignments and Assessments


All assignments are due at the same time on the same day: Sunday at 12.00 midnight. For dates of submission see below

Submissions are to Tunitin on the E-class website ONLY.

The assignment submission e-mail must have a Word Document attached. No alternative format will be accepted.   Student’s FULL NAME AND STUDENT NUMBER must appear in the email subject line   

For late submissions, a 5% per calendar day grade reduction will apply, unless accompanied by a doctor’s note, court-date note, or other official document detailing a serious matter. Failure to meet these requirements will result in a grade of zero will being recorded.

Retro-active extensions will NOT be granted. 

Students must notify the course director in writing of late submissions within 24 hours of the due date and time, or as soon as possible if a serious matter applies, or as the University otherwise requires.  Otherwise, a grade of zero for that component will be recorded.

Make-up or Alternate Assessments


Despite the current challenges posed by the pandemic make-up or alternate assessments are not guaranteed.

If the course director has agreed to grant a mark-up or alternate assessment, the course director has the sole and absolute discretion on the format and content of the assessment (e.g. a makeup exam, take-home essay, etc.).

Deferred standing may be granted to undergraduate students who are unable to write their final exam at the scheduled time or submit their outstanding work on the last day of classes.

To apply for deferred standing, students must submit the Final Exam/Assignment Deferred Standing Agreement form, Attending Physician's Statement (if applicable), and all supporting documents to the course director in accordance with the University’s requirements.

To make up for a missed exam not held during the formal exam period, students must make alternate arrangements directly with the course director to write the exam within the duration of the course at the course director’s discretion.

It is the students’ responsibility to obtain, complete, and submit all applicable documents within the required time frame in accordance with the University’s requirements.

Reasonable Accommodation

The course director and tutorial leader(s) (if applicable) are committed to providing reasonable accommodation in accordance with the University’s requirements, and federal and provincial legislation.

Please contact the course director as early as possible with any request for reasonable accommodation.  The course director cannot help if he is not aware of the need to do so.

Here are some of the resources available to students (the information is subject to change from time to time – please consult the University’s website for the latest information):

Centre for Aboriginal Student Services: 246 York Lanes, 416-736-5571 o

Centre for Human Rights, 416-736-5682, rights@yorku.ca

Learning Disability Services, W128 Bennett Centre for Student Services, 416-736-5383 o Learning Skills Services – S172 Ross Building, 416-736-5144

Mental Health Disability Services, N110 Bennett Centre for Student Services, 416-736-5350

Personal Counselling Services: N110, Bennett Centre for Student Services, 416-736-5297

Physical, Sensory and Medical Disability Services, N108 Ross Building, 416-736-5140

Writing Centre for the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Students Writing Department, S329 Ross Building, 416-736-5134

Office Hours

  • The course director’s office hours are currently suspended.
  • Any queries that ARE NOT ANSWERED BY THIS DOCUMENT may be addressed to the course director by email.
    Organization of the Course

Those students who do not wish to critique, discuss and debate their ideas are strongly discouraged from joining this course.

This course is multidisciplinary and, where appropriate, interdisciplinary, in character. A concatenation of approaches and texts include, but are not be limited to, humanities, social science, natural science, politics, and moral philosophy.


    Course Learning Objectives

Students who successfully complete this course will acquire the following skills:

improve their knowledge of classical and contemporary social scientific and ethical theories, and apply these theories critically and grow their analytical skills for application throughout their undergraduate experience.

discuss and debate issues respectfully and critically, both orally and in writing.spoken and written eloquence, listening skills, and ability to argue their position, through i) argument, ii) logic (including the fallacies), iii) rhetoric, and iv) practical application of skills gained in debates.   

  • identify, synthesize, and record relevant and important concepts in note-taking.
  • take responsibility for their learning, and comply with all rules and regulations, as preparation for graduate studies and the work force.
    Additional Information / Notes

Computing resource links







Computing for LAPS Students


Learning Commons (e-learning)


York University Bookstore


Library during the pandemic


Peer Mentoring

Peer Mentors are high achieving upper year students who have completed some and/or similar courses you are currently enrolled in. Peer Mentors can provide you with one-on-one consultations to review class assignments, show you how to implement learning skills (i.e. time management tools, efficient note-taking), and refer you to appropriate resources at York University (i.e. the Writing Centre, Learning Skills Services, etc.), along with other mentorship services! 


To ask a question or book an appointment, please email vcmentor@yorku.ca, or visit their online drop-in hours hosted on Zoom, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:00pm-2:00pm, and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00am-12:00pm. For schedules, the link to drop-in, and to learn more about each Peer Mentor's program specialization, please visit https://vanier.laps.yorku.ca/peer-mentors-program/.

Email response policy

The email address of the course director is pjjp@yorku.ca.

The subject line of all emails must contain the student’s full name, student number and section number (i.e. Mode. Section E).

All emails must be professional, clear, and coherent.  Avoid instant text messaging terms, inappropriate language, emoticons, and poor composition.

While the course director endeavors to review all emails in a timely manner, emails sent after 5 pm on a business day, and emails sent on weekends and statutory holidays, may be reviewed on the next business day.



  • The policy on academic honesty is an affirmation and clarification for members of the University of the general obligation to maintain the highest standards of academic honesty.  As a clear sense of academic honesty and responsibility is fundamental to good scholarship, the policy recognizes the general responsibility of all faculty members to foster acceptable standards of academic conduct and of the student to be mindful of and abide by such standards.
  • Academic honesty requires that persons do not falsely claim credit for the ideas, writing or other intellectual property of others, either by presenting such works as their own or through impersonation.  Similarly, academic honesty requires that persons do not cheat (attempt to gain an improper advantage in an academic evaluation), nor attempt or actually alter, suppress, falsify or fabricate any research data or results, official academic record, application or document.
  • Suspected breaches of academic honesty will be investigated and charges shall be laid if reasonable and probable grounds exist.  A student who is charged with a breach of academic honesty shall be presumed innocent until, based upon clear and compelling evidence, a committee determines the student has violated the academic honesty standards of the university.  A finding of academic misconduct will lead to the range of penalties described in the guidelines which accompany this policy.  In some cases, the University regulations on non-academic discipline may apply.  A lack of familiarity with the Senate Policy and Guidelines on Academic Honesty on the part of a student does not constitute a defence against their application.  Some academic offences constitute offences under the Criminal Code of Canada; a student charged under University regulations may also be subject to criminal charges.  Charges may also be laid against York University students for matters which arise at other educational institutions.



    Relevant Links / Resources