AP/MODR1760 6.0 C: 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 Start Up

Course Websites hosted on York's "eClass" are accessible to students during the first week of the term. It takes two business days from the time of your enrolment to access your course website. Course materials begin to be released on the course website during the first week. To log in to your eClass course visit the York U eClass Portal and login with your Student Passport York Account. If you are creating and participating in Zoom meetings you may also go directly to the York U Zoom Portal.

For further course Start Up details, review the Next Steps webpage.

For IT support, students may contact University Information Technology Client Services via askit@yorku.ca or (416) 736-5800. Please also visit Students Getting Started UIT or the Getting Help - UIT webpages.

    Additional Course Instructor/Contact Details

Professor Francisco Gomez-Holtved

Course Instructor Contact: holtved@yorku.ca

Virtual office hours: By Appointment.

Virtual office hours: By Appointment.

    Expanded Course Description

Times and locations: Please note that this is a course that depends on remote teaching and learning.  Classes will be run synchronously and on time. There will be no in-person interactions or activities on campus.

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 topics 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 persuasively for whichever position you take on any of the topics we will be exploring, and not be misled by fallacious modes of reasoning.

    Additional Requirements

Technical requirements for taking the course: In addition to stable, higher-speed Internet connection, students will need a computer with a microphone, and/or a smart device with this features


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

Student Guide to Moodle

Zoom@YorkU Best Practices 

Zoom@YorkU User Reference Guide

Computing for Students Website

Student Guide to eLearning at York University


To determine Internet connection and speed, there are online tests, such as Speedtest, that can be run.]

    Required Course Text / Readings

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

    Weighting of 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 (10%): May 25

Module 3 in the textbook.

Argument evaluation test (20%): June 17.

Modules 4 and 5 in the textbook.

Fallacies test (20%): July 15.

Module 7 in the textbook

Article Assignment (20%): Due July 30

Module 8 in the textbook.

Dialogue Assignment (20%): Due August 12:

Modules 8, 9 and 10 in the textbook


Weekly Submissions (10%):

Group work based on exercises done in class and uploaded to eClass.

    Organization of the Course

Times and locations: Please note that this is a course that depends on remote teaching and learning.  Classes will be run synchronously and on time. There will be no in-person interactions or activities on campus.

Your entire course can be run synchronously according to the RO’s schedule (i.e., with ‘live’ sessions scheduled according to your meeting times). You are expected to meet at the scheduled times via Zoom. However, to accommodate students who may be unable to attend live sessions (e.g., international students, students with many competing obligations, etc.), all live sessions will be recorded and made available for student viewing. Each class will be a combination of lecture and assigned group work. Group work will consist of exercises to be completed collaboratively with your group peers and uploaded to eClass in a submission box at the end of every class. The groups are autogenerated by eClass and you will be meeting with the same group members every week. The group work will be done using breakout rooms in Zoom and ‘screen sharing’ the document that your group will be preparing for submission. We will also be recording each group’s breakout session (in addition to the recorded sessions in the main room), and each group will be assigned a forum/chat to facilitate participation and understanding.

    Course Learning Objectives

By the end of this course you will have the skills to write an undergraduate paper of the highest quality; one that is well organized, clearly written and articulating the strongest arguments that can be made within the point of view you adopt on any topic you want to write about. No one is born with this skill. Rather, it’s an ability that requires patient nurturing, and lots of practice. However, with a bit of work, you’ll be able to analyze concepts (using reasoning by cases), and use this skill to build arguments expressing different points of view. You’ll be acquiring skills readily transferable to all academic disciplines (the social sciences, the humanities, engineering, the mathematically based disciplines) and beyond (any of the professional careers you’d care to mention) including everyday work environments where clear thinking and the ability to articulate ideas in a coherent fashion are prized.

    Additional Information / Notes

Course policies

Grading, Assignment Submission, Lateness Penalties and Missed Tests

Grading:  The grading scheme for the course conforms to the 9-point grading system used in undergraduate programs at York (e.g., A+ = 9, A = 8, B+ - 7, C+ = 5, etc.).  Assignments and tests* will bear either a letter grade designation or a corresponding number grade (e.g.  A+ = 90 to 100, A = 80 to 90, B+ = 75 to 79, etc.)

(For a full description of York grading system see the York University Undergraduate Calendar - http://calendars.registrar.yorku.ca/2010-2011/academic/index.htm


Students may take a limited number of courses for degree credit on an ungraded (pass/fail) basis. For full information on this option see Alternative Grading Option in the LAPS section of the Undergraduate Calendar:  (provide web link to calendar description of this option for the Faculty offering the course)

Assignment Submission: Proper academic performance depends on students doing their work not only well, but on time.  Accordingly, assignments for this course must be received on the due date specified for the assignment.  Assignments are to be handed in in the designated submission boxes in Moodle.

Lateness Penalty: Assignments received later than the due date will be penalized one-half letter grade (1 grade point) per day that assignment is late).  Exceptions to the lateness penalty for valid reasons such as illness, compassionate grounds, etc., may be entertained by the Course Instructor but will require supporting documentation (e.g., a doctor’s letter).

Missed Tests:  Students with a documented reason for missing a course test, such as illness, compassionate grounds, etc., which is confirmed by supporting documentation (e.g., doctor’s letter) may request accommodation from the Course Instructor and  allowed to write a make-up test on a date to be set at the instructor’s discretion. Further extensions or accommodation will require students to submit a formal petition to the Faculty.


Please note that 1) lecture recordings are for educational purposes only and as a means for enhancing accessibility; 2) students do not have permission to duplicate, copy and/or distribute the recordings outside of the class (these acts can violate not only copyright laws but also FIPPA); and 3) all recordings will be destroyed after the end of classes.


    Relevant Links / Resources