The goal of the
Core Programme is to help students strengthen their theoretical reasoning
skills and practical (ethical) reasoning skills. A central feature of
Core courses is to achieve these goals not within the parameters of
any given discipline but by requiring students to begin thinking critically
about the very notion of "discipline" and about the relationship
between disciplines. These courses will be offered by faculty from no
single academic Department or programme.
In university, the student is exposed to a variety of disciplines and,
in studying each discipline, is taught to reason through certain kinds
of arguments and to distinguish good ones from bad ones. But what is
an argument? What does it mean to reason through an argument? What allows
us to distinguish good arguments from bad ones? What happens when the
arguments and conclusions of one discipline disagree with those of another?
Are there universal rules for good reasoning or does each discipline
have its own set of rules? In this course, students will pursue these
questions by comparing and contrasting the ways in which distinct disciplines
actually engage in the practice of reasoning and arguing. 3 credit hours.
In the first part of this course, we will consider a range of concrete
ethical issues (e.g., euthanasia, pacifism, freedom of speech, etc.)
and we will discuss what it means to justify the ethical decisions we
make and why this justification is so important for all our day-to-day
actions. In the second part, we will focus explicitly on the question,
"What is ethical justification and what are its limits?",
examining this question from a variety of disciplinary standpoints (e.g.,
biology, psychology, history, economics, etc.) 3 credit hours.