Seminar Information

1 Orientation: Introductions & course expectations Students introduce selves, interests.
2 Introduction to Ethical Analysis/Theories Discuss ethical decision-making and issues
3 Discuss Major Classical Western Ethical Theories Issues chosen; ethical questions framed
4 Contemplate a Non-Western Ethical Theory: Introduction to Applied Ethics Issue groups finalized. Groups get to know each other. Applied ethics articles assigned.
5 Discuss Applied Ethics Arguments: Introduction to Argument Analysis and the Role of Research in Argumentation Groups identify major arguments pro/con, and plan their research strategies.
6 Researching Issues: Library session Groups do research.
7 Developing Argument Analysis Skills: Exploring fallacies & evaluation of research support Groups practice evaluating arguments & research support related to their issue areas.
8 Definitions, Interpretations: How different meanings of words create misunderstanding and conflict. Groups identify & discuss key words/terms essential to understanding their issues.
9 Politics, Arguments and Claims: Political incentives in issue creation and argumentation. (Guest Speaker) Groups note the merely political influences on their issues.
10 Cultural, Psychological & Media Influences: Positive& negative. (Guest Speaker) Groups examine these influences re: their issues
11 Planning Workshop Groups organize presentations.
12 Working with Complexity & Finding Solutions: Relating parts to the wholes (Whitehead, Polanyi). Facing integrative challenges. Groups make connections to other issue areas + finalize presentations.
13-14 The Philosopher-Citizen Public ìSalonsî Two groups present each night
15 Final Celebration & "Debriefing": Discussion of presentations. Individual conferences. Party!.  

Note: Each participant will focus on fundamental socio-political issue of interest to him/her for the whole semester. Participants will also work in groups corresponding to the general area under which their issues fall (e.g., crime, foreign policy, rights, media, animals/environment).

Class sessions are divided into two sections:

  1. a seminar on a general topic relating to the challenges of citizen decision making; and
  2. a learning community group activity, where groups concentrate on their issues. Group members will share research tasks and assist each other in analyzing their issues.