Monday, May 19, 2014

Philosophical Service Projects

This semester, I developed a "Philosophical Service Project" assignment that went really well:
For this assignment, you will, in a group, perform some "community service." The service you will provide is demonstrating to the community how to thinking critically about moral issues using the logical methods we've practiced in this class. So, you will model thinking in systematic ways about moral issues, engage some arguments from your audience and help them evaluate these arguments.
If anyone uses and develops this assignment, please let me know how it works out. 
For more ideas, typically with a more "hands on" component, see http://www.engagedphilosophy.com

Philosophical Service Project
For this assignment, you will, in a group, perform some "community service." The service you will provide is demonstrating to the community how to thinking critically about moral issues using the logical methods we've practiced in this class. So, you will model thinking in systematic ways about moral issues, engage some arguments from your audience and help them evaluate these arguments.

This project, and your report on it, are due by DUE DATE ____, via the course management system.  

Here's what to do:
1. Find a group of 2-4 students.
2. Pick a topic from the syllabus, or develop your own, with approval from Dr. Nobis:

the treatment of disabled newborns, (female) genital mutilation, homosexuality, sexual ethics, abortion, absolute poverty, racism, sexism, and speciesism, drug use and the criminalization of drug use, vegetarianism and the treatment of animals, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and capital punishment, 

3. Develop at least 5 arguments in logically valid form on this topic. 

4. Find an audience of at least 4 people, not from this class.

5. Present your arguments to this audience. Given them an introduction to what you will do in your presentation. Explain to them what you will do and how you will do it. State and explain your five arguments and evaluate them as sound or not. 

6. Get at least 3 (ideally, at least 5) new arguments, or premises, on the topic from the audience.

7. With the audience, formulate these arguments in logically valid form and determine whether they are sound or not.

8. Formulate any conclusions from your discussion and wrap it up.

9. Write up a report on what happened, using this form:



Philosophical "Community Service" Project:
Report Form
1.      Class Time:
2.      Group members:    (note: each member must submit this report via the course management system).
3.      Your topic:  
4.      Summarize the introduction to what you will do in your presentation. What will you explain to audience aboutwhat you will do and how you will do it. You need to explain the methods that you will use to identify and evaluate moral arguments.
5.      Present at least 5 arguments on that topic, stated in logically valid form.
6.      Evaluate those 5 arguments as sound or not. Explain why they are sound or not. (Note: merely stating whether an argument is sound or not does not explain why it is sound or not: so explanation is needed).
7.      Your audience members’s names:
8.      Your audience’s reactions to the arguments that you presented and your evaluation of them:
9.      The 3-5 arguments from the audience:
10.  These arguments stated in logically valid form:
11.  Your, and the audience’s, evaluations of these arguments as sound or not:
12.  Your conclusions and summary of this activity that you presented to the audience.
13.  Your group’s reflections on this experience: what went well? What was interesting? What was surprising? What was challenging? How was this experience, overall? 

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