I teach an "Introduction to Philosophical Ethics" course in an interactive, discussion-based and skills-focused manner. The core skills involve trying to figure out whether a reason given in support of some conclusion on a moral issue is a good one or not. We start with common arguments, things that ordinary people often say, and then move onto arguments that philosophers focus on. Here's my simplification of what we do:
I try to provide a minimal set of concepts to do what we do, with a one-page handout "Philosophical Ethics: Almost Everything You Need to Know" and a video on formulating arguments in logically valid form, typically as syllogisms. We practice these skills on a variety of contemporary moral issues, mostly in the order presented by Rachels' Elements of Moral Philosophy book.
Their final assignment involves students sharing their moral reasoning skills with an audience of people not in our class. Students have to show this audience how to rationally evaluate moral arguments, using examples they provide, and then teach the audience some basic skills at doing this, involving arguments that the audience provides. I call this "philosophical community service."
Here is the assignment:
- A handout on "Philosophical Ethics: Almost Everything You Need to Know":