Strong critical thinkers are in high demand by employers. More importantly, the ability to think critically is essential to being a good citizen and living a good life. This is not an exaggeration.
The Modes of Reasoning program is designed to help students improve their critical thinking skills through a variety of methods. There are many aspects of good reasoning and a Modes course will help you to understand and appreciate what is (and what is not) involved in thinking clearly and carefully. You will learn the details of argumentative strategies, how to evaluate arguments, how to determine what information is relevant to an issue and how to judge scientific claims. In addition, you will learn about common mistakes in reasoning and how to avoid them. You will come to better appreciate what a debate between reasonable people can accomplish and how to present your own ideas clearly and persuasively, both orally and in writing.
There are three versions of Modes of Reasoning, but all of them focus on critical reasoning skills. The difference concerns the content that is used to teach those skills. Reasoning About Social Issues (MODR 1730) focuses on topics typically covered in the social sciences and successful completion of the course earns students six general education credits in social science.
Reasoning About Morality and Values (MODR 1760) focuses on topics typically covered in the humanities with special attention paid to ethics. It is worth six general education credits in humanities.
Techniques of Persuasion (MODR 1770) takes a more general approach and incorporates elements from both the social sciences and humanities. It is worth either six credits in social science or six credits in humanities.
Although Modes of Reasoning courses are typically taught by people with training in philosophy, they are not philosophy courses and no prior knowledge of any academic field is assumed. They are introductory courses designed to help students perform well in any other course. For this reason, it is strongly recommended students enrol in Modes of Reasoning as early as possible in their time at York. Feedback from our students suggests those who took a Modes of Reasoning course early on in their academic career are very glad they did.