COURSE:        Senior Seminar 8

TEACHER:        Ted Spear


Course Description

The overall purpose of the Senior Seminar 8 & 9 program at Island Pacific School is to extend beyond the Practical Reasoning 6\7 foundation to conduct an introductory exploration of ethics and philosophy.  In the grade 8 course, I will begin with a very brief review of Practical Reasoning to ensure that students understand the basics (i.e. particularly with regard to the analysis of evaluative claims) and then move on to an introductory look at ethics. Students will also be expected to write critical responses to at least three editorial pieces.

Students completing this course should have the ability to distinguish between empirical, conceptual, and evaluative claims; understand the basic structure of deductive and inductive arguments; and be able to recognize 5-6 standard fallacies. They should also have a rough idea of the difference between teleological and deontological ethical positions. Most importantly, they should believe that it matters what types of claims we make and how well we support them, particularly if those claims are of an ethical nature.

Year Overview

I will meet with the students for one 45 minute block each week over the course of the year, for a total of almost 25 hours of class-time.  We will begin with a review of the basics of Practical Reasoning and then move into an introductory examination of ethics.


Students will be assessed in the context of the course as it unfolds. Most importantly, they will be continually guided and corrected—in the context of class interactions—to be precise, clear and consistent in their thinking.