Professor Brad Elicker explains some key learning objectives for his students in this entry level philosophy course.

In order to graduate from Saint Joseph’s University, all students must complete a number of required general education courses that do not always correlate with their majors. One of these courses is Moral Foundations, a philosophy course. To gain some insight into what professors of these general education courses want students to gain from classes that do not completely relate to their major, we talked to Brad Elicker, a professor who teaches this course here at SJU.

We asked him about some of the basic principles of philosophy and what he hopes his students take away from the Moral Foundations course. His first point was how we make ethical decisions. This relates to things like the death penalty and assisted suicide. Take away number two was critical thinking skills. This relates to different logical viewpoints and how early philosophers thought about different subjects.

The third point is how to craft a good argument. He believes this is important in everyday life and also in the classroom for writing papers. He wants his students to leave with a solid understanding of how to write a good essay. His fourth point is that the issues that are being discussed in class are both interesting and applicable. It gives you a different way to think about these topics talked about in the class.

Most people dread taking a philosophy class until they get exposed to the interesting topics that the course covers. Brad’s last takeaway he would like his students to leave with is understanding diverse viewpoints. People from all over the world see different traditions or viewpoints as “normal”. He wants us to understand how and why people do these things or think in these ways. 

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