IPS’ Practical Reasoning program is one of the many distinctly different features of the school.
The overall purpose of the Practical Reasoning program at Island Pacific School is to give students an introduction to the fundamentals of reasoning. In so doing, teacher Ted Spear is mindful of Martha Nussbaum’s caution that, in coaching students to ask certain questions, we do not encourage them to be “insolent without being wise.”
Starting in Grade 6, students are provided with an introduction which is then built on over the years, culminating in an introductory exploration of ethics and philosophy in Grades 8 and 9.
By the senior years of the program, students understand that it matters what types of claims we make and how well we support them, particularly if those claims are of an ethical nature.
Focusing on the basics, (types of claims, argument structure and informal fallacies), the IPS Practical Reasoning program helps students:
- distinguish between empirical, conceptual and evaluative claims
- understand the basic structure of deductive and inductive arguments
- be able to recognize standard fallacies
- gain a rough idea of the difference between teleological and deontological ethical positions (Grades 8/9).