Logos for Schools

Courses in philosophy and ethics for students completing Years 10-12 in 2018

You can apply to count successfully completed units towards:

  • Your Preliminary HSC, and
    Any Bachelor degree course offered through the University of Notre Dame Australia

2018 Dates - Applications for December 2018 are now open

Logos I – Philosophy: Monday 3 December – Friday 7 December 2018 
Logos II – Ethics: Monday 10 December – Friday 14 December 2018

For more information  call +61 2 8204 4164 or consult the following guides:

  • Modules

    Please note the descriptions below feature some of the compulsory and elective subjects on offer. These subjects may change and not all subjects may be offered each year.

    Logos for Schools Programme - Logos I Philosophy: Subject Descriptions

    Compulsory Subjects – Philosophy – Students complete four compulsory subjects

    What is critical thinking? Why is it important? What are some of the common errors in reasoning? What does critical thinking reveal about our shared heritage, our common humanity and the human desire to flourish?

    Critical Thinking and Informal Logic
    What is the purpose of an argument? How do we recognise an argument and evaluate whether it is a good or bad argument? Students will learn how to evaluate arguments by the application of logic and analysis of language. Students will also be introduced to the use of fallacies in the detection of poor reasoning.

    Truth and Reality 
    What is the relationship between thinking and reality? Students will be introduced to theories of universals: Platonic realism, nominalism and moderate realism. Students will compare and criticise theories of truth.

    Human Persons 
    Students will be introduced to theories of the human person - Dualism, Materialism and Hylo-morphism. Through comparing and evaluating each theory students will formulate the implications of each theory for human life.

    Elective Subjects– Philosophy – Students select four elective subjects

    Avoiding Fallacies – elective (Philosophy)
    A fallacy is a bad argument disguised as a good or persuasive argument. Learning the characteristics and traits of fallacies can help us reason better and evaluate other people’s arguments. This module is a lesson in intellectual self-defence.

    What is the nature of our existence? What constitutes it? The school of thought known as Existentialism provides answers to these questions. This module will look at key concepts in the school of thought, including angst, anxiety, freedom, as well as death, to answer such questions.

    Fate and Free Will
    Fate is the view that future events are inevitable and there is nothing that we can do to prevent them. If fate is true, then it looks like there is no place for free will or moral responsibility. This module discusses some of the metaphysical and ethical issues in holding a world view where things are fated to happen no matter what. Whether it is providence, destiny, fate or a vague sense that things happen for a purpose, there are many beliefs we hold that may be incompatible with freedom of choice. Can fate be true and human freedom of choice exist?

    Interpreting the Truth
    This module explores the way in which humans use language and text to communicate and interpret truth. Students will consider the basic rules of using language to communicate truth, questions regarding how we interpret truth in text and philosophical hermeneutics. Students will discuss and assess how the understanding and interpreting of linguistic expressions can be applied to subjects of study and life.

    Epistemology is a discipline within philosophy that is concerned with the nature of knowledge, the origin of knowledge, and the problem of justification of knowledge ascriptions. The module explores questions like: What is Knowledge? How do we come to know things? Is knowledge possible? How can we defend (justify) our claims to knowledge? Is skepticism about knowledge a plausible epistemic position? Can one be a skeptic and a good professional?

    Liberal Education and Happiness 
    This module will examine the relationship between the notion of liberal education, which underpins the LOGOS Programme, and the human desire for happiness. Within this examination, the module will attempt to draw out how liberal education has been explicitly designed with the goals of lifelong learning and human happiness in mind.

    Why is there anything rather than nothing? What is being? These questions will be discussed in three ways. Firstly, we will discuss what it means for something to be. Secondly, we will talk about how being has transcendental attributes (it is one, good, true and beautiful). Finally, we will discuss how metaphysics can answer the question of why anything exists at all, by seeing how talking about being can lead toward thinking about a first cause: God.

    Philosophy of Art
    What is art? What is beauty? This module will consider the various philosophical arguments about the nature and meaning of beauty and its place in human life. The module will challenge students to consider and evaluate various philosophical arguments about the meaning and purpose of art.

    Reason and Emotion
    Investigating the relationship between reason and emotion, students will focus on the philosophical questions of the nature of human persons, how we relate to each other and to the world we live in. Students will evaluate the importance of both emotion and reason in human life as well as their intrinsic connection to each other. Students will also analyse the relationship between our emotions, moral beliefs and moral judgments.

    The Meaning of Life
    Does life have a "meaning" or is it inherently "absurd"? Does it have a "purpose" or is it random and directionless? What sorts of things, if any, give human "life" meaning or purpose or significance? Why does this matter today? We shall explore these questions and answer them carefully.

    Logos for Schools Programme - Logos II Ethics: Subject Descriptions

    Compulsory Subjects – Ethics – Students complete four compulsory subjects

    What is ethics? What is ethical decision making? Why is ethical decision making important in a personal sense and in a social and professional sense? How can it help us to pursue and attain excellence?

    Natural Law
    Students will be introduced to natural law theory – one of the key ethical theories which can be used in the ethical case study. The module will be oriented primarily towards the LOGOS learning objective of: providing an introduction to ethics as an academic discipline in preparation for life and work. The class will focus on the concept of good in natural law theory, the theory of practical decision making embedded in natural law theory and how natural law theory can be applied to ethical dilemmas.

    Virtue Ethics
    The purpose of this module is to provide an introduction to virtue oriented approaches to ethics. In particular, it will consider the possibility of grounding ethics on our common humanity.

    This module provides an introduction to deontological ethics, with particular reference to the work of Immanuel Kant.

    Elective Subjects – Ethics – Students select four elective subjects from the options available

    Applied Ethics
    The purpose of this module is to offer an introduction into Applied or Practical Ethics. After introducing the notion of Practical Ethics, students will explore the main points of view in the debate about the moral relevance of human beings and animals, with a special focus on philosophical arguments for and against animal rights. What is of particular interest is to engage students in reflecting on whether and how these and similar questions can help us to become better human beings, better citizens of the world or better inhabitants of planet Earth.

    Basic Questions in Metaethics
    What are we saying when we call something good or bad? Are we referring to actual real properties or qualities of the thing we are referring to? Is goodness something that can belong to the nature of a thing? If not, then how is it possible that we can speak of moral truths? Is there something real that belongs to all moral agents that can ensure, or at least test, the truth of their moral claims?

    Educating for Public Life
    This module will examine the role of educators and education systems in preparing students for active and ethical participation in public life. The module will cover issues in moral and political philosophy such as education and citizenship, education and the common good, and moral\intellectual issues that arise in educating within particular societies and particular contexts.

    Love and Friendship
    Friendship has been seen in the history of philosophy as one of the finest of human experiences and, perhaps the one that most makes life meaningful. This module will examine definitions of friendship and their moral implications. Special reference will be made to Aristotle and Kant.

    Moral Dilemmas
    What is the nature of a moral dilemma? Students shall explore questions of moral dilemmas, analyse and criticise dominant theories around these questions and formulate various answers to them.

    Moral Experience
    The aim of this module is to investigate the following questions:

    What can our everyday moral experience tell us about morality? What is it like to be a moral agent or to be in a situation that calls for a moral judgment?

    Analysis of moral agents’ experiences of morality may give us insight into the nature of morality, because it takes questions related to morality out of abstract discussion and focuses on the everyday experience of human beings as moral agents. If we accept that morality is about taking action and, that taking action only makes sense in the context of our everyday lives, then analysing this experience of being moral might tell us more about the nature of morality itself. What we will explore in this module are such questions as: how are moral values or moral norms represented in the experience of agents making moral judgments? Do moral values appear to be 'out there' in the world? What are the main features of moral discourse and practice from the perspective of a moral agent?

    The Nature of Norms
    Human beings make sense of the world and their place in it by making judgments about that world, about themselves and about other human beings. Indeed, we judge things as beautiful or ugly, natural or unnatural, inappropriate or appropriate, right or wrong, disgusting or pleasurable, healthy and unhealthy, etc. In other words, we are normative beings, and our actions, decisions, and choices, are determined by various kinds of norms: personal, moral, aesthetic, professional, religious, social, institutional, objective, subjective, inter-subjective, etc. In light of the differences between these norms, the question that we often face as individuals, as professionals, or as citizens, is: which norms should I follow – legal, moral, norms of society, professional norms, or, perhaps, my own norms? This module's aim is to articulate this dilemma, and help us find potential answers to it. We will explore the sources of human normativity, and ask questions like: is there a correct way of judging others? What makes different kinds of norms similar or different from one another? What makes moral judgments special? Do I have the right to judge other human beings (irrespective of whether we talk about their clothing, sexual preferences, religious beliefs, opinions, behaviour, etc.)?

    Wealth, Power and Justice
    This is a broad-spectrum module on wealth and power relations from the point of view of moral and political philosophy. The module will be based on "Famine, Affluence and Morality" by Peter Singer, "In Praise of Idleness" by Bertrand Russell, and Aristotle's "Politics".

    Why Not to be a Moral Relativist
    Moral relativism or radical moral subjectivism seem to be popular positions on the nature of morality. The aim of this module is to explore why this may be the case and, whether relativism or radical subjectivism is a plausible position to hold when morality is concerned. The module will explore arguments that can be given against moral relativism.