As many college students are at a time of tremendous personal and academic growth, introductory philosophy courses have the potential to equip students with practical critical reasoning skills. Despite this, many introductory courses in this domain emphasize students’ learning about pre-existing dialectics in the abstract, rather than over self-reflection and development of personal philosophical perspectives. In doing so, we may be failing to support the needs of pre-professional students looking to prepare themselves for their careers ahead. In this practitioner paper, we report our efforts as a practicing philosophy instructor (Bursten) and a learning scientist (Finkelstein) to iterate on the design of a student-centered instrument for moral reasoning in medical contexts within an introductory Health Care Ethics course. We identified the positive role that providing boundary cases played in helping students’ experience productive cognitive conflict, and, in turn, how these experiences improved critical self-reflection and moral reasoning.
Bursten, Julia and Finkelstein, Samantha, "Promoting Cognitive Conflict in Health Care Ethics: Moral Reasoning with Boundary Cases" (2018). Philosophy Faculty Publications. 8.