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Responding critically and ethically to contemporary issues, whether they be of local, national or global significance, requires one to go beyond the mere discovering of ‘facts’ and determining of ‘truths’. What one does with these ‘facts’ and ‘truths’ is equally important. What we claim to know may be helpfully understood in its emergence from and application to highly complex and seemingly intractable problems. Addressing such ‘wicked problems’ thoughtfully and collaboratively can reveal the nature of knowledge: how it is generated, how it is applied and contested, and what purposes it serves. Research areas in the Humanities, The Arts and the Social Sciences (HASS) as well as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) will be introduced and problematised.
Building on the ideas or C. S. Peirce, John Dewey and Matthew Lipman, this interdisciplinary subject will therefore focus on developing effective communities of inquiry, where the use of critical but cumulative talk is favored and where good questioning, in‐depth knowledge, sound reasoning and self‐reflection is applied to addressing and critically appraising wicked problems.
To this end, the subject will examine wicked problems arising from a wide range of disciplinary areas and cultural perspectives, including: climate change skepticism, Indigenous knowledges, fake news, and major societal issues and innovations arising from recent advances in Science, Technology, and the Arts.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Explain the properties and structure of argumentation (including validity and soundness), identify fallacies committed in one's own and others' reasoning and apply argument mapping techniques;
- Develop reasoned viewpoints on contemporary issues of national and global importance utilising information from multiple disciplinary and cultural perspectives;
- Differentiate between exploratory, disputational and cumulative talk by identifying their key features;
- Enact the requisite skills and dispositions that allow for critical, collaborative and caring thinking characteristic of communities of inquiry; and
- Compare and contrast the ways in which belief, truth and knowledge are generated, used and contested in HASS and STEM to serve different purposes
- Critical engagement with contemporary, local, national and global issues using interdisciplinary perspectives;
- Application of knowledge, information and research skills to unfamiliar problems;
- Participation in communities of inquiry;
- Being attuned to, and working collaboratively, with people from diverse social and cultural backgrounds;
- Developing understanding of, and respect for, indigenous knowledge, culture and values;
- Application of logical argument in support of a particular position; and
- Respect for the principles, protocols, discipline and ethics of interdisciplinary scholarship and practice.
- Application of high level written and oral communication skills.
Last updated: 10 February 2024