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- Argumentation in Science Education

Lecture | 26 Jan 2012, University of Barcelona, Spain

Fabrizio Macagno was a guest speaker at the Department of science education of the University of Barcelona. His lecture on argumentation in science education was entitled: "Argumentation schemes as a teaching instrument".



Argumentation schemes are prototypical patterns of inference, combining logical axioms (or rules) with semantic principles (or material links). They represent the reasoning structure underlying the relationship between premises and conclusion and for this reason they can be used to reconstruct the information taken for granted. From a pragmatic point of view, the act of presupposing is justified when the speaker can presume certain premises to be shared. However in education such presumptions play a crucial role. Often textbooks presume information that the students do not share, and students interpret the reasoning presented in the text proceeding from premises different from the real ones.   

The interpretative function of argumentation schemes can be used as a teaching tool of textual interpretation. In literary texts, the author advances certain statements to lead the reader to a certain judgment or viewpoint. In philosophical works, arguments are presented to prove a specific position. In science an explanation of a phenomenon rests on causal, analogical or inductive patterns of reasoning that often presuppose crucial pieces of information. The use of argumentation schemes can be thought of as a methodology of reconstructing what is not said in order to fill the gap of knowledge between the teacher and the student.