Tag Archives: argument

TOK Ethics: balancing detachment and engagement

(Eileen Dombrowski, from OUP blog) It’s easy to spark discussion in TOK when the topic is Ethics.  This area of knowledge offers its own tinder, and a spark can quickly flame.  But what then?  How much should we fuel student engagement with the case studies or issues, and how much should we instead encourage them to take a giant step back?  In treating Ethics in Theory of Knowledge, we walk the line between two extremes, excessive engagement and excessive detachment.

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Biases, fallacies, argument: Would you argue with a T-rex?

(by Eileen Dombrowski, from OUP blog) If you were the brontosaurus, what would you say back? The following cartoon sequence is designed for TOK to prompt examination of assumptions, emotional appeals, and fallacies of argument. Students will quickly see some real world relevance and echoes of common knowledge claims.

If you would find this activity useful with your own students, please feel free to download a formatted copy here (with permission given to teachers to use it in their own classrooms): Would you argue with a T-rex?  You’ll find commentary on the cartoon frames at the end of this post. Continue reading

Facts matter after all: rejecting the “backfire effect”

(by Eileen Dombrowski, from OUP blog) Good news: counter-argument with factual support may not be doomed after all. The “backfire effect”, as widely discussed in the past few years, was a truly disheartening phenomenon for anyone who cares about critical thinking or reliable knowledge. However, recent studies illustrate how the human sciences work as they offer revised conclusions – and at the same time give us back some reasons for optimism.

Backfire effect

1 backfire

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