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Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. A Critical Edge Conference: The Complete Sixth Form London, 24 June, 2011 Presenter: John Butterworth
Purpose of the workshop Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. An introductory discussion of the concept of claim and the central activities of recognising, classifying and critically evaluating claims.
Key concepts Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. Claim Assertion Assumption
Some associated concepts Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. Knowledge / belief Judgement / opinion Inference Justification A Critical Edge
Claims and assertions Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. What is the difference (if any)? What do they have in common? Claims and assertions purport to be true. Strictly, an assertion is a claim to knowledge. The ‘rule’ of assertion is that a speaker / author should assert only what he or she knows, or believes with good reason. Claims and assertions are therefore understood as expressions of knowledge or justified belief (on the part of the speaker)
Varieties of claim Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. Students should recognise the differences between claims in general, and variants: hypothesis, conjecture, supposition, guess,... prediction, proposal, recommendation, warning, allegation,...
Direct and reported claims Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. A direct claim or assertion is one that is made by the speaker or author. For example: “Sparrow-hawks are a protected by law.” An indirect (or reported) claim is one that is attributed to another source. For example: “The RSPB has issued a warning that sparrow-hawks are protected by law.”
Grounds and justifications Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. A claim is justified if can be shown to be self-evident, or if it can be validly inferred on reliable grounds – that is from claims which are themselves justified.
Assumptions Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. Assumptions are claims which are made without full justification. Some are ‘made without saying’: i.e. implicit assumptions. Some ‘go without saying’: i.e. they are safe or warranted assumptions. But many are unwarranted. Obviously an unwarranted assumption detracts from the reliability of other claims and inferences that depend upon them. Recognising and assessing assumptions is arguably the most challenging aspect of Critical Thinking
Claims in the AQA specification Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. Classify and evaluate different kinds of claim (AS: Unit 1); Recognise and evaluate different kinds of evidence that are used to justify beliefs and claims to knowledge (AS Unit 2); Recognise significant differences between certain claims, and take these into account when assessing the grounds (A2 Unit 3); Understand what is involved in testing hypotheses (A2: Unit 3)
Responding to claims: John Dewey Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. ‘Active, careful and persistent consideration of beliefs and supposed forms of knowledge, in the light of the grounds which support them and the conclusions to which they tend.’ [Dewey 1909: How We Think]
The texts Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. Two texts, from contrasting genres, are presented for critical discussion: Walk this way Source, WDCS. Genre: popular science / wildlife Why a vote for AV is a vote for BNP Source, The Sun. Genre: tabloid journalism / political comment
Copyright © 2010 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (company number 3644723) and a registered charity (registered charity number 1073334). Registered address: AQA, Devas Street, Manchester M15 6EX. A Critical Edge For further information about AQA Critical Thinking GCE go to: www.aqa.org.uk And follow links to Qualifications / A-Level / Humanities
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Version 1.0 Copyright © 2010 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. Teacher Support Meetings Spring 2011 A level English Literature B AS PREPARATION.
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