The affects on the scientific argument: a useful perspective for the formation of the ability to argue
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racionalidad científica
educación científica argumentation
scientific rationality
scientific education

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Stincer Gómez, D., & Monroy Nasr, Z. (2014). The affects on the scientific argument: a useful perspective for the formation of the ability to argue. Nova Scientia, 4(8), 110–128.


In modern scientific education, training and developing students’ ability to argue, as it is argued in scientific disciplines, are educational strategies that have gained great support. This has led to a diversity of researches, among which are those focusing on the study of the psychological mechanisms underlying the ability to argue scientifically, which have led to the knowledge of mechanisms of a cognitive, metacognitive and social nature. However, the mechanisms of affective nature have been less explored. Perhaps this is because of the extended belief that affections disrupt our rationality, or do not appear to play an important role from the epistemological point of view. This paper focuses on showing that affections do have epistemological significance for this skill, taking into account major empirical hypotheses and findings arising from neuroscience and philosophy of science. Both disciplines argue that complex cognitive processes and operations, such as those involved in the construction of scientific knowledge, and therefore, in argumentation, are mediated and influenced by emotions such as interest, curiosity, fear, anxiety, certainty, doubt, anger, and discouragement, among others. These emotions have been considered "epistemic feelings or emotions". These disciplines have postulated that the mentioned affects activate, optimize, and grant efficiency to such cognitive processes and even seem to provide contents for propositional statements that result from the knowledge of an object or phenomenon. Both neuroscience and philosophy of science highlight the role of affects in processes such as decision making, validation of inferences, construction of hypotheses, stating problems, evaluation of evidence, and construction of categories ―all quite related to the cognitive processes that we see present in the argumentative discourse of science. The reflections raised have important implications for the formation of this ability, in handling situations that foster argumentation, as well as in overcoming difficulties and obstacles of a psychological nature that prevent the construction of a good argumentative discourse.
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