Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The World Needs More Logic... Start Teaching It at Home {A Homeschool Review Crew Review of The Fallacy Detective}

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Woah! Propaganda. Coercion. Social media memes. Mob mentality. Personal attacks. Lack of common sense and reasoning. These days our world seems plagued by such things which make uncovering - and arguing for - truth difficult. That's where The Fallacy Detective by Hans Bluedorn comes in. 

A handy 250+ page softcover workbook edition of The Fallacy Detective can easily help you learn to spot common errors in reasoning so you can arm yourself against the lack of logic in today's world and suss out truth in conversations, news reports, social media posts, commercials, and elsewhere - including your own arguments.

Plus, if you are like me, the book can become  inspiration for an upcoming co-op course.

What is a Logical Fallacy?

"What is a fallacy?" you might ask.

If you are unfamiliar with the term "fallacy" it simply means an error in logic - a place where someone has made a mistake in his or her thinking.

Fallacies include:
  • avoiding the question (red herrings, special pleading, ad hominem attack, genetic fallacy, tu quoque, faulty appeal to authority, appeal to people and straw man)
  • making assumptions (circular reasoning, equivocation, loaded question, slipper slope, part-to-whole, whole-to-part, either-or)
  • statistical fallacies (generalization, analogy, post hoc ergo propter hoc, proof by lack of evidence)
  • propaganda (appeal to fear, appeal t pity, bandwagon, exigency, repetition, transfer, snob appeal, appeal to tradition, appeal to hi-tech, etc.)
How Does the Book Teach about Fallacies?

In its 38 chapters, The Fallacy Detective introduces you to to the faulty tactics of avoiding the question, making assumptions, statistical fallacies, and propaganda using a clear, conversational tone, engaging illustrations, comic strips and witticisms, multiple exercises, summary pages, an answer key, and even a game.

The exercises present bits of conversational snippets, newspaper articles, advertising samples, and short headlines. 

The game has you making up your own fallacies and winning points for creating the best ones.

The summary pages act as a quick reference and review.

Together, the content of the books help you strengthen your skill at sifting through a barrage of bad reasoning and falsehoods so you can better discern truth in today's world.

My Approach Thus Far...

Shortly after receiving my review copy of the book, I admit, I did something I do not usually do with materials I am reviewing: I hid it!


Because as I began reading the material I knew immediately that I want to use it for a co-op class I will be teaching this fall, and, thus, did not want my youngest son (who will be in the class) to see the book, get curious, and read ahead. Nor did I want my older two children to spoil the fun their little brother will have debating the exercises with his buddies in co-op by pre-debating them at home.

So, instead of having my kids use the resource  before writing a review on it, as I often do with resources, I, instead, secreted the book away in my bedroom and snuck it out in the early mornings and late nights to read through, appreciating that it could be read in short snippets - due to chapters being only a few pages long, quizzing myself with the exercises, enjoying how the included comic strips get points across, and deepening my understanding of informal logic before I set about teaching it to a group of 10+ year olds. 

I am now excited to present the brief, conversational, yet to-the-point lessons to my co-op students this fall and, even more so, to engage them in discussing the exercises and related examples of fallacies that we find in every day life and media. 

I also intend to offer the book to my older two children to use as part of their high school credits. For, I believe The Fallacy Detective is a solid tool for  teaching kids (and adults!) how to recognize bad arguments, propaganda and falsehoods - an increasingly necessary skill in today's world! 

Final Thoughts

I love the ease and appeal of 
The Fallacy Detective and am excited for the conversations that will develop from it in our fall co-op and home studies.

I would recmmend 
The Fallacy Detective for:

  • middle schoolers, high schoolers, and adults who seek to better understand sound reasoning as they seek and share truth.
  • students who wish to work independentally. (As I have experienced, the format is conducive to self-study and self-checking of answers. It could also count for 1/2 to one credit for logic or critical thinking, depending on how it is used by higschoolers.)
  • families who like to learn and discuss together. (The short lessons and easy to read aloud exercise format would make this resource wonderful for reading aloud and discussing thoughts as a family.)
  • teachers of co-ops and classes. (Lessons are dsigned for both private and classroom use.  I, personally, cannot wait to share this resource in an upcoming critical thinking and speech class at co-op!)

All that said, I would not recommend this book to you if you are looking to learn about ins and outs of formal logic - such as syllogisms, scientific reasoning, argumentaion, etc. For, these things are not within the aim of the book. Rather, logic as seen and used on an everyday basis is.  
In my opinion, the world needs more of that! 

Sound daily reasoning. This is a logic course that promotes it.

Discover how other homeshcool families are putting this book and another by 
Hans Bluedorn  to use by clicking through to find 20+ video, social media, and blog reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew!

You can also connect with Hans Bluedorn and The Fallacy Detective :

1 comment:

Amber said...

Great review on this resource! Thank you for sharing!


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