Years ago, people were instructed in logic. One component of learning logic is known as informal fallacies. This is what Classical Academic Press addresses in their program, The Art of Argument.
The materials contain a wonderful quote that fits perfectly:
“My chief objection to a quarrel,” Chesterton wrote, “is that it ends a good argument.”
Included in the program…
Students master 28 fallacies (such as begging the question, the straw man, ad hominen, et al) by studying many pertinent examples. The text features a variety of:
- Real-World Applications
- Phony Advertisements
- Dialectic Discussion Questions
- Fun extras such as a humorous skit for students to perform, and the famous short story, Love is a Fallacy by Max Shulman
Even though we have spent little time on anything approaching a ‘formal’ course in logic, it amazes me how easily it can be picked up. One thing I’ve found as P and I work through these materials is how much he can already spot as a fallacy, even though he didn’t have a name for it. Maybe that’s part of the development of teenagers as they can spot inconsistencies quite well when it impacts their own lives.
Now, he’ll be able to talk more about what is wrong with different platforms presented in the various forums of our lives. Hopefully, he’ll be more prepared to craft his own argument that does not have a bunch of holes in it. And, with the mock examples presented throughout the text, he’s getting exposed to the various ways people can try to ‘trick’ people into believing a certain viewpoint through the use of faulty logic.
As much as we are enjoying this, the one component that is not as well received by P is the DVD lessons. After watching part of the first fallacy’s lesson, he was ready to stop and commented that it was a bunch of random chatting. In some ways, he is not completely off base. I viewed the DVD as not only a good resource for exposing the student to more ideas, but also as a way to potentially guide the parent or instructor on how to approach discussions. Even the students can view a segment to see how a good discussion is done and then incorporate it into a model for future discussions. (Visit The Art of Argument DVD set page to view a sample segment.)
What you’ll find on the DVD set:
Each video segment features one fallacy, which is presented, defined, and then discussed and explored using a blend of enthusiasm, contemplation, and humor. Each discussion seeks to make a practical application of the fallacy to student life, advertisements, political speech, and various kinds of ethical and philosophical debates.
Pricing for The Art of Argument is as follows:
Student book ~ $21.95
Teacher book ~ $24.95
DVD set ~ $54.95
Basic Bundle (all 3 materials) ~ $88.95
Disclaimer ~ Our family was provided with a copy of Teacher and Student materials as well as a sampler of the DVD set for the purpose of writing a review post. No monetary compensation was provided and the opinions expressed are our own. You can read what the other TOS Homeschool Crewmates had to say about this title on the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.