Today's Wisdom

Thursday, March 15, 2012

TOS Review: The Art of Argument

I can't help but laugh at that title.  Having studied a little about the classical stages, I am aware of the dialectic stage and know that children just naturally begin to "argue" at that stage.  So, why not teach them how to do it  correctly and hopefully respectfully.  When I speak of arguing here, I am not referring to an emotional squabble but trying to convince one of your point of view by reasoning.  I really don't think that I have ever mastered this concept myself so I am learning as well.  The Art of Argument is perfect for this stage of teaching usually referred to as the middle school ages but anyone without any formal logic teaching could benefit from this course including high school and adults!

The Art of Argument teaches twenty eight of the most important "logical fallacies".  What is a fallacy?  Fallacy comes from the Latin word fallacia, which means deceit, trick, or fraud.  So, a "logical fallacy" is an occurrence of bad or incorrect reasoning.  You have an argument but is it a good argument?

The Student Book is broken down into 3 units:
  • Relevance
    • Ad Fontem Arguments
    • Appeals to Emotion
    • Red Herrings
  • Presumption
    • Fallacies of Presupposition
    • Fallacies of Induction
  • Clarity
    • Fallacies of Clarity

From the website...

Junior high aged students will argue (and sometimes quarrel), but they won't argue well without good training. Young teens are also targeted by advertisers with a vengeance. From billboards to commercials to a walk down the mall, fallacious arguments are everywhere you look. The Art of Argument was designed to teach the argumentative adolescent how to reason with clarity, relevance and purpose at a time when he has a penchant for the "why" and "how". It is designed to equip and sharpen young minds as they live, play, and grow in this highly commercial culture. This course teaches students to recognize and identify twenty-eight informal fallacies, and the eye-catching text includes over sixty slick and clever, “phony advertisements” for items from blue jeans to pick-up trucks, which apply the fallacies to a myriad of real life situations. 

The student book is written directly to the student in a very easy to read style and uses fun, fictitious ads but very relative to what teens see on a daily basis.  The text uses the character, Socrates, who teaches characters Nathan and Tiffany, about each logical fallacy and your student listens in on the teachings.  You can view a sample of the student book here.

The teacher book simply is the student book but with the answers filled in.  Some of the answers, of course, will vary and not be cut or dry.  You can view a sample of the teacher book here.

We also had the opportunity to review the first six fallacies being discussed on DVD.  Since I have no former background in logic or teaching logic, I found this to be an extremely valuable asset to the curriculum.  You can view a sample teaching of the "Straw Man Fallacy" by watching the video below.  (You will need to visit my site if you are viewing this in a reader.)

Yeah, you see what I mean?  This is a great curriculum for adults too!  If you didn't watch - go back now!  Don't argue with me - just do it.  :)  See, I'm still learning how to "argue".

You can purchase the Art of Argument Basic Bundle set which includes the student book, the teacher book, and the DVD set for $88.95.  

You can also purchase each item individually.   The student book sells for $21.95, the teacher book sells for $24.95, and the DVD set sells for $54.95.  There are also additional logic sets available for purchase.  Be sure to check out Classical Academic Press for additional product details.  Another one of our favorite curriculum that they offer is Latin For Children and you can see our review for that here.

Don't forget to check out what my fellow crewmates thought of these and other Logic Curriculum from Classical Academic Press.

**Disclaimer: I received free curriculum in exchange for my review. The opinions here are my honest and true evaluation!

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