Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
Are you interested in helping your family learn how to recognize fallacies/bad reasoning? The Fallacy Detective, by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn has been written to help you do just that. This workbook has been written for those over 12 (adults too!) and contains over 250 pages of 38 lessons on different types of informal fallacies (developed by Aristotle), which have been divided into sections.
- In Avoiding the Question you will learn about red herrings, special pleading, ad hominem, genetic fallacy, tu quoque, faulty appeal to authority, appeal to the people, and straw man.
- In Making Assumptions you will learn of assumptions, circular reasoning, equivocation, loaded question, slippery slope, part-to-whole, whole-to-part, and either-or.
- In Statistical Fallacies you will learn about hasty generalization, weak analogy, post hoc ergo propter hoc, and proof by lack of evidence.
- In Propaganda you will learn of appeal to fear, appeal to pity, bandwagon, exigency, repetition, transfer, snob appeal, appeal to tradition, and appeal to hi-tech.
Each of the lessons contains a definition of the fallacy, examples that explain the fallacy, fun illustrations, and exercises to help solidify the information taught. It is recommended that everyone do the lessons individually and come together to discuss the answers. After all the lessons have been learned, there is a fun game where everyone develops their own examples. After they have written their own examples they are voted upon and named. The person with the most points wins.
When I learned about this book, I was intrigued, because I think it is important to learn how to recognize fallacies. I wanted to begin when it arrived in the post. I decided that Christie and I would individually read the lesson and answer the questions. We would then get together, check our answers in the back of the book, and discuss answers that were wrong. We would do 3 lessons a week. I soon discovered she was very good at recognizing the different types of bad reasoning. Me, not so much. It has been fun, but a learning curve.
I liked how the topics of the chapters were explained in a bold print, all of the exercises, and the fun illustrations. I do think people can learn about different fallacies by studying this book.
When I said that I wasn’t good at recognizing the different types, I wasn’t kidding. I would perhaps get only 50% of the questions correct. I simply didn’t understand the different types. I would benefit from each lesson concentrating on that topic only. After several chapters there could be a section that combines all those types of fallacies. I would also like explanations on why that specific fallacy was chosen for that specific question. I think that would help me understand it better.
Christie’s Thoughts (Entering 10th Grade):
What I like.
- I like that the definitions of the types of bad reasoning were in bold text. So when you’re looking for something specific, you don’t have to look over the whole chapter.
- It’s simple to do and doesn’t take much time.
- I like that there is an option to write in the book if you wish.
What I didn’t like.
- They put the name of their own book in the book. Examples, lesson 7, lesson 10, lesson 11, etc.
- Oftentimes they didn’t have clear answers for the questions, like lesson 6, question 4: instead of having an answer, they simply put ‘Huh?’.
I think this product would be great for people of all ages.
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Recap of Pertinent Information:
Product Link: Fallacy Detective
Vendor Information Link: The Fallacy Detective
Age Appeal: 12 years of age to adult
Format: Physical paperback workbook, ISBN 9780974531571, 264 pages, nonfiction
Price and More: Please check the product link for current prices and more information
Mama recommends this workbook edition of The Fallacy Detective.
Please click on the graphic below to learn what the other crew members on the review thought of The Fallacy Detective and Archer & Zowie.