December 10, 2016
When logic is taught at all, it is usually handled in an abstract fashion. Students examine very simple patterns of reasoning and learn which patterns are correct and which are incorrect.
When analysis of realistic text is taught at all, it usually involves dissecting literature to find out what the author is “really trying to say.”
I wasn’t satisfied with either approach. So when I created my course (further details below), I changed the priorities. Students do learn something about abstract thinking—but they are also taught how the most important and destructive fallacies seep into news reports, PR releases, scientific journalism, editorials, and political arguments.
The core of the course consists of text passages that resemble the kind of information people encounter every day. These passages contain multiple logical errors, and with the help of the teacher, students root out the errors and…
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