Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Art of Argument

Ezekiel took one look at the book on my desk and proclaimed, "Hey, I'm great at that!"  He'd never been more correct.  What was the book?  The Art of Argument, An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies by Classical Academic Press.

I've had my eye on this program, with the intention of using it next year with Luke and Ezekiel.  If they're going to argue with me, I think we should at least follow some rules, right?  I was very excited to when the opportunity arose for me to review it.  I received the textbook, the Teacher's Edition, and the first disk from the DVD set.

There are 28 fallacies covered in this program, and they're divided into six chapters:  Ad Fontem Arguments,  Appeals to Emotion, Red Herrings, Fallacies of Presupposition, Fallacies of Induction, and Fallacies of Clarity. At the end of each chapter, there is a chapter review, along with a cumulative review worksheet (for chapters 2-6).  The six chapters are divided into 3 units (Relevance, Presumption, and Clarity), and these sections give an overview of the fallacies that will be discussed.  The Teacher's Edition includes a copy of the textbook with the answers filled in, tests and answers for each chapter, each unit, and a final exam on all the material.  There is enough material here for a full year of informal logic study.

To use this program, we read through the fallacy, watched the DVD segment (a teacher discussing the fallacy with 4 students around a table) relating to the fallacy, and then discussed the fallacy. In the text, each fallacy is explained and there are examples that the text helps you work through.  There are also advertisements (created by Classical Academic Press) that provide discussion points for the fallacy.  Most of the fallacies end with a "Fallacy Discussion", where the student is expected to point out the fallacy on their own and explain it.  There are lines provided in the text to write an answer down, but we chose to do it orally.  It took us about 30 minutes to work through the fallacy and discussion.  The DVD segments take an additional 15 to 30 minutes to watch.

We really enjoyed using The Art of Argument, and I think it's a fabulous informal logic program.  It is recommended for 7th and up, and I think that's a pretty accurate recommendation, though some 6th graders will be able to do the program just fine.  I would definitely recommend the textbook ($21.95) and the Teacher's Edition ($24.95).  The DVDs ($54.95) are not necessary, and my sons had mixed opinions about them.  Luke thought they were boring (so did I), but Ezekiel enjoyed them.  If you choose to purchase all three items, they are available bundled together for $88.95.  Check out the Classical Academic Press website for samples and ordering information.

For additional reviews of The Art of Argument, go here.


  Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are mine.

1 comment:

Paula said...

We enjoyed our time with AoA. I found Discovery of Deduction (formal logic) to be a worthy follow-up. It's challenging, but good.