Over the past few years I have occasionally been asked by para-church, church and home-schooling groups to put together a critical thinking or “mini logic” course, with a focus on fallacy spotting, and teach it to their youth. I have done this from time to time and have often found as many adults in attendance as youth; the demand for this sort of thing seems to be fairly high if the turnouts of these events are anything to go by.
Courses of this sort are common in a first year university philosophy programs but there are not many that are accessible to younger students of high school age or those not enrolled in such programs. It also seems that there are not many resources out there for self-teaching that are lay friendly in general. Madeleine and I subscribe to the email lists of a few home schooling groups and it is not uncommon for us to see people asking where they can find resources of this nature to use in their small groups and within their families. Those resources that get recommended are not always so user friendly and sometimes their quality is deficient.
So, given that Thinking Matters Tauranga have been particularly keen for some time now for me to formally put together what I have been doing ad hoc (along with a few other other groups) I have decided to do a short piece on this every Friday on MandM entitled “Fallacy Friday”. This should enable me to both actually get on with sorting through the rough notes I normally work from into tidier form and get critical feedback on the material itself – some understanding of how others will understand what is said and so on would be very useful before I turn this into a course I offer to small groups.
The first few Fallacy Friday posts will cover some basics then I will move into common fallacies proper with examples and application. To navigate the series as we go on, use the Fallacy Friday tag.