When Good Arguments Go Bad: An Activity for Learning about Fallacies in Reasoning
Keywords:Public Speaking, Logic, Debate, Argumentation, Critical Thinking, Writing, Rhetoric
AbstractThe ability to think, reason, and argue well depends, among other things, on students’ ability to identify and avoid informal fallacies. This exercise enhances students’ understanding of fallacies through an experiential activity in which they construct fallacies on their own and identify fallacies created by other students. In the process, they consider the ethical and practical considerations of encountering fallacies in "real life." The exercise can be used in a variety of college courses, including public speaking, logic, debate, argumentation, critical thinking, writing, rhetoric, and others.
Hamblin, C.L. (1970). Fallacies. London: Methuen.
Eemeren, F. H., & Grootendorst, R. (1992). Argumentation, communication, and fallacies: A pragma-dialectical perspective. Hillsdale, NJ.: Erlbaum.
Mountainguy. (2010, November 1). Creative ideas for teaching logical fallacies [online forum post]. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from https://www.chronicle.com/forums/index.php?topic=73271.0
Seiter, J. S., Gass, R. H., & Seiter, C. R. (2018). Persuasion GO: An activity for increasing students’ awareness of approaches to social influence. Communication Teacher. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/17404622.2017.1372606
Seiter, J. S., Peeples, J., & Sander, M. L. (2018). Great ideas for teaching students: An orientation. In J. S. Seiter, J. Peeples, & M. L. Sanders (Eds.), Communication in the classroom: A collection of G.I.F.T.S. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
Walton, D.N. (1995). A pragmatic theory of fallacy. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others non-commercial use of the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).