Logical Fallacies are tricks used to persuade the untrained person to believing something that is not true, or maybe to make a weak argument seem stronger than it is. Once you have learned these you’ll see them everywhere, in politics, advertising, even in classrooms. These techniques are taught to rhetoricians as methods of persuasion but they will not work on you any more once you have committed the key to identifying these to your mental tool box and developed the courage to stand up and say “I reject your argument on the basis that you have presented a logical fallacy!”
First watch the TED talk by Jesse Richardson on critical thinking:
Step 1: Now review the list of 24 logical fallacies and review them so you can diagnose them if you see them. You might look at some other fallacy descriptions online if this site doesn’t make any one fallacy clear. Your assignment is to go on a scavenger hunt and find examples all 24 logical fallacies from the “Your Fallacy is…” website in the media during this module. Political discourse and advertising, any persuasive media is full of these. Your grade will be based upon the % of these you have in scavenger hunt correctly diagnosed. You get extra credit for violations done in the larger media, like a presidential speech, rather than in an advertisement. To do this assignment make a checklist and when you review your daily newsfeed or online info source check off a few. It will take a couple of days of this to get most of them and a very attentive effort to get all of them. For each fallacy you need to have a link or cut and paste the source, like a quote, and a brief statement of why you think it is the fallacy you claim – just a few sentences. To make it more interesting there will be 5 extra credit points for the most complete list in the class, you know a contest of sorts, and there can be more than one winner. You must submit this by the due date to allow for step 2.
Step 2: After everyone has posted their scavenger hunt you will be randomly assigned a peer review where you will evaluate a peer’s diagnosis of the fallacies. You will score each entry as correct or not, and if not correct, what was the mistake? I would also like to know if you thought anything they did warrants extra credit – like catching a political leader in a fallacy rather than just some advertising firm. You will get a second 1 point grade for the review based on quality, percent you evaluate correctly and your overall charm and sophistication in communicating your results back to your peer. The points for this will show up as an assignment with no submission, but you will have done so in this assignment. The deadline is the last day of this module.
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