The Fallacy Detective Review


I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew. 

Have you heard the terms "logic," "straw man," or "propaganda" thrown about in modern discussions about faith, politics, or health? These terms are commonly used when discussing a position's grounding in logic. But, what do they all mean?

The Fallacy Detective is a paperback workbook and instructional book in one. It aims to equip readers with the knowledge of these terms and how logic can be used in our understanding of the world today. As someone who values logic training and learning in our homeschool (and life!), I was excited to review this book. Here's how we used The Fallacy Detective with our family and my thoughts on why it's an excellent choice for students.

What is The Fallacy Detective?

The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning is written by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn. It features 38 examples of logic terms and reasoning and gives a brief introduction with examples before going into activities to reinforce each. Students can use this book as a standalone logic course or to complement a longer course. It is 264 pages long and is a consumable workbook.

How did we use this in our homeschool?

My kids generally take a standalone logic course, specifically traditional logic. This is a more modern approach to logic, which I think also has value. We used this as a family to go through the principals, reading out loud and then doing the exercises out loud with our kids. We discussed why we came up with the answers and discussed other real-life examples of bad reasoning that happens today.

Unlike other logic books, this isn't as much as "if this, then then" and is more "this is an example of propaganda." While the book is written for students ages 12 through adult. (I would recommend it for any child in the later elementary years through college. Parents can benefit from it, too!)

Our favorite part of the workbook was the section on Propaganda. While it has been given a powerful negative connotation when used in context of corrupt governments, corporate media,  or "brainwashing," it's also acknowledged as an accepted form of influence in marketing or business. 

I loved the examples given on commercials, for example, that ask students to identify what types of propaganda are being used in each example. I learned something new here as a marketing professional, and I really believe that we should know what propaganda techniques are both used and accepted in our world today. Kids and adults can only learn to think for themselves if they are aware of these techniques being used. Whether it's a corrupt government or a shampoo bottle, the messages we receive need constant discernment. 

The Fallacy Detective review summary

This book is an easy read with relatable text, illustrations, cartoons, and examples that kids will find fun. Parents don't need a high level of logic education to lead, and they will likely learn something too. If you're looking for a more formal study of traditional logic, this book might not be your first choice, but it certainly can add some flavor to your existing study and give kids tasty, bite-sized lessons to help reinforce what they learn in a formal logic program. 

Anyone who has been intrigued or annoyed by the barrage of social media comments calling out "straw man" or "propaganda" arguments, should give this a read so you are better prepared to discern and reply when appropriate. 

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