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The Fallacy Detective

The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning

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If you have spent much time on social media, you will probably appreciate this book. In “The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning,” authors Hans Bluedorn and Nathaniel Bluedorn want you to get comfortable with the discomfort of identifying the fallacies that you and others make. Three main sections address what these authors consider to be “the most common errors in reasoning”: avoidance, assumptions, and generalizations. While mainly geared toward readers aged 12 years and up, these lessons can benefit learners of all ages. In fact, this guide makes for a fun addition to a school curriculum.

 

The authors spend a big chunk of the book on the importance of good reasoning. This book will help you become a more persuasive debater as well as help you avoid misleading ideas and scams. The authors use humor to guide you into more logical thinking patterns. They teach you about red herrings, circular reasoning, and snob appeal. The text even covers and translates the more challenging terms, such as ad hominem, tu quoque, and post hoc ergo propter hoc. Readers get an overview of “opposing viewpoints” and why everyone should value them and interact with as many different views as they can.

 

To help the information set in for readers, the book has exercises at the end of each lesson with answer keys. You can use these exercises as pop quizzes or as homework assignments. Because learning happens best when fun is involved, this book includes panels from popular comics, such as Dilbert and Calvin and Hobbes, to illustrate the lessons. Besides the cartoon characters, you will also recognize historical figures and celebrities, including Aristotle, George Washington, and Paul Newman. Plus, the authors have included a game in the back of the book. Once you learn about all the types of bad reasoning, you will likely want your friends and family to read too.

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