always, remember to introduce and conclude your lessons with previews
and reviews. Use transitions to maintain a connection between
daily classroom activities, assignments, and portfolio and course
can be tricky. Sometimes students will get scared of slipping
into fallacy and fail to make strong enough claims/sub-claims.
The point to emphasize about fallacies is that, yes, a multitude
of them can seriously affect an argument's strength, however,
our goal in identifying fallacies isn't to decimate other people's
arguments or scare us out of our own. It is to determine
how flaws in logic affects effectiveness and to see how to avoid
making them. Few arguments are airtight; fallacies are problematic
when they are used to deliberately manipulate an audience or obscure
the real issue (this is particularly true of scare tactics or
Design an activity that
reviews the fallacies described in the PHG. Follow that
up with an activity where students can practice using fallacies.
You might have students "sell" a product via a performed
"commercial" and using as many logical as they can.
As each group performs, have the class identify the fallacies
as they come.
You can create a worksheet
that matches fallacies to a fallacious passage or statement or
read a fallacious argument to call into question an argument's
effectiveness and reinforce each fallacy.
example, Edward Koch's argument ("Death and Justice, page
472 in the PHG), although convincing on the surface, contains
a number of logical fallacies:
3: Slippery Slope. Studies have shown that the death
penalty does not deter crime.
Paragraph 5: Hasty Generalization. How does Koch
know that chemical deaths are painless? Obviously, evidence
can't be gathered from the subjects because they are dead.
While there are some tests that measure pain levels as the subject
dies, some case studies from failed suicides show that chemical
deaths are more painful than any other type.
Paragraph 6: Faulty Analogy. Chemotherapy is a
treatment used to prolong life; capital punishment is a treatment
used to bring about death. Cancer is a physical disease;
crime is not a physical disease--although, if Koch wanted to
use a metaphorical comparison, there are ways he could strengthen
this. Furthermore, his statement about injustice being
the disease is then a non sequitur. It doesn't follow
from his previous statements.
Paragraph 8: Either-Or. We can either have the
death penalty (and the possibility of killing innocent people)
or the government can't function at all.
Paragraph 10: Faulty Analogy. Koch compares murder
to rape, saying that if we diminished the punishment for rape,
it would diminish the victim herself. But by his "eye
for an eye" logic, followed to its logical conclusion,
men who rape should not go to prison, they should be raped in
return (just as men who kill are killed in return).
students know how they will organize the body of their argument,
spend time helping them develop their introductions and conclusions.
the types of strategies for creating introductions (also, see
page 314 - 316 in the PHG for additional help with writing lead-ins
the Topic: Come right out and say it. Tell your readers what
your topic is, what the issue/conversation is you are focusing
on, and what your argument aims to do.
Your Argument: If your readers are familiar with disagreements
among authors contributing to your conversation, you can get
right to your main point—what you think should be done about
the issue or what you think they should know about it. In other
words, you can introduce your argument by leading with your
thesis statement. By using your thesis statement in your introduction,
you can let your readers know, for example, whether you are
explaining something, making an argument to convince them of
your points, offering a solution to a problem, etc…
a Problem: Depending on how you define a problem, you'll call
attention to different solutions. There's a tremendous difference,
for instance, between saying, "We have a problem with education:
our teachers are not prepared to teach the skills needed in
the 21st century" and "We have a problem with education: our
students can't learn the skills needed in the 21st century."
a Question: Asking a question invites your readers to become
participants in the conversation you've joined by considering
solutions to a problem or rethinking approaches to an issue
a Story: Everyone loves a story, assuming it's told well and
has a relevant point. Featured writer Patrick Crossland began
his research project with a story about his brother Caleb, a
senior in high school and a star wrestler who was beginning
the process of applying to colleges and universities.
an Historical Account: Historical accounts can help your readers
understand the origins of a particular situation, how the situation
has changed over time, and how it has affected people.
with a Quotation: A quotation allows your readers to hear about
the issue under discussion from someone who knows it well or
has been affected by it. You can select a quotation that poses
a question, defines a problem, or tells a story. You can also
use quotations to provide a historical perspective.
the Situation: You can provide a brief review of the situation,
drawing on other sources or on your own synthesis of information
about the issue. A brief review can be combined with other strategies,
such as asking a question, defining a problem, or defining your
strategies for concluding an essay:
Up Your Argument: Offer a summary of the argument you've made
in your document.
Additional Analysis: Extend your analysis of the issue by offering
about the Future: Reflect on what might happen next.
with a Quotation: Select a quotation that does one of the following:
1 . sums
up the points you've made in your document
to the future of the issue
a solution to a problem
what you would like to see happen
with a Story: Tell a story about the issue you've discussed
in your document. The story might suggest a potential solution
to the problem, offer hope about a desired outcome, or illustrate
what might happen if a desired outcome doesn't come to pass.
to Your Introduction: This technique is sometimes called a "bookends"
approach, since it positions your introduction and conclusion
as related "ends" of your document. The basic idea is to turn
you conclusion into an extension of your introduction:
if your introduction used a quotation, end with a related quotation
respond to the quotation.
if your introduction used a story, extend that story or retell
it with a
if your introduction asked a question, answer the question, restate
question, or ask a new question.
if your introduction defined a problem, provide a solution to
restate the problem, or suggest that
readers need to move on to a new
Internet: A Clear and Present Danger?" by Cathleen A. Cleaver
Damnation of A Canyon" by Edward Abbey page 464
Tolerance in America" by Dudley Erskine Devlin
Tres Riches Heures de Martha Stewart" by Margaret Talbot
capital punishment series: "Death and Justice" by
Edward Koch page 472; "Death Be Not Proud" by Robert
Badinter page 477; and "Death and Justice" by John
O'Sullivan page 479.
you are using two or more of the "Death Penalty" essays,
consider also assigning the introduction on page 471. Also, in
the questions section following the readings, you can find Internet
addresses for other related arguments.
should have students identify the aspects of argumentation you
are discussing (or have discussed) and determine the effectiveness
of that strategy in the argument.
the day’s activities (3 minutes)
you or a student does this, take special care to make clear their
connection to both Portfolio 2 and larger course goals. Take care
to provide some sort of conclusion to each class.