After jumping into a rabbit hole in the form of this article about a recent study showing positive effects related to teaching philosophy to children, I found a website that I wish I’d discovered at least 6 months ago. Your Logical Fallacy Is… details the erroneous but persuasive arguments that many propagandists use, from politicians to advertisers. The site makes it quite easy to “call someone out” by offering the tools to identify and share specific logical fallacies through social networks. Just click on the icon for a particular logical fallacy on the home page, and it will take you to a page describing the fallacy along with an example. Teachers might also be interested in the free, downloadable poster, which gives short summaries of each of the twenty-four fallacies defined on the site.
In this era of “false news” and an overabundance of information to sift through, teaching our students to think critically is vital. It’s nice to see studies that suggest that teaching philosophy might improve student performance in areas such as reading and math, but neither of those skills are of much use to students who don’t know how to determine what is valid and what is a smokescreen.