Fallacies and failure

Why teach fallacies?  There is no universal way to get an argument wrong, many argue.  It’s derivative on some positive theory of argumentation.  We have positive theories to support fallacy theory (the three aspects of argument strength from Blair and Johnson, and Govier; argumentation schemes from Walton; or pragma-dialectical errors) so why concentrate on an archaic theory of failure?  Doesn’t that encourage an unhealthy emphasis on nay-saying?  knee-jerk scepticism?  Certainly it can.

For the exact same reasons teaching fallacies can be a serious opportunity for students to learn about the value of failure.  “Teaching students to fail” by Edward Burger in Inside Higher Ed recommends not only informing students about the value of taking risks and learning from their own failure, but making that part of the assessment.  He makes it sound pretty simple and very effective.

Combining this with fallacies seems perfect, as it encourages students to consider the epistemological (or in Douglas Walton‘s terms maieutic) qualities of fallacy analysis and criticism in general.  I’m teaching fallacies this term so I’ll let you know how it goes!

Advertisements

About Cate Hundleby

I am an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Windsor, Canada, where I am also cross-appointed to Women's and Gender Studies and Director of the Interdisciplinary PhD program in Argumentation Studies. View all posts by Cate Hundleby

Comments are disabled.

Fit Is a Feminist Issue

Feminist reflections on fitness, sport, and health

Sex Geek

thoughts on sex and life

Edu*Rhetor

Rhetoric in Higher Education & Society

AILACT

Association for Informal Logic & Critical Thinking

FOOD PUNK

Eating, Talking and Rocking in RVA

%d bloggers like this: