ERIC Number: ED284311
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Dyrud, Marilyn A.
To make introducing logic to college students in speech and expository writing classes more interesting, letters to the editor can be used to teach logical fallacies. Letters to the editor are particularly useful because they give students a sense of the community they live in (issues, concerns, and the spectrum of opinion), they are easily available, they contain obvious logical fallacies, and they stimulate lively and interesting class discussions. To use these letters in class, the teacher first introduces the syllogism and why fallacies should be avoided. Some of the most prevalent types of fallacies are then introduced, and these fallacies are located in a sample letter to the editor. Some types of fallacies, such as ad hominem and hasty generalizations are easy for students to locate, while others, such as begging the question fallacies, are more subtle and thus more difficult to discern. Using letters to the editor teaches students that many people who express opinions openly in local newspapers do so on the basis of little knowledge, and that the credibility factor in writing is crucial--one logical flaw can ruin any argument. In addition, creative teachers can arrange several assignments around letters to the editor, including group projects, analytical papers, rebuttal writing and preparing speeches. (Four examples of letters to the editor and analysis for logical fallacies are included.) (SKC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Teachers
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Fallacies; Letters to the Editor; Logical Fallacies
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Oregon Council of Teachers of English Spring Conference (Bend, OR, April 6-7, 1984).