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ERIC Number: ED425467
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Fair Play: Teaching the Logical Fallacies.
Griffin, Susan
This paper describes a freshman composition course which looks at racism and sexism in science, and within which the instructor uses a 1989 "Atlantic Monthly" piece by R.J. Herrnstein, co-author with Charles Murray of "The Bell Curve." In his article, Herrnstein argues that the intelligence of the nation is declining because educated young women are not having enough children. The instructor first teaches her students about logical fallacies and sophistry, since her initial pedagogical aim is to give her students the tools to critique a bad argument. The teacher reconsiders her own practices, then defending her pedagogy and her campaign against Herrnstein as a lesson in the ethics of argument, as following in a long tradition of teaching the fallacies to promote fair play. The paper considers two essays on teaching the fallacies, those of David Hitchcock and J. Anthony Blair. The paper then examines Herrnstein's article in detail, as an example of fallacious reasoning. The paper concludes that by the end of the course, Herrnstein's vision of the future is not persuasive to all her students--the instructor's pedagogical goal of planting the seeds of distrust has been accomplished. (Contains 11 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A