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The Fallacy Detective

by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn. Paperback, 227 pages, $22. Published by Christian Logic. Please support by buying this program from our Christian Book Distributors link or Amazon affiliate link.

The Fallacy Detective offers a simple and straightforward study of informal fallacies. Subtitled "Thirty-Six Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning," the book seeks to teach one "to recognize logical fallacies which you meet every day in the street, in the newspaper, or in your work." The authors are the grown sons of Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn of Trivium Pursuit and were trained via the Bluedorns vision of classical home education.

Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn present the book from a Christian perspective. The introductory chapter explains the importance of logic for Christians, and examples throughout the book use issues, such as abortion, conservation, and politics, that concern conservative families.

Lessons are brief and simple, lasting only a few pages. Each one addresses a particular fallacy and explains examples of that type of fallacy in detail. For example, in the "Propaganda" chapter, the following exercise is presented:

"Gun manufacturers should do something about all those guns we have lying around. My grandson was brutally murdered last summer by another child with a gun."

Another example in the "Generalization" section is as follows:

"No matter what they say, all salesmen don't care a bit about the people they sell to. They just want your money."

These exercises and examples are designed to generate thought and discussion. An answer key is provided in the back of the book.

Recommendation: The Fallacy Detective offers a beginning look at one part of informal logic or "critical thinking." This book does not teach formal (deductive or inductive) logic. Written with the Bluedorns more relaxed style, this product offers a pleasant way to begin logic studies.

The authors recommend the book for ages 13 and up. The informal writing style used is sure to be appealing and understandable to children even younger, but because of the issues discussed in the exercises and examples, I would respect the Bluedorns recommendation on the age range.

The content as well as the cover illustration of Toodles, the fallacy detective dog, by Johannah Bluedorn, make The Fallacy Detective a memorable book and a nice addition to your dialectic-aged students curriculum. resources related to this review:'s Classical Education Section
Interview with the Bluedorns
Question and Answer Session with the Bluedorns
Review of Analogies by Arthur Liebman
Review of Primary Analogies
Review of Reasoning and Reading
Review of Ridgewood Analogies
Review of Logic in 100 Minutes
Review of The Thinking Toolbox

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