ENG 4U: Logical Fallacies

Ladies and gents, we have been together for 2 days. So far, I’d say that things are going rather well, wouldn’t you?  Thus, I feel comfortable broaching this rather awkward topic much earlier than I have in the past.  You may want to sit down for this.

Oh. Right. You are sitting.

Ready? Here we go:

Not everything on the internet is true.

Or, in the context of today’s activity, not every argument on the internet is valid. For the last few days, we have examined logic in the form of inductive and deductive reasoning.  Yesterday, you wrote a short piece about the arguments you identified in an article of your choice. Today, I hope to build upon your work so that you are better equipped to identify where arguments go awry.

We will watch a video that outlines five common fallacies, or failures in reasoning, on the internet. The video moves rather quickly, so we will pause at key moments to ensure that we understand the ideas. Once we have finished the video, I’d like each group to choose one fallacy and complete the steps below. 1 and 2 should be completed by shoulder partners, while the entire group can tackle 3 and 4:

  1. write a formal definition of the fallacy
  2. write an informal definition of the fallacy (imagine that you are explaining the argument to a student in grade 6)
  3. provide at least one example of the fallacy. Look for something current and/or well-known.
  4. explain, in detail, how your example demonstrates the logical fallacy

When we are finished these steps, we will use a jigsaw strategy to ensure that everyone benefits from your learning. This strategy requires everyone to complete the steps, so please be ready.

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