Friday, March 16, 2012

Arguing is an Art

Arguing is an art...and I don't mean the kind of arguing you do when you are angry with someone, full of rage, yelling, and saying hurtful things...I mean the kind of arguing where you are trying to reveal truth and perhaps even hoping to lead to your "oponent" to accepting your opinion as their own (or vice versa). Culturally, or at least where I grew up, these kinds of arguments were known as "discussions," but in a classical sense, they are called "arguments."

"The Goal of arguing is to convince others to accept your ideas of their own free will by presenting to them good reasons for accepting your ideas."

An argument is supposed to be a respectful attempt to rationally convince others of the validity of your belief about a situation or idea, and not an emotional attack against another person. You will see this kind of arguing if you are ever involved in formal debate, or in the courtroom (well, it is supposed to be that way). This kind of argument is commonly connected with classical learning and philosophy. If you are ever in a position where you need to employ persuasion to get what you want, you may find yourself using many of the 28 "fallacies" presented in this book. Fallacies are means of appealing to others using what is termed a "bad argument."

Wouldn't you LOVE to know the best way to keep your arguments (conversations, discussions) reasonable, fair, to the point, and without malice...with the most likely potential for being successful? Wouldn't you like to be prepared the next time someone tries to to "put one over on you" by using an argument you know is inherently wrong, but you just can't pinpoint why and have no idea how to counter it? Well, then perhaps it is time to start your student on a study of The Art of Argument by Classical Academic Press...and learn along with him!

 The Art of Argument Complete set is available for $88.95
Since Tex (age 14) is the one who used this program, I am going to let you hear what he has to say about it. I did watch some of the videos with him, and his father and I had some rousing discussions with him at the dinner table about important topics (and incorporated his new knowledge), and we both felt he grew intellectually and in maturity while working through several chapters of the student manual.

Tex's Opinion About The Art of Argument

  • Of all of the "logic" and public speaking programs I have tried before, this one is my favorite because it is so compelling to read, easy to understand, clearly laid out, and user-friendly.
  • I liked the fact that if I had to stop working in the book for some reason for a while, it was very simple to pick back up where I left off without losing any understanding or having to review excessively because the way they presented the information makes it really stick with you.
  • I thought the video discussions/classes were a useful and interesting way to see an example of real-life people trying to work through the concepts and come to an understanding of them. The discussions were conducted in an informal, small-group, conversational format that I really liked. I wish I could have been there.
  • I appreciated how they used real-life examples and situations such as courtroom cases, politics, controversial issues, advertising, propaganda, and even interactions you might have with other individuals you encounter.
  • The mock ads used to demonstrate the 28 different fallacies (badly framed or incorrect reasoning) presented in the book were quite often hilarious and had my mom and me laughing...and they all helped me remember the trademark characteristics of that fallacy better. (on page 43 there was a mock ad for an airline named "AppleGate Airlines" and their slogan was "We Crash Less." Apple computers crash less...get it?? Hahahaha! This is an example of a Tu Quoque fallacy. On page 49 the ad states, "Do you really want to buy your fruits and vegetables from the same Monster*Mart that sells underwear? Hahaha! This is an examples of a Genetic Fallacy. )
  • It was fascinating to spot different "bad argument" techniques I have seen (or sometimes used...but not too often) when talking to others or watching a program on television or a movie. I feel much more comfortable now that I can recognize when an argument (ahem--discussion) is going down a negative path and will have techniques to use to help get the discussion back on track.
  • I will also be able to zero in on false advertising more easily, as well as misleading political ads. Being able to do both of those things is very valuable.
  • The dialogues between two students and Socrates were engaging and full of fascinating information. They added a lot to each chapter.
  • There are questions you can answer, as well as definitions to complete for each chapter.
  • There is a lot of information in this book. It is probably not something you will want to do in just a few weeks, or you might get overwhelmed. Taking the time to really absorb the ideas, finding examples of them, and learning to utilize them is what will help you use this material best.
  • It might have been fun to do this with a small group so I could have discussions like the ones in the videos. Having the videos was a decent substitution for the lack of a group, but I enjoyed discussion the ideas at the dinner table.
  • A pronunciation guide for the Latin terms would have been useful.
  • I give this program two thumbs up. I am going to ask Mom to buy the next video set when I get to that point.
  • If you have a student who likes Latin, arguing, investigation, word play, puzzles, law, debate, having intellectal discussions, or plans to go to college, this program would be a wise addition to your high school curriculum (I am in 8th grade and found it was not over my level...I think all high schoolers, and most middle schoolers, would be able to complete this book).
If Tex has managed to persuade you that your student might enjoy trying this excellent curriculum, please check out the free sample chapter and table of contents.

You may purchase the Art of Argument Basic Bundle which isthe complete package for $88.95 (that's the student manual, teacher's manual, and complete dvd set...this is what we recommend) from Classical Academic Press.

You may also purchase just the student manual for $21.95. The teacher's manual is $24.95, and the complete DVD set (containing 5 DVDs which discuss all 28 fallacies) for $54.95.


Disclaimer: We received a copy of The Art of Argument student manual, the teacher's manual, and the first six video sessions for the purposes of reviewing this curriculum. The opinions you see stated here are our own. We recieved no other compensation for this review.

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