The Art of Argument Review

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Understanding how an argument is constructed, and some of the more common errors in reasoning that may be used, can be a great first step in helping students become more effective debaters and more critical consumers of the persuasive media that surrounds them.

With its casual, conversational and sometimes humorous approach, as well as its practical examples and interesting DVD discussions, The Art Of Argument can give students a thorough introduction to logic and logical fallacies that they will actually enjoy reading through

What We Like

Comprehensive and thorough course in logical fallacies and reasoning
Easy to read and approachably written
Can be a lot of fun to read and go through
Lots of relevant, visual and interesting examples
Video lessons can be very helpful and offer interesting discussions
Flexible scheduling options
Promotes independent learning

But watch out for

Can be a little complex for some younger students
Can be a little wordy at times

What Is The Art of Argument?

Created by Dr. Aaron Larsen and Joelle Hodge and published by Classical Academic Press, The Art of Argument: An Introduction to Logical Fallacies is a course in logic that aims to introduce students to common logical fallacies in order to help them learn to reason and argue clearly and more effectively.

It is also designed to help students better assess the arguments and statements they come across in the media and in everyday life.

The course introduces students to 28 logical fallacies and teaches them through readings, dialogues, questions, exercises, worksheets and even an optional series of video lessons.

 What Ages Or Grades Is The Art Of Argument Intended For?

The Art of Argument is largely intended for students in middle school through high school, or grades 7-12 or so. 

Being an independent study course that is aimed largely at homeschool students and those supplementing at home, the course can of course be used by students outside this age range, such as by curious and precocious elementary school students and even older students interested in a more approachable first course in logical reasoning. 

This broader usability is largely derived from the fact that the course introduces logic through clear, understandable language with plenty of illustrations and activities, as well as some light humor. 

Parents should be aware, however, that although written in an engaging and conversational manner, The Art of Argument doesn’t shy away from the use of fairly sophisticated English, or Latin for that matter, and the concepts and exercises in logic and critical thinking presented in the course might be a little more rigorous and challenging than younger students might be prepared for. 

What Is Required To Teach The Course?

As a course, The Art of Argument has three components to it:

  • The Art of Argument (Student Edition)
  • The Art of Argument (Teacher’s Edition)
  • And Videos

The Student Edition

The student edition of The Art of Argument is a 230 page black and white softcover book.

The book acts as the essential learning component for the course, containing chapters that teach students about critical thinking, logic and, of course, a rather impressive and useful list of common informal fallacies, such as: 

Ad hominem (abusive)Ad Hominem (Circumstantial)Tu Quoque
Genetic FallacyAppeal to FearAppeal to Pity
Mob AppealSnob AppealAppeal to Illegitimate Authority
Chronological SnobberyAppeal to IgnoranceIrrelevant Goals or Functions
Irrelevant ThesisStraw Man FallacyBegging the Question
BifurcationFallacy of ModerationIs-Ought Fallacy
Fallacy of CompositionFallacy of DivisionSweeping Generalization
Hasty GeneralizationFalse AnalogyFalse Cause
Fake PrecisionEquivocationAccent
Distinction Without a Difference

The Student Edition is written in a conversational tone that is written to the student, rather than in a more impersonal, textbook-style. 

sample text from the art of argument

At times, they also explore concepts and fallacies through various amusing and easy to read Socratic back and forth dialogues between Socrates, his friend Tiffany and her boyfriend Nate. 

picture of socratic dialogue in the art of argument

This casual tone and style can be far more engaging to students and can make reading about ad hominems and non sequiturs a little more interesting than a dry presentation of fact.

The book is also quite visual, and includes a variety of artwork, caricatures and cartoons sprinkled throughout that can make the black-and-white book a little more enjoyable and interesting to look at for extended periods of time.

The Art of Argument also includes an assortment of mock ads, political messages and other forms of persuasive media that are intended to help students get a more real-world understanding of the fallacies they are learning and how they can pop up (and be misused) in their daily lives. 

picture of the art of argument mock ad

Other than being amusing to read, we feel the inclusion of these mock persuasive media examples can be a very useful and very practical component of the book. 

Analyzing their message with the tools provided in the book can help students become more aware and critical of the media they consume, something that’s increasingly important in the world we live in today. 

In addition to providing the learning material, the Student Edition also includes various study questions, exercises, reviews and even essay prompts that students can work with to help review the material, put their newfound skills into practice and, in general, to help get them thinking a little more deeply about what they’re learning. 

The Student Edition does provide room for student responses, which means that the book is consumable and parents teaching multiple students (or who plan to use it with younger siblings) will have to buy multiple copies unless students choose to consistently record their answers in a notebook. 

Parents should be aware, however, that while the tone can be quite engaging, the language and content of the book can be fairly sophisticated for some students. 

The Art of Argument never really shies away from using more complex language or Latin terms and so younger students and those who have reading challenges may find it a bit tough to read through on their own at times. 

example of art of argument text

Similarly, the book can get a little circuitous at times (something not uncommon with philosophy texts), explaining concepts with rather long sentences that can be peppered with different examples, which can make the underlying information a little tougher for some students to process. 

Teacher’s Edition

Classical Academic Press does offer a Teacher’s Edition to go along with The Art of Argument. 

The Teacher’s Edition is essentially a copy of The Art of Argument with all the relevant in-lesson questions, chapter reviews and essay prompts filled in with suggested answers or key ideas so that parents can more easily evaluate student work. 

picture of art of argument teacher's edition with student answer

The Teacher’s Edition also contains a variety of tests that parents can administer, should they choose to do so, as well as their answers. 

example of art of argument test in teacher's edition

Overall, the Teacher’s Edition is pretty straightforward. 

It allows parents to oversee or guide their student’s learning in a more formal manner, and its answers do a pretty good job at outlining the key ideas parents should look for while still leaving enough room to accommodate a student’s unique thinking process and creative responses. 

And because it includes the actual material that students are reading, parents can more easily go back and examine the text themselves (without having to borrow their student’s copy) if they are unfamiliar or unsure about a concept or if they are interested in having a deeper discussion of the material.

Overall, the creation of a Teacher’s Edition is a marked improvement over previous editions of The Art of Argument that simply provided parents with an answer key.

Video Lessons

Finally, The Art of Argument also has a variety of video lessons that can be purchased to accompany the course. 

Available as streaming video or on DVD (for those who like to own hard copies of their educational materials), the video lessons are recordings of 3 teachers and 4 students who, in something of a Socratic method, go over and discuss the 28 logical fallacies included in the book in a dynamic and sometimes humorous manner. 

Each segment in the video lessons covers a particular fallacy and discusses it in some depth, providing the viewer with a definition, example and a healthy discussion of the concept that can help students get a better grasp of the material. 

A segment from the series (discussing the Strawman Fallacy) can be seen in the video below.

Overall, the video lessons can be a little long but they are quite informative and, at times discussing different political and ethical examples of fallacies, can be very interesting, especially for older students who may have a bit more life experience with which they can contextualize the learning.

Consequently, although they don’t really replace the book learning, the videos can be an excellent supplement to The Art of Argument Student Edition.

Interestingly, and something that is a bit unusual for such products, is that The Art of Argument streaming video provides students with lifetime access, rather than the 12 – 18 month digital access that most other programs offer, so they can be rewatched as needed. 

How it Works

The Art of Argument is a fairly straightforward course in logic and critical thinking. 

The book is divided into three units, each representing a different category of fallacy (Relevance, Presumption and Clarity). 

Within each unit, the book is further divided into six chapters, each based on a different kind of logical fallacy (Ad Fontem, appeals to emotion, red herring, etc) and each of which contains various different subgroups of those fallacies. 

For example, a unit on fallacies of relevance might have chapters on ad fontem, appeals to emotion and red herrings. 

The chapter on ad fontem fallacies will then proceed to explore various subgroups such as ad hominems (abusive, circumstantial), tu quoque and genetic fallacies. 

Classical Academic Press offers a variety of schedules that parents and students can use, ranging from 2 lessons a week over the space year (22 weeks) to a more intensive, 5 class a week quarter (9 weeks). 

All told, while a lot depends on the student, their reading ability and their skill and interest in learning logic, the course isn’t particularly hard to customize or slide into a busy homeschool schedule. 

The Art of Argument is designed to be an independent study course, with students reading through the book material themselves, learning about the different fallacies, breaking down their errors in logic, reading some examples of them and exploring how they might pop up in the real world, and so on.

Sprinkled throughout each chapter are a series of exercises that students can do to check for understanding and reinforce their learning as they go, such as dictionary and definition work, short answer questions, essay prompts, research questions (such as finding examples of persuasive arguments from various forms of media), worksheets and comprehensive chapter reviews. 

After each chapter, students can watch the video discussions to get a deeper understanding of the concept and to listen to the often interesting discussions between the on-screen teachers and students. 

At the end of the book, in addition to a glossary of terms and a handy chart of the 28 fallacies covered in the book, The Art of Argument also has a fun script for a play that students and parents can act out (“Bill and Ted’s Excellent Election”) as well as a short story students can work on.

Finally, as well as using the Teacher’s Edition to check their student’s progress, parents can administer and grade both chapter and unit tests, which check a student’s understanding of different fallacies and their ability to identify them when given a sample argument. 

Is The Art of Argument a Secular Logic Course?

The Art of Argument does contain references to God and faith, and at times can contain faith-based content, references and themes. 

The majority of the book, however, is focused on logic and reasoning and as such, we believe that while it might not be the most appropriate course for strictly secular homeschools, it can be an excellent resource for both neutral and faith-based homeschools. 

That said, and in fairness to the program, it is not exactly uncommon for most books on logic and philosophy to discuss God, faith and religious arguments, as the debates surrounding theism and atheism are still very prominent.

Overall, we feel that The Art of Argument presents these sensitive topics in a fair and even handed manner that really emphasizes the learning and the use of logical reasoning.

Pros and Cons of The Art of Argument


Comprehensive and thorough learning in logical fallacies and reasoning

As well as providing a good introduction to logic and reasoning, through its six chapters The Art of Argument teaches students 28 important and common logical fallacies in a fair amount of depth and explores numerous, highly relevant examples of them, including 65 mock advertisements.

Similarly, the program teaches students the proper vocabulary and technical terminology of logic, including the proper Latin terms for its content.

Easy to read and understand

Although it is thorough in its teaching, The Art of Argument is also written in a casual and conversational tone, explaining many concepts in plain English and in way students will understand and better engage with.

Fun to read

The Art of Argument can also be fun to read, with fictitious dialogues between Socrates and modern American kids, often amusing illustrations and mock advertisements and a good amount of gentle humor sprinkled throughout its text. 

Lots of examples 

Each chapter in The Art of Argument includes a lot of examples to help students connect with and better understand the logical fallacies they are presented with, including various visual examples, text and even mock commercial and political ads. 

Video lessons offer helpful and interesting discussions

In addition to the book, The Art of Argument also offers students access to video lessons which allow them to sit in on a Socratic-style discussion of the material they are learning that can help them better understand the material and its implications for real life. 

Lots of ready and flexible scheduling options

Classical Academic Press offers quite a few scheduling options on their website to help parents fit The Art of Argument into their schedules as an extracurricular course, offering rather detailed options for 2,3,4, and 5 day a week lessons. 

Self-study course in logic and reasoning

The Art of Argument is largely an independent learning course in logical fallacies and reasoning, with most students being able to read through the material, go through the various exercises and answer the sometimes thought provoking questions themselves. 


Can be a little complex for younger students

The Art of Argument can delve pretty deeply into the logic of its presented fallacies and doesn’t shy away from introducing fairly complex terminology and Latin terms. 

As a result, it can be a little advanced for some students, particularly those on the younger end of the age range. 

Explanations can get a little wordy at times

Although it does explain things in a pretty clear and conversational manner, The Art of Argument can get a little wordy and, at times, some students might prefer a more concise explanation. 

Who is The Art of Argument Ideal For?

Parents looking to help their students learn proper reasoning and about common logical fallacies

Covering 28 logical fallacies and offering plenty of examples to work through, The Art of Argument is a strong course in logical fallacies that can help students better identify errors in arguments and reasoning and can be a great fit for a broader study in critical thinking and logic. 

Parents and students looking for an approachable course in logic 

The Art of Argument is written in a casual and conversational manner, laying out common logical fallacies in a clear, understandable and sometimes even humorous manner, offering plenty of relevant examples and activities to reinforce the learning. 

Parents looking for a more independent course in logic for their students

The Art of Argument is a self-study course in logic and shouldn’t take up a lot of parental time, making it ideally suited for homeschooling parents looking to promote independent learning, as well as those that are simply very busy.

Parents who want their students to be able to critically analyze the persuasive arguments of the world around them

The Art of Argument includes a variety of helpful and practical examples in the form of mock political and commercial advertisements and text, which can help them critically analyze the media and information that they consume. 

Who is it Not Ideal For?

Strictly secular homeschools 

Aside from dealing with arguments surrounding theism as a while, The Art of Argument does contain Christian references and so may not be ideal for homeschools that would prefer to keep their texts free of references to God and faith.

Those who are fans of a formal, textbook-based curricular approach

While some students and parents prefer a casual and approachable course in logic, others may prefer a more by-the-numbers, structured lesson plan approach to learning with a more serious and formal logic textbook than The Art of Argument provides. 


Note: All prices current as of writing. All Prices in USD. 

As we mentioned earlier, there are three components to a complete course in The Art of Argument – a Student Edition, A Teacher’s Edition and video lessons. As of writing, the prices we found were as follows: 

The Art of Argument (Student Edition) – $25.95

The Art of Argument (Teacher’s Edition) – $26.95

Video Lessons (DVD) – $79.95

Video Lessons (Streaming) – $58.95

The Art of Argument can also be purchased as a bundle, which includes both the student edition and teacher’s edition and the DVDs, for about $132.85.

As always, parents should check for the latest prices of The Art of Argument, as well as for any discounts or offers that may apply.



Is It Worth The Price?

Ultimately, we feel that The Art of Argument can provide a lot of value to homeschools looking for a good introduction to logic, reasoning and their common fallacies.

The books cover many of the common fallacies in a fair amount of depth, providing students with many relevant and interesting examples, and providing them with a good deal of thought-provoking discussions and exercises, along with helpful opportunities for review.

The Art of Argument is also quite engaging and fun to read for a book on logic. 

With its conversational style, fun illustrations and often humorous mock ads, students won’t; find it a chore to read through this book of logic and may even enjoy themselves in the process. 

Finally, the program’s DVDs can be an effective supplement to the readings, with dynamic Socratic-style discussions helping students better understand the various fallacies they are learning about, as well as some of their real-life examples that students can think about.

Bottom Line

Understanding how an argument is constructed, and some of the more common errors in reasoning that may be used, can be a great first step in helping students become more effective debaters and more critical consumers of the persuasive media that surrounds them.

With its casual, conversational and sometimes humorous approach, as well as its practical examples and interesting DVD discussions, The Art Of Argument can give students a thorough introduction to logic and logical fallacies that they’ll actually enjoy.

Photo of Jennifer Keenes, a writer for the smarter learning guide

Jennifer Keenes is a writer and a new mom living in Florida. She studied education and, prior to becoming a freelance writer, worked as a substitute teacher at the elementary and middle school level. She is a big fan of the beach, working out and homeschooling her two daughters.