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Discovery of Deduction: An introduction to formal logic

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Publisher: Classical Academic Press
Author: Joelle Hodge
Aaron Larsen
Illustrator: Jason Rayner

List Price: Softcover: $26.95


Reviewed By: Heidi Pair


If you have a teenager in the house, you know they love to argue! However, are they using soundly structured logic?

The Discovery of Deduction introduces students to formal logic, which studies how an argument is put together. Unlike informal logic, which has a greater emphasis on argument content or substance, formal logic focuses on form or the structure of an argument.

Intended for students 8th grade and up, The Discovery of Deduction is one of three logic programs offered by Classical Academic Press. The first of the series, The Art of Argument, teaches logical fallacies and the second program, Argument Builder, helps students build a sound, persuasive argument. Though the previous two programs provide a foundation for formal logic studies, each text can be used individually. However, it is recommended that students have previously studied informal fallacies before introduction to formal logic.

After completing The Discovery of Deduction, students will have covered:

  • How logic is used
  • How to analyze the arguments of others
  • How to develop his/her own arguments
From the website:

 “The book emphasizes the practical and real-world application of soundly structured deductive logic. Using methods such as Socratic dialogue, ample discussion, and integration of other subjects, the book teaches formal logic in the best way for dialectic students.”

The 324-page worktext is divided into nine chapters, with each chapter subdivided into an average of five sections. Each section has a reading of 1-2 pages, followed by a variety of exercises.  Spaces are provided in the book to write the answers.

The concepts are often taught through a dialogue illustration or even with literature examples, such as Sherlock Holmes and Shakespeare.  The variety in presentation keeps the material interesting.

The exercises following the readings also vary. Short answer, matching, definitions, explanations, discussion prompts, and practice exercises are all included. The exercises are designed to make students think rather than memorize. Especially useful are the Deduction in Action exercises, which help students apply what they are learning through showing how logic is used in different areas in life and analyzing other people’s arguments.

You can view the Table of Contents and the first three chapters on the website: The Discovery of Deduction sample.

There are also two Suggested Schedules available, a semester-long and year-long. Younger students would likely benefit from the slower schedule since the content is rather thorough.

There is also a Teacher’s Edition available. While I do not have one available to review, I would recommend including it in your purchase as the student edition does not have answers to the exercises. Unless you are extremely comfortable with the material, having the Teacher’s Edition will be a convenience you will not want to go without. The Teacher’s Edition includes the entire content of the student edition, an answer key, teaching tips, sample essays, dialogues, and arguments.

Overall, this is a very well-organized and straight-forward logic curriculum. There is enough humor and variety in the presentation to keeps it interesting for the student while mantaining quality content. The Discovery of Deduction successfully presents a subject normally not studied until college in such a way that it is accessible to younger students.

More Information
Available From: Classical Academic Press
Address: 3920 Market Street, Camp Hill, PA 17011
Phone: 866.730.0711
Other Notes: Add'l Author: Shelly Johnson

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Heidi Pair
Heidi Pair has been homeschooling for ten years. She is mom to two busy teens, a homeschool support group leader, and founder of Pear Educational Products. When she isn't teaching, chauffeuring, or coordinating, she enjoys relaxing with a good book, writing for her blog, or just hanging out with family and friends.
Copyright © 2012 Eclectic Homeschool Association

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