Around general election time, we see and hear examples of fallacious arguments being made, either unwittingly, or deliberately in order to deceive. Any argument which contains a fallacy is immediately rendered invalid. For example: ‘‘Party A got more votes than any other party, therefore the majority of voters want them to form the next government; even though more people combined voted for parties other than that minority leader.’’
I suggest that all students should be thoroughly grounded in the principles of logical and ethical debate, especially those at high school and tertiary levels. There is no possibility of covering this complex subject in an 800-word column, let alone a letter to the editor; suffice to say that there are three broad categories of fallacy: formal, psychological, and material.
The ethics of reasoning and fair debate should be taught to all students; and this should take precedence over compelling all students to learn languages other than the main tongue of the country. Secondary language tuition should be available where students choose that option. I had friends who learnt Hebrew with no more than Sabbath Day lessons, so why tie up the schools with compulsory alternative languages? Honest debate comes first.