Background/Statement of Principles
Who Am I/Ownership/Funding
LogicCheck is an independent web site created by Jonathan Haber, an educational researcher and consultant who has written books and articles on critical thinking and other subjects related to education. My work can be reviewed on the following web sites:
While this project receives no outside funding and does not make use of paid ads, readers should keep in mind that I benefit from the sale of books and consulting services and that such sales – which will never be advertised on or solicited from this site – could indirectly result from the existence of LogicCheck.
Non-Partisan Selection and Analysis of Topics
In previous work that used election politics to teach critical-thinking skills, notably writing the Critical Voter curriculum and subsequent book, I have made it a point to select news stories, editorials and other material that illustrate key principles of critical thinking and have made these selections in a non-partisan fashion. While newsworthiness is also a consideration for my choice of topics, analysis is based on critical thinking principles rather than a partisan or any other agenda. Examples from similar election coverage in 2016 can be found here.
Ethics and Bias
Many fact-checking sites require contributors to agree to policies that represent the best practices of political journalism, asking fact-checkers to avoid publicly expressing political opinions, contributing to or participating in political campaigns, or communicating partisan views on social media or elsewhere while affiliated with a fact-checking organization.
These are all worthy goals and completely applicable to sources claiming to scrutinize the news in the spirit of journalistic objectivity during our partisan age. Indeed, the media as a whole would be perceived as doing a much better job and would be held in higher esteem by the public if all participants in political news coverage held themselves to the same high standards as do members of the International Fact Checking Network.
As with previous projects dedicated to using political examples to teach critical-thinking skills, I have chosen to model “best practices” not of a dispassionate professional journalist, but of a citizen willing to apply critical-thinking practices and dispositions to everyday problems, including understanding challenging political issues. This includes keeping an open mind, acting charitably towards arguments I disagree with, maintaining the humility to know I might be wrong while arguing strongly for beliefs I have thought through.
For instance, in a chapter of Critical Voter that discusses bias I did not present myself as a neutral who had opted out of political discourse, but instead introduced readers to my (partisan) voting history, which allowed them to use that information to determine whether I was keeping my promise to select examples and engage in analysis of political communication in a non-partisan way. Once again, readers of LogicCheck are free to judge whether the same promise I’m making to you right now is being kept.
Sourcing and Research
In general, my analysis of speeches, editorials, advertisements and other political content will not involve the kind of in-depth journalism you might find at traditional news sources or fact-checking sites. I will certainly perform the research necessary to determine if facts making up the premises of a logical argument are true (or at least plausible enough to support a conclusion). But the level of investigation will not necessarily involve new reporting unless warranted in a particular situation.
Readers who want to suggest a source to analyze though the process of logic-checking can send them to me via the contact form.
Since the ability to admit error is one of the most important dispositions of being a critical thinker, I look forward to the opportunity to correct mistakes that might appear in writing that appears on this site.
Readers are free to communicate via the contact form or comments section of a piece to indicate where I might have introduced errors and know that I will treat each and every piece of feedback with the respect it deserves, communicate all corrections, and learn from the experience.
Given the nature of analysis that will appear on this site, I expect requests for correction to fall into two categories:
Errors of fact, including incorrect or controversial information identified as premises of an argument, that a reader feels needs correction or clarification
Errors in reasoning, including logical analysis that a reader feels is weak, biased or unfair
Errors of fact will be researched and, if confirmed, corrected swiftly and publicly. Since errors of logic are more open to interpretation, my first instinct is to acknowledge disagreement and analyze points of conflict and not necessarily label an argument as “right” or “wrong,” but rather describe flaws I may have introduced in my analysis.
Both sorts of errors, and associated corrections and commentary, will appear on the posting in which the original error occurred. If exchanges over corrections becomes a regular feature, I will add a section to the site that consolidates information about such corrections.
Supporting this Site
Until this project starts generating hard costs, I’m avoiding adding a donation option. But you can show your support by sharing word about the site with friends and colleagues, contributing to discussions and finding ways to internalize some of the techniques you learn here into your own evaluation of what’s going on in the world.