I come across the Strawman (or Figure) Fallacy term all the time in the blogosphere. This video is really a little bit too advanced for me. I will go in search of a simpler one., so as to grasp full meaning from its roots.
In the interim…I’ve learned the following: thanks to some Wisegeek
(Rhetorical is another word that I’ll have to go chasing after as its meaning appears to escape me all the time).
A straw man argument is a rhetorical device that is meant to easily prove that one’s position or argument is superior to an opposing argument. However, the straw man argument is regarded as a logical fallacy, because at its core, the person using the device misrepresents the other person’s argument. The person does this because it then becomes easier to knock down the weaker version of the opposing argument with one’s more substantial counter argument. The term straw man derives from the use of scarecrows for military practice, such as charges. In reality, a scarecrow is far easier to defeat than an actual person.
The straw man argument, also called straw dog or scarecrow, deliberately misrepresents and weakens the argument of the opposing side. This can be done by leaving out key points of an opposing argument, quoting a person’s words out of context, or presenting a particular person’s poor defense as the entire defense of an opposing side. In the worst case, a straw man is literally an imagined person who weakly defends an argument and can be easily defeated.
The straw man fallacy Category: Bad Moves
The last four paragraphs give a clear example of the strawman (figure) fallacy according to Baggini’s Bad Moves article posted by Ophelia Benson.
Read the rest here
Erm…I see another Confirmation bias phrase lurking about in the top hand corner of the B&W link just up above. Well, it too definitely needs to be thoroughly investigated, as it’s a phrase which can have dire consequences for people?!
- Ann Widdecombe’s huge bundle of straw
- The fallacy of the too convenient
- Nothing decisive to say
- We’ll Run Out of Straw, at This Rate
- This Should Be the Last Straw for Anyone
- H/t butterfliesandwheels.org
I’ve been pulling the cart before the wheels and looking at a list of common fallacies compiled by one Jim Walker. Some are very familiar ones that crop up all the time in the atheosphere. One fallacy can beget another one. For example:
ad hominem: Latin for “to the man.” An arguer who uses ad hominems attacks the person instead of the argument. Whenever an arguer cannot defend his position with evidence, facts or reason, he or she may resort to attacking an opponent either through: labeling, straw man arguments, name calling, offensive remarks and anger.