Informal Logic 101: How to Think and Argue Better, Part 10

We get three lessons today, boys and girls, as we head into the home stretch for this series (sort of)!

Straw Man

StrawmanEveryone has heard of this one. You don’t have to be involved in debates and discussions on controversial topics for long before someone accuses someone else of the “straw man fallacy”. It refers to the rhetorical act of intentionally misrepresenting the position of one’s opponent or interlocutor (or, at least, particular aspects of their argument), whether with a caricature or by oversimplifying it, so that it is easier to defeat. Like setting up a man made of straw, it is easier to knock down than the real thing. Of course, this is not fair, and any points scored against an inaccurate representation is irrelevant to the soundness & validity of the actual view. Many times, the straw man is accompanied by other fallacies (e.g., ad hominem, hasty generalization, suppressed evidence).

One example of this is…

Read the rest: Informal Logic 101: How to Think and Argue Better, Part 10