Towards a Critique-Friendly Approach to the Straw Man Fallacy Evaluation

Argumentation 25 (4):469-497 (2011)
Abstract
In this article I address the following question: When are reformulations in argumentative criticisms reasonable and when do they become fallacious straw men? Following ideas developed in the integrated version of pragma-dialectics, I approach argumentation as an element of agonistic exchanges permeated by arguers’ strategic manoeuvring aimed at effectively defeating the opponent with reasonable means. I propose two basic context-sensitive criteria for deciding on the reasonableness of reformulations: precision of the rules for interpretation (precise vs. loose) and general expectation of cooperativeness (critical vs. constructive). On the basis of analysis of examples taken from online political discussions, I argue that in some contexts, especially those that are critical and loose, what might easily be classified as a straw man following conventional treatment should be taken as a harsh, yet reasonable, strategic argumentative criticism
Keywords Argumentation  Fallacies  Online deliberation  Pragma-dialectics  Strategic manoeuvring  The straw man fallacy
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References found in this work BETA
Jonathan E. Adler (1996). Charity, Interpretation, Fallacy. Philosophy and Rhetoric 29 (4):329 - 343.
Jonathan E. Adler (1994). Fallacies and Alternative Interpretations. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (3):271 – 282.
Lloyd F. Bitzer (1992). The Rhetorical Situation. Philosophy and Rhetoric 25 (1):1 - 14.

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Louis P. Pojman (1998). Straw Man or Straw Theory? International Journal of Applied Philosophy 12 (2):169-180.
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