Argumentative foul: The Straw Man

I decided to make some post about argumentation, this is partial because of what happened today (which was quite interesting though I will write about it a bit later) and also because argumentation is so important to me. Probably the first argumentative foul that has ever been known to me was the “straw man”.

I heard about straw man for the first time when my brother showed me some meme and there were those two words.

So I asked: “What does straw man means?”

“Imagine debating with me about God, I would be an atheist and you the one who believed in God. We would make some arguments and then I would say: Imagine old man sitting on a cloud with shiny thing around his head looking down and letting people do wars.”

This is nice example of straw man, in this situation I believe in God and the other person does not even need to know what I exactly mean by God but he says this. Creating an argument which I do not even need to believe in, making it ironic or so. This is the building of straw man, now he burns this straw man down by saying: “Could you really imagine it? This is so stupid, old man on cloud -_-.”

This is of course argumentative foul because I never said something about old man sitting on cloud, plus the person is acting ignorant. Of course you can not always see it so easily but once you know that it exists you can detect when this straw man is being build so dont let yourself be thrown down by such a thing.


2nd foul: Emphasis on unknown authority



4 thoughts on “Argumentative foul: The Straw Man

  1. Straw man arguments are easy (and remarkably common) things for people to use. It can sometimes be tough to spot, but understanding exactly what someone is saying and figuring out if their interpretation is different than your position is the best way to overcome this fallacy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely agree, once you spot one or two you become really focused and next time it does not escape you. Personally I learned to check automatically if I really agree with the thing that the person repeats.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. hoponacomet says:

    Good post. If you haven’t read Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World” you should. He has an entire chapter devoted to logical fallacies and tools for skeptical thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

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