The Strawman fallacy…..once again

It seems to me that the straw man fallacy is the most popular fallacy of all. I continue to encounter it on a daily basis.

For those who don’t know, the straw man fallacy is the fallacy of attacking a position or argument that your opponent doesn’t hold to.

The reason people erect straw men arguments is because they’re easier to deal with and knock down, as opposed to the actual argument your opponent holds to.

An example:

John: I think we might need to take into consideration X before we go through with the plan
Mary: So you’re saying everything needs to be perfect before we choose the plan? That’s dumb! Everyone but you knows we just need the best plan not a perfect plan!

As we can see John was never arguing for a perfect plan. He just said he thought they should make considerations.

Another example:

Jones: I don’t know if everything attributed to Hitler is actually true.
Mark: I can’t believe you think Hitler was a good person.

As you can see, Jones never said Hitler was a good person.

The best thing we can do is try and give our opponent the best interpretation and ask them to clarify their position. Bad Philosophy and stupid reasoning is carelessly/intentionally giving your opponent the worst interpretation of their position/argument. We need to try and make our opponent look good NOT look stupid or hateful.

Ultimately, the straw man doesn’t just make our opponent look bad. It make oneself look bad. It hurts your credibility when you’re a person who is known to attack straw man. At some point, people just won’t take your word for it anymore or listen to your arguments. They’ll have to seek out what the person is really saying.

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