Saturday, October 07, 2006

Logical Fallacies, Part 14: Straw Man

Setting up a straw man in an argument mischaracterizes an opposing viewpoint by falsely attributing to it an easily refutable position. Examples:

I’d rather not give the client the additional samples she requested. If we give her more, then we’ll have to give them to all our clients.

The CEO wants to move our office from New York to Philadelphia. I suppose he's thinking, "smaller city, smaller business opportunities."

The first example can also be seen as a hasty generalization (see September 9 entry) and the second as a false analogy (see September 23 entry).

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