Friday, August 25, 2006

A straw-man argument

straw man : This article is about the logical fallacy. For other uses of the term, see Straw man (disambiguation).

A straw man argument is a rhetorical technique based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "set up a straw man" or "set up a straw-man argument" is to create a position that is easy to refute, then attribute that position to the opponent. A straw-man argument can be a successful rhetorical technique (that is, it may succeed in persuading people) but it is in fact misleading, since the argument actually presented by the opponent has not been refuted.

Its name is derived from the use of straw men in combat training (see [1]). It is occasionally called a straw dog fallacy [2] or a scarecrow argument.

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