Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Strawception: Biden

Philosophy News image
Official portrait of Vice President Joe Biden in his West Wing Office at the White House, Jan. 10, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann).. The straw person fallacy is a stock tactic in politics, so it is no surprise that Trump and his fellows have constructed a straw Biden. Interestingly, one of their straw Bidens is presented as holding straw versions of socialism—perhaps risking a strawception incident. One version of the Straw Person fallacy is committed when one ignores a person’s actual claim or argument and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated, or misrepresented version of it. This sort of “reasoning” has the following pattern:       Premise 1: Person A makes claim or argument X. Premise 2: Person B presents Y (which is a distorted version of X). Premise 3: Person B attacks Y. Conclusion:  Therefore, X is false/incorrect/flawed.   This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because attacking a distorted version of a claim or argument does not constitute a criticism of the position itself. This fallacy often makes use of hyperbole, a rhetorical device in which one makes an exaggerated claim. A Straw Person can be highly effective because people often do not know the real claim or argument being attacked. The fallacy is especially effective when the straw person matches the audience’s biases or stereotypes—they will feel that the distorted version is the real version and accept it. Another version of the straw person creates a straw person of the actual person by exaggerating or distorting their qualities, beliefs, or actions. Strictly speaking, this would involve hyperbole—but complete fabrications could be taken as being a form of straw person.  This version has the following form:   Premise 1: Person A has or is P, Q, R. Premise 2: Person B presents X, Y. Z (distorted versions of P, Q, R or even complete fabrications). Premise 3: Person B attacks A one the basis of X, Y, Z. Conclusion:  Therefore, person A is. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: A Philosopher's Blog

blog comments powered by Disqus