May 11, 2011

IN PRAISE OF STRAWMEN: At the Duck of Minerva, an observation that strawmen arguments have legitimate uses.  After all, what can get dismissed as a strawman argument might well be an idealized or abstracted form of a whole series of particular arguments with a common structure.  Or we might use an abstracted form of the argument to sharpen the debate, even though it leaves out many subtle qualifiers in a first approach to the argument.  I rather agree.

Update: Some further qualifications from Stacy McCain, with which I also agree.  There is a question of good rhetorical judgment here.  There are strawman arguments that are just that.  I just mean to say, let’s not burn the [?] along with the Wickerman … I’m not sure what exactly to stick in the brackets, but you get the idea.

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