Straw Man Logical Fallacy By: Olivia Houchens
What is a Straw Man fallacy? The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person’s actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. This sort of "reasoning" has the following pattern: Person A has position X. Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X). Person B attacks position Y. Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.
Universal Example https: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=Drn. Zd. FFov. BE In the video the man claims that “vanilla is the best flavor of ice cream” wich in return the kid argues that “chocolate ice cream is the best ice cream. ” The man reply's in disagreement that he “needs more than chocolate and vanilla ice cream. ” He states that “he believes he needs freedom and choice which is the definition of liberty. ” The kid reply’s with “you didn’t prove that vanilla was the best. ” Finally, the man concludes the argument by saying “I didn’t have to. I proved you wrong, I’m right. ” This argument follows the pattern on the previous page by the kid being “Person A” while the man is “Person B. ” The kids argument is “Position X” and the man takes “Position Y” making this an example of a Straw Man fallacy.
Fallacy demonstrated in The Crucible The fallacy committed in The Crucible is Straw Man. Danforth: Mr. Hale, believe me; for a man of such terrible learning you are most bewildered - I hope you will forgive me. I have been thirty-two year at the bar, sir, and I should be con-founded were I called upon to defend these people. Let you consider, now - To Proctor and the others: And I bid you all do likewise. In an ordinary crime, how does one defend the accused? One calls up witnesses to prove his innocence. But witchcraft is ipso facto, on its face and by its nature, an invisible crime, is it not? Therefore, who may possibly be witness to it? The witch and the victim. None other. Now we cannot hope the witch will accuse herself; granted? Therefore, we must rely upon her victims - and they do testify, the children certainly do testify. As for the witches, none will deny that we are most eager for all their confessions. Therefore, what is left for a lawyer to bring out? I think I have made my point. Have I not? (Act 3, pg. 214)
Fallacy Continued In this scene Hale is arguing with Danfourth that Proctor needs a lawyer to defend his case. Danfourth responds by saying that normally in a court-case one would call the witnesses to testify, but witch-craft is different. Only the witch and the victim can be witnesses. The witch will not tell on herself, so the answer lies within the victim; therefore, a lawyer is not needed to give an answer. The argument Danfourth gives is considered a Straw Man fallacy because he deflates Hale’s argument that a lawyer should be involved. He logically proves that only the victim of the witch-craft is needed to testify. He ignores Hale’s argument and replaces it with his own while leaving the question open to if he has proved his point. Hale, defeated: I surely do not, sir. Let you consider it, then. Danfourth is seen as the overall winner of the argument because Hale can no longer defend his position making the Straw Man fallacy most effective in this situation.
Sources "Thank You for Smoking. " You. Tube, n. d. Web. 05 Mar. 2015. "Fallacy: Straw Man. " Fallacy: Straw Man. The Nizkor Roject, n. d. Web. 05 Mar. 2015. Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. The Language of Literature. Eds. Evanston: Mc. Dougell Littell, 2006. 264 -241. Print.