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« David Davis' global vision | Main | Bercow attacks David Cameron for "Eton, hunting, shooting and lunch at Whites" »


James Hellyer

The Straw Man is a type of Red Herring because the arguer is attempting to refute his opponent's position, and in the context is required to do so, but instead attacks a position—the "straw man"—not held by his opponent. In a Straw Man argument, the arguer argues to a conclusion that denies the "straw man" he has set up, but misses the target. There may be nothing wrong with the argument presented by the arguer when it is taken out of context, that is, it may be a perfectly good argument against the straw man. It is only because the burden of proof is on the arguer to argue against the opponent's position that a Straw Man fallacy is committed. So, the fallacy is not simply the argument, but the entire situation of the argument occurring in such a context.

"When your opponent sets up a straw man, set it on fire and kick the cinders around the stage. Don't worry about losing the Strawperson-American community vote." (James Lileks)

Daniel Vince-Archer

Straw man: James Hellyer's favourite put-down for anybody who dares disagree with him ;-)

James Hellyer

No Daniel, only for for arguments that rail against a misrepresentation rather than an actuality.

James Maskell

Thanks for the definitions...found a different and slightly easier to understand one on wikipedia of all places! (nothing against you)...basically the arguer doesnt actually debate the actual issue but deviates slightly and after refuting the deviated issue claims to have defeated the initial issue. Similarly you can attribute arguments in that way but generalising or deviating. Cheers everyone. You learn something new everyday!

Daniel Vince-Archer

"It was Bruce Anderson who said Rifkind would give the best conference speech (but that it would be too late to save his campiagn)."

Thanks for the info James H. When Bruce made that prediction, he probably expected more of a gap in level of support to have emerged between the non-Davis candidates. As it is, none of them has yet to emerge as the main challenger to Davis so there is still plenty left to play for.

Poor old Malcolm won't have had his confidence boosted by the poll in the Mail on Sunday though! First, someone on this site claims he looks like a rat, then the day after, the Mail on Sunday announces that only one in a hundred women finds him attractive!

James Hellyer

It's a good job Sir Malcolm already has a lovely lady wife...


I think the only figures that people should be looking at are the offical declare list (Tims' list) as we all know what disinformation has been thrown about(Willets 20 plus etc). One thing through is that Clarke got nearly half his vote last time from uncommitted, this he can't do this time if the new rules come in as he needs like everyone 20 offical backers to start. As for the result under the new rules only Fox I think can know defeat Davis and with that others will need the present rules kept for them to have any chance?


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