Straw Men, Iron Men, and Argumentative Virtue
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- Aikin, S.F. & Casey, J.P. Topoi (2016) 35: 431. doi:10.1007/s11245-015-9308-5
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The straw man fallacy consists in inappropriately constructing or selecting weak (or comparatively weaker) versions of the opposition’s arguments. We will survey the three forms of straw men recognized in the literature, the straw, weak, and hollow man. We will then make the case that there are examples of inappropriately reconstructing stronger versions of the opposition’s arguments. Such cases we will call iron man fallacies. The difference between appropriate and inappropriate iron manning clarifies the limits of the virtue of open-mindedness.