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The Strategies of Misattribution of Commitments

  • Fabrizio Macagno
  • Douglas Walton
Chapter
Part of the Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology book series (PEPRPHPS, volume 14)

Abstract

This chapter investigates the structure and the strategies of the straw man fallacy. A straw man fallacy consists in the speaker’s attacking a distorted version of the other’s viewpoint or commitments, in order to rebut his argument more easily by attacking a position that has been simplified and weakened. This strategy, however, can lead to the risk of being accused of breaching the rules of the discussion by distorting the other’s ideas. This risk can be avoided by relying on other tactics (such as an appeal to emotions), by distorting specific types of content, and by communicating the distortion in specific ways. The goals of this chapter are to distinguish between these distinctive types of manipulation of the hearer’s commitments, and to point out the differences between implicit and explicit distortions of contents explicitly or implicitly conveyed. The various strategies are described and their dialectical effects brought to light.

Keywords

Straw man Argumentation Fallacies Pragmatics Implicatures Presuppositions Interpretation Emotions 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabrizio Macagno
    • 1
  • Douglas Walton
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e HumanasUniversidade Nova de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada

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