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 No.9341

File: 1621616898336.jpg (453.07 KB, 963x1542, 321:514, Screenshot_20210521-105112….jpg) ImgOps Exif Google

Recent events on the board have brought up an interesting topic, in exactly what it is to "strawman" someone.
Is it, as some definitions would seem to suggest, the misrepresentation of an argument in a false or misleading manner from the argument made,  or is it, as seemed to be suggested at least by one staff member, responding to what someone has argued as written, without malicious intent or dishonesty, and not what they meant to say.

For myself, I would consider the first more accurate.  Intent is difficult to assess, and direct statements, if not always reliable, are at least grounded in some consistent and objective rationality that gives a bit more reasonablity to a presumption of positions.  
Ultimately, we have to assume positions somewhere, and going specifically by what is said seems the better alternative to assuming what someone's meaning separate from the words used.
Not to say of course that people cannot change what they said if it's a mistake, as of course.  But if that mistake is made, it's on the person who made it, not the person reading it, and shouldn't as I see it be met with accusations of strawmanning or other such claims of dishonesty.  It should just be acknowledged and clarified as a simple mistake that caused misunderstanding.

I am curious on you all's thoughts, in any case. I'll provide a few links to some definitions below,  for you all.   In the mean time,  here's some questions and scenarios I'd love to hear your view on;

Is strawmanning malicious, dishonest, or otherwise immoral of an act like?
If so, why? If not,  why not?

Is strawmanning an intentional act, or is it something that can be done without meaning to?

If someone says "sharks eat people", but their intention was "people think sharks eat people", is it a strawman to argue whether or not sharks eat people?
Does this change if you know what they meant, or didn't know?

If someone gives a cluster of examples to something,  is it a strawman to argue against one of those examples not being accurate instead of the overall point a strawman?
Does the number or percentages of the examples that are wrong influence this?

If someone exaggerates, say by claiming a number higher or lower than it actually is,  would pointing that out and arguing it instead of the conclusion be a strawman?

Please do provide your reasoning for these. More discussion is the best kind of discussion!

Here's Wikipedias article on it, which is going to be the most comprehensive.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

Here's Merriam Webster.
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/straw%20man

Here's Wordink, which is probably the definition site I use most, albeit because it's usually the default for results on the search engine I use
https://www.wordnik.com/words/straw%20man

And here's the source for my OP image here.
https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman

 No.9342

A few adjacent concepts: steelmanning and interpretative charity.
https://reason.com/volokh/2021/05/12/steelmanning-and-interpretive-charity/

I'll respond more fully to OP's post later when I have more time.

 No.9343

>>9342
Steelmanning is an interesting thing.  The Wikipedia article goes into a little detail on it.
I would say steelmanning is probably something that should be done separate to the arguments raised, myself.  Mostly because otherwise, you're likely to run into issues of assuming someone's position.  But it's definitely a good tool to use in addition, for sure. Albeit, obviously, something used when you're arguing against someone, not for them.
Not immoral or moral necessarily, just I'd say good mental practice.

Haven't heard about the charity thing myself.  Possibly because it's not got a specific term like the other two. If it's akin to benefit of the doubt, that is a good thing to have for sure.
You have to presume an opponent is not dishonest or evil inherently, else you'll never have a productive argument

 No.9345

Strawmanning is a logical fallacy, like leading or begging the question, false dichotomy, and the use of various so-called "weasel words". In general it consists of misrepresenting somebody's argument and then attacking the argument you made up rather than the person's own argument. There's an annoying tendency to associated it with presenting a weaker argument but that involves a qualitative judgement that I feel isn't appropriate to the discussion of whether or not a logical fallacy has been employed. I'm sure you could use it to mean other things but it wouldn't mean anything to anybody if you did.

>Is strawmanning malicious, dishonest, or otherwise immoral of an act like?
It is dishonest. I don't think I need to explain why misinterpreting somebody's argument is dishonest.

>If someone says "sharks eat people", but their intention was "people think sharks eat people", is it a strawman to argue whether or not sharks eat people?
No. That's a different fallacy.

>If someone gives a cluster of examples to something,  is it a strawman to argue against one of those examples not being accurate instead of the overall point a strawman?
>Does the number or percentages of the examples that are wrong influence this?
No. Those are both different fallacies.

>If someone exaggerates, say by claiming a number higher or lower than it actually is,  would pointing that out and arguing it instead of the conclusion be a strawman?
No. That is a different fallacy.



By "recent events" I'm lead to believe you're implying something here and I'm supposed to understand the point simply by the implication. I wasn't present for the cultural context so please do me a kindness and come out and say what you mean to say.

 No.9346

>>9345
>It is dishonest. I don't think I need to explain why misinterpreting somebody's argument is dishonest.
What if you misunderstand the argument and accidentally (unintentionally) misrepresent it?

>>9345
>By "recent events" I'm lead to believe you're implying something here and I'm supposed to understand the point simply by the implication. I wasn't present for the cultural context so please do me a kindness and come out and say what you mean to say.
Probably a reference to https://ponyville.us/townhall/res/5731.html#9340

 No.9348

File: 1621710093633.png (77.85 KB, 370x320, 37:32, 1596242702846.png) ImgOps Google

>>9341
>Is strawmanning malicious, dishonest, or otherwise immoral of an act like?
Only if done deliberately.  I'd say it's quite possible to accidentally construct a strawman based on misunderstanding and differing experience and worldview.

>Is strawmanning an intentional act
Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't.

>is it something that can be done without meaning to?
Yes.

>If someone says "sharks eat people", but their intention was "people think sharks eat people", is it a strawman to argue whether or not sharks eat people?
No.

>Does this change if you know what they meant, or didn't know?
Depends on what your purpose is.  If you're trying to argue against what they meant to say, then it would be a strawman.  If you're making some other point, then it isn't.
Also, if you believe that someone misspoke, you probably ask them to clarify what they actually meant.

>If someone gives a cluster of examples to something,  is it a strawman to argue against one of those examples not being accurate instead of the overall point a strawman?
Like in the above case, it depends on what point you're trying to make.  If you're just making a limited claim that one of the examples isn't accurate, then your argument isn't a strawman.  If you're claiming that the person's whole argument fails just because one of their examples is inaccurate, then you're probably committing some sort of a logical fallacy.

>If someone exaggerates, say by claiming a number higher or lower than it actually is,  would pointing that out and arguing it instead of the conclusion be a strawman?
Again, I'd say that it depends on what point you're trying to make.  If you're just saying that they got their numbers wrong, without attacking the wider argument, then it's not a logical fallacy.  If you're saying that the exaggeration invalidates everything else they said, then it's a logical fallacy of some sort.

 No.9349

>>9345
>It is dishonest. I don't think I need to explain why misinterpreting somebody's argument is dishonest.
People can misinterpret things accidentally, or otherwise without malice. For example, the 'benefit of the doubt' might be employed resulting in a different take on someone's argument, lest they assume the worst of them. Say, that they deny factual data, or believe something inconsistent, or immoral.
Would this also be 'dishonest'?

>No. That's a different fallacy. [x3]
Would you mind clarifying which ones, then?

>I wasn't present for the cultural context so please do me a kindness and come out and say what you mean to say.
A prior thread, in which it seems by Rarity's standards 'strawmanning' includes responding to what someone has, factually, stated, or otherwise without the intention to misrepresent, and instead represent as is explicitly written.

 No.9352

I think miscommunication is going to happen, especially without body language and intonation to help things along.  If someone intends to say something and someone else misinterprets it, is it a strawman?  I think in so far as it isn't useful to the discussion, yes it is.  This doesn't mean it was done with malice, and hopefully this can be calmly and peacefully cleared up with just a follow up post.  If the strawman post goes out and the original poster comes back to say "That isn't what I meant, though." work with them to try to clarify what they meant before continuing the argument.  There's no rush on these things, we all need to come together and work as hard as we can to communicate.  This is a discussion board, not a high school debate contest, there's no competition and no winners or losers.

As for the examples given:

>If someone says "sharks eat people", but their intention was "people think sharks eat people", is it a strawman to argue whether or not sharks eat people? Does this change if you know what they meant, or didn't know?

Would technically be a strawman, it's way off from the original point.  It could be unintentional, but that doesn't make it any more useful to the discussion.  The strawman still needs to be thrown out for the discussion to continue peaceably.

>If someone gives a cluster of examples to something,  is it a strawman to argue against one of those examples not being accurate instead of the overall point a strawman?  Does the number or percentages of the examples that are wrong influence this?

Probably not technically a strawman, but still not conduscive to the argument.  Worth mentioning, but if all the other examples are valid then their argument still stands.  In reference to your other question, even one valid example probably still stands as an argument, unless the argument was to show how common these examples were.  It can get tricky.

>If someone exaggerates, say by claiming a number higher or lower than it actually is,  would pointing that out and arguing it instead of the conclusion be a strawman?

Similar to the last question, it's not straightforward.  If their argument was "this happens a lot/too much" and they exaggerated the number, then it's possible the exact number isn't as important as the fact that the number is "too high".  Good to bring it up, but determining what the correct number is could be a discussion all on its own, and if the unexaggerated guess is brought up perhaps the original poster would accept that as also still too high.  It's only if the "correct" number is now within an acceptable range that it would make sense to argue what the exact number is.

 No.9353

>>9341
>Is strawmanning malicious, dishonest, or otherwise immoral of an act like?
If so, why? If not,  why not?

I think it's dishonest.  Whether it's immoral depends.  Sometimes people strawman political positions to express themselves.  You would not have trouble finding strawman agruments against, say, The Green New Deal, but that's not really arguing, but expressing distaste.  But sometimes it does hurt people.

>Is strawmanning an intentional act, or is it something that can be done without meaning to?

I think either way.

>if you know what they meant, or didn't know?

I'm mixed about this.  I often guess what people mean because I don't always find what they write to be clear (or maybe I spaced out when reading it).  Probably in the right mood, I will stick to exactly what they write.

>percentages of the examples that are wrong influence (...)

I don't think you can really make rules about strawmanning with precision.  And if you're talking to someone who is present, such as on a message board, it seems less of a concern because the other people can just clarify.

 No.9355

I find this thread somewhat disengenuous considering how often the term "ad homenum" is thrown around wjen others (like myself) are being rude, which isn't the same thing as an ad homenum fallacy but is used more informally to designate one person attacking the character of another.

In one sense strawmanning means simply misrepresenting someone else in making an argument against them, in the other sense, it's deliberately misrepresenting someone's argument.

Context can make the distinction between the slighlty less rigid, more informal meaning of the term and the more rigidly formal definition of the fallacious rhetorical tactic. Either way, it's uncivil on this board, either to deliberately misrepresent another's argument or to misrepresent their motivations or thought process in an attempt to counter them.

 No.9356

>>9355
Probably we all need to attempt to be as obtuse as possible in sticking to the exact wording of posters to avoid the various possible violations.


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