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lecture5 - Straw Man Fallacy. Layman 4.1.2 This fallacy...

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Straw Man Fallacy. Layman 4.1.2 This fallacy occurs when an arguer A argues that another person B is wrong about something. But A doesn’t present B’s actual view (or argument) but a distortion of it. A argues that this distorted view (argument) is wrong, perhaps convincingly, and then acts as if B’s view (argument) has been refuted. But it hasn’t. The fallacy is obvious if we think about the structure of such an argument: 1) A misrepresentation of B’s view is false So, 2) B’s view is false
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Examples Liberals seem to think that big government can solve all of our social problems. If people can’t find jobs, let government create them. If they can’t afford to pay for their own education, why, then government will pay for it. The poverty of this sort of liberal thinking is shown by the fact that after more than forty years of massive government spending, the problems we as a society face are greater today than ever before.
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The problem here is that while the arguer successfully argues against the view that government can eliminate all our social problems , this is not a view liberals have. No one thinks government can do that. But the arguer presents this as the view of ‘liberals’. Often when this fallacy is committed an arguer will associate his opponents with a certain group that he believes his audience doesn’t think highly of.
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defending free enterprise when they declaim that business is not concerned “merely” with profit but also with promoting desirable “social” ends; that business has a “social conscience” and takes seriously its responsibilities for providing employment, eliminating discrimination [and] avoiding pollution…In fact they are – or would be if they or anyone else took them seriously – preaching pure and unadulterated socialism. Businessmen who talk this way are unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades. Milton Friedman, “The Social Responsibility of
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lecture5 - Straw Man Fallacy. Layman 4.1.2 This fallacy...

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