Diagnosing misattribution of commitments: A normative and pragmatic model of for assessing straw man

Douglas Walton, Fabrizio Macagno

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper builds a nine-step method for determining whether a straw man fallacy has been committed in a given case or not, by starting with some relatively easy textbook cases and moving to more realistic and harder cases. The paper shows how the type of argument associated with the fallacy can be proved to be a fallacy in a normative argumentation model, and then moves on to the practical task of building a hands-on method for applying the model to real examples of argumentation. Insights from linguistic pragmatics are used to distinguish the different pragmatic processes involved in reconstructing what is said and what is meant by an utterance, and to differentiate strong and weak commitments. In particular, the process of interpretation is analyzed in terms of an abductive pattern of reasoning, based on co-textual and contextual information, and assessable through the instruments of argumentation theory.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFurther Advances in Pragmatics and Philosophy:
Subtitle of host publicationTheories and Applications
EditorsAlessandro Capone, Marco Carapezza, Franco Lo Piparo
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-00973-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-00972-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Publication series

NamePerspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy and Psychology
ISSN (Print)2214-3807
ISSN (Electronic)2214-3815


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