Stay up to date on everything mediation!

Subscribe to our free newsletter,
"This Week in Mediation"

Sign Up Now

Already subscribed No subscription today
<xTITLE>Fallacious Argument Of The Month</xTITLE>

Fallacious Argument Of The Month

by Diane J. Levin
July 2009

From Mediation Channel

Diane J. Levin

fallacy of the monthThere’s nothing like a good argument, as any fan of Monty Python knows.

Having a good argument, however, demands diligence, attention to detail, self-awareness, and practice; it’s all too easy to have a bad one. The bad kind, alas, abounds in political discussion, particularly during an election season, makes frequent appearances in conference rooms and at family dining room tables, and of course proliferates like rabbits on the internet. With the aim of bettering public discourse and combating the viral spread of fallacy everywhere, I propose to launch a regular feature: the Fallacious Argument of the Month.

On the first Monday of each month I will spotlight a different fallacious argument. This month please welcome July’s fallacy, the straw man argument.

For the lazy thinker, nothing could be more fun or easier than the straw man argument. Simply set up your straw man by distorting or exaggerating your opponent’s position, and then set it ablaze or knock it down. This lets you disregard what your opponent actually said and unburdens you from inconvenient facts. (The down side of course is that no one gets to debate and discuss the issue on the merits, although that of course is the point.) Examples of straw man arguments include these two, taken, for the sake of fairness, from each side of the American political aisle:

If you have a favorite fallacious argument that you’d like to see featured here at Mediation Channel, please let me know. And don’t forget to tune in on August 3 for next month’s Fallacious Argument.

Biography


Diane Levin, J.D., is a mediator, dispute resolution trainer, negotiation coach, writer, and lawyer based in Marblehead, Massachusetts, who has instructed people from around the world in the art of talking it out. Since 1995 she has helped clients resolve disputes involving tort, employment, business, estate, family, and real property issues, and serves on numerous mediation panels, including the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Training and coaching are an enduring passion -- she has taught thousands of people to resolve conflict, negotiate better, or become mediators -- from Croatian judges to Fortune 500 executives.

 

A geek at heart, Levin consults on web design and social media to professionals.  She blogs about ADR at the intersection of law, science, and popular culture at the award-winning MediationChannel.com, regarded as one of the world's top ADR blogs.  She also tracks and catalogues ADR blogs world-wide at ADRblogs.com, where she has created a community for bloggers writing about constructive ways to resolve disputes.

 

web site: http://dianelevin.com



Email Author
Author Website

Additional articles by Diane J. Levin