a nickel-plated emperor
February 15, 2006 3 Comments
What do you call it when someone defends position X by falsely claiming that your argument against X commits the strawman fallacy?
I’d like to propose this:
For example, see Vache Folle’s claims for postmodernism. Then see my comment on his blog:
VF, I think you’d quite like Robert Anton Wilson‘s books on science, psychology, faith, and agnosticism. Start with Quantum Psychology. Wilson very briefly called himself postmodern, but then changed his mind when he discovered the crazy nonsense that other postmoderns were claiming.
My problems with your argument are (1) what you claim are strawmen are actually flesh-and-blood people ardently arguing in the name of postmodernism for what you claim postmodernism isn’t; I went to school with them; I studied under them; I read them; I fled them; (2) when I tried, as a philosophy major in an advanced undergraduate class on postmodernism (though that term was in neither the course’s short main title nor its long subtitle), to salvage postmodernism in the name of a metacultural model agnosticism, the professor gave me a lower-than-usual grade and told me I was stuck in linear thinking and scientific models. I’m pretty sure she’d grade your blog post similarly.
If postmodernism means anything (and this is a by no means clear), then it means what you say it doesn’t mean. It certainly does not mean what you say it means.
PS That same professor once accused me of fighting straw dogs.
I guess she thought the “strawman” label was sexist. But then I have to assume that she doesn’t realize that “dog” is actually the masculine form of “bitch” — just ask a breeder.