a nickel-plated emperor

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:

The Tinman Fallacy

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.

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.


3 Responses to a nickel-plated emperor

  1. Vache Folle says:

    I am honored to be recognized for pioneering a whole new fallacy.

  2. If postmodernists come in both sane and loony varieties, and one person talks about the sane ones and another person talks about the loony ones, who’s committing a fallacy? Both? Neither?

  3. P.S. – By the way, “straw dogs” is probably a reference to an ancient Chinese practice of burning sacrificial straw dogs instead of real ones. Lao-zi advises the sage to treat all wordly things as straw dogs, whatever excatly that means.

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