Straw Man Law & Legal Definition


Straw man is a term used for a technique used in arguing an issue when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. This strategy occurs as follows:

1. Person A has position X.

2. Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X).

3. Person B attacks position Y.

4. Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.

The distortion used may involve, for instance, misrepresentation of the opponent's position, quoting an opponent's words out of context, or oversimplifying an opponent's argument, then attacking the distorted version.