© 2017

Interpreting Straw Man Argumentation

The Pragmatics of Quotation and Reporting

  • Provides a unique analysis of the uses and the dangerous effects of quotations in political discourse and legal cases

  • Offers a method and a procedure for evaluating quotes and misquotes

  • Analyzes quotation from a dialectic and a rhetoric perspective

  • Investigates the tacit dimension of communication in terms of argument


Part of the Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology book series (PEPRPHPS, volume 14)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Fabrizio Macagno, Douglas Walton
    Pages 1-33
  3. Fabrizio Macagno, Douglas Walton
    Pages 35-64
  4. Fabrizio Macagno, Douglas Walton
    Pages 65-108
  5. Fabrizio Macagno, Douglas Walton
    Pages 109-141
  6. Fabrizio Macagno, Douglas Walton
    Pages 143-186
  7. Fabrizio Macagno, Douglas Walton
    Pages E1-E1
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 187-203

About this book


This book shows how research in linguistic pragmatics, philosophy of language, and rhetoric can be connected through argumentation to analyze a recognizably common strategy used in political and everyday conversation, namely the distortion of another’s words in an argumentative exchange. Straw man argumentation refers to the modification of a position by misquoting, misreporting or wrenching the original speaker’s statements from their context in order to attack them more easily or more effectively. Through 63 examples taken from different contexts (including political and forensic discourses and dialogs) and 20 legal cases, the book analyzes the explicit and implicit types of straw man, shows how to assess the correctness of a quote or a report, and illustrates the arguments that can be used for supporting an interpretation and defending against a distortion. The tools of argumentation theory, a discipline aimed at investigating the uses of arguments by combining insights from pragmatics, logic, and communication, are applied to provide an original account of interpretation and reporting, and to describe and illustrate tactics and procedures that can be used and implemented for practical purposes.. This book will appeal to scholars in the fields of political communication, communication in general, argumentation theory, rhetoric and pragmatics, as well as to people working in public speech, speech writing, and discourse analysis.


Types of ad hominem Uses of ambiguity Interpretation and presumptive reasoning The burden of misquoting The normative framework for straw man Rhetorical effects of ad hominem

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e HumanasUniversidade Nova de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Interpreting Straw Man Argumentation
  • Book Subtitle The Pragmatics of Quotation and Reporting
  • Authors Fabrizio Macagno
    Douglas Walton
  • Series Title Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology
  • Series Abbreviated Title Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-62544-7
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-87337-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-62545-4
  • Series ISSN 2214-3807
  • Series E-ISSN 2214-3815
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVIII, 203
  • Number of Illustrations 21 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Pragmatics
    Political Sociology
    Political Communication
  • Buy this book on publisher's site