A blogger writes of the artisanal movement that it is born out of a preference for things that are hand made. He points out (presumably as a criticism of this) that in the 16th century a gentleman would distance himself from manual industry. He later avers that "...it is as if we now believe artisans are 'free range', happier in their work, and more likely to deliver quality," and that he is mystified as to what this "dangerous assumption" means.

Nevermind the slipperiness of calling it the artisanal "movement", but what is it called when you use an out-dated (from the 16th century!) example to refute a position?

And is his final comment a straw man argument, positing something superficial, general and easy to mock that his opponents (cleverly disguised as "we") supposedly believe? Or just an example of a 'dangerous assumption' on his own part?

Apologies in advance if this is covered elsewhere.

  • Great question! – jlovegren Jun 26 '13 at 2:48
  • What kind of logical fallacy is what? I sympathize with about half of what you write and about half of what your source writes, and it seems to me your dialogue adds up to duelling rhetorical postures. I don't see why ELU should be called on to arbitrate this peeve-counterpeeve. As far as I can tell, all the new and old reasons for closing except 'duplicate' apply. I'll go with POB. – StoneyB Jun 26 '13 at 2:49
  • Yes, artisanal is big! Dominos, McDonalds, and Kraft are buying in. Kraft has developed “a process to make the thick, uneven slabs of turkey in its Carving Board line” so they look artisanal instead of machine-processed. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Jun 26 '13 at 3:03
  • 3
    This question about logical fallacies probably belongs on Philosophy. It is not a question about English per se. – MetaEd Jun 26 '13 at 3:29
  • Maybe it's not a logical fallacy, but just a kind of dishonesty in which someone invents his opponent's position in order to attack it. X exists (Fact); N believes Q about X (Supposition); It is silly to believe Q (Conclusion) Also, the artisan example above is just that, an example. I seem to run across this type of thing frequently, especially in blogs, and wondered what to call it. – Mark K Jun 27 '13 at 6:46

It would be argumentum ad antiquam if the author intended that the opinions of people of the 16th century should weigh more than those of contemporaries. If instead the author is instead drawing attention to the fact that a preference for artisan goods might be current fad (by citing a contrary opinion from the past), I see no fallacy.

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