If the next is a fallacy, which I believe it is, would it be some kind of straw man?

A: I cannot give an opinion on this specific matter because I have no clue about the possible ramifications of the problem.

B replies (possible fallacy): People should be allowed to have an opinion, ..., I think I have the right to have an opinion and I am sorry that I think that giving an opinion enriches a conversation...

B replies from his point of view, as a personal target. However, A talked about himself.

I see two things here. On one hand, B makes absolute beautiful statements that seem sugar for others ears but does not reply to the specific case of A. On the other hand B positions himself as a victim and a target of the argument instead of his ideas.

What do you think?

  • Aside from the manipulative apology, I do not think B's position is fallacious. It cannot be true that one cannot give an opinion, only that one is unwilling to. An opinion is, almost by definition, something that does not require a basis. It is like saying that one cannot not see what one is looking at because one has not looked at it long enough. It may be difficult to say anything in which one can actually have confidence or make investment, but that is a different question. At the same time, why would one want an opinion in which the opiner would have no interest.
    – user9166
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 22:43
  • Well, there is a mismatch between A's attitude of not willing and B's interpretation in terms of permission. Perhaps the example is not the right one, what I intended is a situation where B replies socially accepted truths that do not by themselves form a counterargument. On the other hand, of course you can have an opinion, but often lack of information of missinformation leads to biased opinions. It could happen that you have an opinion about something that you would entirely change if you knew other facts. Thus, you could argue that until you know more facts you will wait to have one. Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 22:56
  • There is what I would call a 'modal impedence mismatch'. A is using the word 'cannot', but that is wrong. He means 'should not' or 'would not'. So B's argument is logically correct.
    – user9166
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 22:58
  • B wants the impedance of the conversation to be very low, for things to be very permissive, so he wants a quite literal interpretation of 'cannot'. A has standards for himself: that he should not be non-productive, or that he should not expose himself to judgement too easily, so we wants to keep the impedance higher, and he is elevating some version of 'may' or 'will' to 'can' artificially. The problem is that this is not going to be a logical fallacy, it is going to be a rhetorical negotiation tactic. The logic is correct.
    – user9166
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 23:04
  • Yes, perhaps the semantics played a tricky role here. The verb "can" was intended to be more of a action of willing Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 23:08

1 Answer 1


The fallacy that is made by person B is the fallacy that is known as ignoratio elenchi, which is Latin for "ignoring criticism", but is a fallacy wherein, for any pair of interlocutors interlocked in an argumentational dialectic, interlocutor A states X and interlocutor B responds to X with a statement that is immediately irrelevant to X such that B "misses the point".

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