In February in the year of our Lord 2016, I wrote a post titled Reductio ad Absurdum Isn’t Straw. The first paragraph does a fairly good job of describing what the post is about, since for once I didn’t wander around too much:
Reductio ab Absurdum is a criticism of a position which shows that it is false by demonstrating that absurd conclusions follow from it. A Straw Man is a fake position that sounds like someone’s real position which is constructed by an opponent because it’s easier to disprove than the person’s real position. (It is often the case that the straw man is accidentally constructed because the attacker has never understood his opponents real position.) These two are often confused for each other, which is a bit odd, and I think that a big part of the explanation for why is Kantian epistemology. (I wrote about Kant’s substitute for knowledge here, and this blog post won’t make much sense unless you read that first.)
I think it’s a useful explanation on its own, but it also serves as an example of how Kantian epistemology has practical effects. As they say, read the whole thing.