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False dichotomy

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Also known as the fallacy of the excluded middle.

A False dichotomy fallacy is committed when an argument presents a supposedly valid disjunctive premise, (an "Either... Or" argument) wherein the items presented either are not jointly exhaustive (a third choice exists) or are not mutually exclusive.

Example: You're either with us or against us.

False dichotomy example.jpg

False dichotomy fallacies paint subjects in binary, black-or-white colors. The world is either one way or another. You love something or you hate it. There is no middle ground. The reality is, often the extreme premises in a false dichotomy are nothing like reality. They are usually the exception which proves the rule. For example, someone who may be critical of religion, "hates Jesus". Proponents of such fallacies will hold up an atypical example of someone who might espouse such ideals, and disregard the larger, moderate, middle-ground that more accurately represents most everybody else.

Obama false dichotomy.jpg

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