False Dilemma Fallacy

Sometimes called the “either-or” fallacy, a false dilemma is a logical fallacy that presents only two options or sides when there are many options or sides. Essentially, a false dilemma presents a “black and white” kind of thinking when there are actually many shades of gray.

Person 1:

You’re either for the war or against the troops.

Person 2:

Actually, I do not want our troops sent into a dangerous war.

The comic below gives you a little insight into what this fallacy might look like. Observe as Captain Logic saves the day from faulty logic and the evil Dr. Fallacy!

False Dilemma logical fallacy comic with the evil Dr. Fallacy

Image Transcript
Meanwhile, at the presidential candidate debate…

Candidate: I stand against going to war!

Dr. Fallacy: Since you are against war, you must be against our troops.

Audience member 1: Against our troops?

Audience member 2: Is she really?

False Dilemma logical fallacy comic with the OWL Superhero

Image Transcript
Dr. Fallacy: You are not supporting our troops!

Candidate: Actually, I do not want our troops sent to a dangerous war.

[Captain Logic Owl swooshes in.]

Captain Logic Owl: Dr. Fallacy, you can’t set this up as an “either/or” choice when there are other options. That’s a false dilemma fallacy.

Dr. Fallacy: Drat! Foiled again by logic! But this will not be my final fallacy!

Audience member 1: Woot! Woot!

Audience member 2: Look, up there!

Audience member 3: Captain Logic Owl, you’re our hero!

In this comic, you’ll notice that Dr. Fallacy is presenting only two options, but the first person clearly has a middle position. You have to be really careful of this kind of fallacy, as it can really turn your audience away from your position. The world is complex, and the way people think is complex. If you dismiss that, you could lose the respect and interest of your audience.

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