Talk:False dilemma

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Any way you could find some examples that are a little less politically charged? This article sounds more like a rant against the current administration than an unbiased article on the False Dilemma.
I agree, and more importantly, the last example about global warming isn't even a False Dilemma fallacy by the blogger himself, as the wikipiedia contributor claims... It's actually that the blogger is accusing environmentalists of holding to a Black-and-White fallacious view of the Earth's climate (and given the facts about ice cores below, the blogger's accusation is true when we consider the temperature history of the Earth):
some environmentalists -- from Gore to Lowell Ponte in the 1970's claiming that the cooling back then was going to be another ice age (slippery slope fallacy: a small temperature drop won't necessarily become a large one), to the politicized UN IPCC today ( -- see the Earth as warming or cooling and they have stated that the *recent* warming and/or cooling -- i.e. since the mid-20th-century -- are/were catastrophic and extreme temperature changes (so they are "discounting the middle," one name for this type of fallacy, because they discount the possibility that we are in the "grey" area in the Black-and-White fallacy so to speak, despite that according to all ice cores I've seen, we ARE in the non-extreme, "grey" area, not at a black-and-white extreme (I'm an environmental engineer, so I've seen LOTS of ice cores):
This includes ice cores which some environmentalists themselves agree are "good" ice cores (i.e. good data, not flawed bythe collection technique), e.g. the graph for the ice core at the environmentalist website:
This ice core covers the past 4 interglacial periods, and exhibits that the recent temperatures -- since the mid-20th-century -- are NOT extreme because: (a) today's temperatures are well within what the Earth has done since before mankind even existed, e.g. the cores show that Earth has been hotter during two of the last four interglacial temperature-peaks, peaks during which mankind didn't even exist, so the Earth obviously got hotter than it is presently even without anthropogenic warming, and did so on a regular basis. (b) The ice cores ALSO show that these interglacial temperature peaks came at 100,000 year intervals 5 times in a row, and not coincidentally, today is within 5k years (5%) of the normal, "scheduled" record-high temperatures which the Earth has seen each 100k years. (c) The ice cores further show temperature swings more than 10 times larger than the temperatures since the mid-20th-century, so these recent temperature-swings -- which caused a panic about an "ice age" coming during the 1970's and a "meltdown" since Y2K or so -- are NOT (historically) "extreme," they are TINY. The facts exhibited by the ice cores, to recap, are that:
'today's temperature changes are not one extreme ("black" of the Black-and-White fallacy) nor the other ("white" of the Black-and-White fallacy), because (a) the modern-day cooling and warming are small changes relative to the Earth's temperature history, (b) today's temperatures are NORMAL and to be expected as a part of the Earth's 100k year cycle of interglacials which is natural, not anthropogenic nor otherwise likely to be a "new" factor to change the Earth's overall temperature patterns) and these ice ages (and interglacials, literally "between ice ages," i.e. temperature-peaks) come at 100k year periods, whereas the "scientific consensus" in the 1970's (argumentum ad populum) was that an ice age would come only 55k years into this cycle despite that even the temperature-data today shows it's a 100k-year cycle not a 55k-year cycle :-) and (c) today's temperature is not extreme nor "never before seen" and it is well within the historic norms for natural (non-anthropogenic) temperature swings because fully HALF of the last 4 interglacials had even higher (more "extreme") temperatures than today -- and those higher temperatures came before mankind even existed.'
All of these facts exhibited by ice cores add up to say that 'temperature swings since the 20th-century are within the Earth's normal range and thus not "extreme" -- not black nor white, but grey: somewhere in between the extremes of black and white' -- and these ice cores are ignored by some people, even including some of my fellow scientists, and I believe the reason why many scientists ignore these SIMPLE and OBVIOUS facts which the ice cores show, is that they now -- just as the "consensus" who said that an ice age was coming in the 1970's was slow to admit they were wrong ('after equally alarmist (argumentum ad consequentium) like: "It is a cold fact: the Global COOLING (emphasis added) presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with FOR TEN THOUSAND YEARS (emph added). Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is of ultimate importance; the survival of ourselves, our children, our species"), and when no ice age or dangerous cooling came, their "consensus" prediction which contradicted and ignored the SIMPLE historical pattern of the ice cores (the 100k-year pattern which showed Y2K SHOULD get hot, not cold as they predicted in the 1970's despite that they were only 55k years into this 100k-year cycle :-) ), and they ignored that the recent temperature-swings were TINY -- and now global-warming advocates, similar to the global cooling crowd back then, cannot bring themselves to admit that there are many flaws in:
- their past work (e.g. computer models which governments were supposed to take action on, despite that the models now are shown to be off by 10 to 100 times the amount of temperature-change that the model predicted)
- and in their alarmist predictions, which they staked their professional reputations on -- or as PRof. Richard Lindzen of MIT put it: '"consensus...reached before the research had even begun" to which Timothy Ball concurs: "The normal scientific method is effectively being thwarted [by scientists themselves]".' Frankly, I don't even consider them scientists, they are ideologues who jumped to a conclusion -- just as in the 1970's Global Cooling scare -- before significant data was in. I think they will be as stubborn and take as long as it took GWB and his own "experts" to admit they goofed on Iraq intel about WMD; because certainly if these scientists are not merely just being stubborn, they'd OPENLY DISCUSS the above facts about the ice cores in the mass media; I read 3 newspapers each day, and never saw these facts about the ice cores discussed. But I believe the patterns shown by the ice cores are SO simple and obvious that laymen can evaluate them for themselves -- and either ignore those facts as many IPCC (politically) chosen scientists do, or honestly ask yourself why, if manmade global warming is present and SIGNIFICANT, why is today's temperature LOWER than in half of the last 4 interglacials?
In conclusion, 'the ice core data exhibit that it is a Black-and-White fallacy to claim that the global temperatures recently were "extreme"'; by any objective (historical) measure these are not extreme temperatures. The Earth's natural (pre-human) temperature swings show that they are THE NORM and small relative to the Earth's temperature-history. These are well-supported (even with citations to ice core graphics from environmentalists themselves) scientific FACTS, thus a long entry (sorry) to scientifically *support* why the wikipedia contributor is wrong and the blogger is right, although I tried to keep this in layman's terms.

YIKES!!!!! The idea is to clean up the entry on "False Dilemma", not launch a screed on global warming. BTW, your screed on Global Warming commits the fallacy of Appeal to Authority which is laughable since your screed is 100% wrong. You claim to be an "environmental engineer". Even an engineer has taken SOME science classes and your screed indicates you have not. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:01, 4 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The false dilemma is also common in politics, especially in places like the United States where there are only two major political parties.

The article shows no evidence that the US has more "false dilemma" fallacies in its politics than elsewhere. Europe has its share, and non-democratic countries have more than their share.

Let's keep out the "especially in...US" thing pending evidence for it. --Ed Poor

Well, voting systems that encourage two-party systems do so by squeezing out minority parties. Voters avoid voting for minority parties in the belief that they would be wasting their vote, and instead vote for the best of two evils. I guess you could see this as the fallacy of the excluded middle, but I'm not convinced... Martin
...and multi-party systems where the minority parties must compromise with (and essentially be absorbed by) another party, in "power sharing" if you google for the quoted term, will still marginalize the minority parties even though that is NOT a "two party system"... but this entire topic is a bit of a Red Herring because it has nothing to do with the False Dilemma fallacy. ;-)
Actually, with the district voting system, you are wasting your vote if you vote for a small party. With proportional representation, on the other hand, you don't. -- Mrdice
Right, the voting system is arguably flawed, but where's the fallacy? A fallacious conclusion drawn from the voting system might be "You're either a Democrat or a Republican". (Or: either a liberal or a conservative) Aragorn2 16:17, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Acually, he is *not* right. The only time your vote is not "wasted" is when it changes the outcome of the election -- which only happens when the vote is otherwise a tie. This is slightly more likely under some voting systems, but the reality is that your vote will not change the outcome (IOW it will be wasted) on anything larger that a small-town election.
That being said, this article really needs a rewrite that removes all examples that are hot button issues for some people. Obsolete (an electon from 1804) or purely fictional (the big-endian/little-endian debate in Gulliver's travels) examples would get the point across without the POV problems. (talk) 21:56, 3 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The original definition and the discussion here is quite interesting but has one major flaw: your use of the word "dilemma". A dilemma is not a situation in which one has to decide between a more or less positive and a more or less negative alternative, but rather a situation in which both alternatives are more or less negative!

'False dilemma' is a single term, and its meaning need not have to do with that of 'dilemma'. Just as one can commit the fallacy of special pleading without actually pleading. Andre Engels 13:37, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Both posters above need to read the article. A "false dilemma" is a proposition which asserts that there are only two alternatives, when in fact there are more than two. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:41, 27 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Example is confusing[edit]

It is confusing to include "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists" as an illustrative example of a false dilemma. When taken in context, this statement is usually made as part of a statement of policy rather than current fact. In this context, it is a condition that the speaker will assume to be true and act accordingly (i.e., if an entity does not show itself to be with "us", it will be assumed to be with the "terrorists"). Unless it is impossible for the speaker to make this assumption and (rightfully or wrongfully) act on this assumption, this is not a good example of a false dilemma.

The speaker's assumption is in itself fallacious, because it implies a false dilemma. If I'd assume that you're either a Bolivian or a Nigerian, that would be equally fallacious. You can't be both, obviously, but you could be neither. Do you mean to say "Just because somebody makes illogical assumptions, that doesn't mean they're fallacious."??? Aragorn2 16:12, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I agree it is confusing because it is a statement of policy, not fact (the policy being that we would no longer accept neutral tolerance or harboring of terrorist activity). You might as well include "Give me liberty or give me death" or "Live free or die" as an example of this logical fallacy. Furthermore, I think it is inappropriate and a violation of NPOV to use real-life quotations for examples of logical fallacies, particularly if they are taken from only one party or POV.

what makes "Give me liberty or give me death" a non-fallacy is the fact that the speaker is not claiming that liberty and death are the only choices, but rather that the third option (living as a slave) exists but is not acceptable to him. Not the same thing at all. "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists" is a fallacy because it does claim that those are the only choices. It leads to false conclusions in some cases. For example, Saddam Hussein was in no way "with us", but it is also true that he saw Al Quida as a threat to his dictatorship and suppressed them with everything he had. (talk) 21:56, 3 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This fallacy applies to policies as much as to (versions of) "truths", or "facts" as you call them, as long as one is to choose among a wrongfully limited set of choices. An example is an example and not a point of view. There is no NPOV in examples if they are valid. It rather is important whether or not they are intelligible, clear.
Therefore: "Either you're with us or against us." most perfectly falls into the example category of this fallacy. -- (talk) 01:38, 29 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

..... Politics is infamous for false dilemmas due in part to the economic and personal stakes in political life. Someone who says "You are with us or you are with the terrorists" is a false dichotomy if one is confused with the terrorists because one dissents with political agendas that have no connection to terrorism (fiscal policy, labor-management relations, school prayer, evolution, abortion, economic corruption). Actions that might directly aid terrorists, as in laundering money or delivering information between cells would imply being 'with terrorists', but dissent with a government on subsidies for privileged industries or its policies of racial or religious discrimination doesn't comprise 'being with the terrorists', although the government that states such a dichotomy might wish to treat any dissent with its policies as severely as it would treat terrorists. One could argue that a government that enforces exploitative or dehumanizing policies (extreme examples: nazi Germany, apartheid-era South Africa) through force is itself terrorist.

It's wiser to discuss the logic or illogic of political dichotomies of the past so that one can explain a false dichotomy. For example, an American negrophobe during the Civil Rights struggle might have posed the dichotomy as 'segregation or communism'. The retort isn't that the communists were for desegregation; it was instead that segregationism was not necessary for the preservation of capitalism and religious freedom incompatible with communism.

Simple sayings such as "Give me liberty or give me death!" (Patrick Henry)look like flawed dichotomies, but this one can be set up as a syllogism:

Despotic rule makes liberty impossible.
Without liberty, life is meaningless.
Despotic rule makes life meaningless.

Patrick Henry needed not be trained in formal logic to make such a bold, pithy statement. He said enough, and "Give me liberty or give me death!"

To be sure, some people would sacrifice their liberty to get or achieve wealth, privilege, infamy, revenge, safety, or material comfort; the people who agreed with Patrick Henry recognized the value of liberty and were ready to act decisively and sacrificially on its behalf.

-- 14:53, 2 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There's no logical fallacy when saying "give me liberty or give me death!", same as there isn't when saying "give me chocolate or give me vanilla!". The speaker is just asking for one of two things. Itub 19:09, 12 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmm....did the Bush/Cheney administration give the impression that they were working under the false dilemma that people had to be tortured or we would suffer another attack? -- (talk) 02:10, 26 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"The Opposite" Episode of Seinfeld[edit]

Would this episode, where George assumes that "if every instinct he has is wrong, then the opposite must be right" be an example of this fallacy?

I think that's a Non sequitur -- 15:06, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Bernard Baruch once stated that all that he needed to do to get good advice on investments was to watch what Sir Winston Churchill (who had his virtues, but consistently exposed incompetence in reading economic trends) did and then did the diametric opposite. Of course that refers to something with a nearly-excluded middle ("buy/sell") with only the near-triviality of a middle, "hold" or "do nothing". -- 14:21, 2 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Heh, that's my favorite Seinfeld episode. Yes, that would be an example of a false dilemma, rather than a nonsequiter as stated above. George falsely assumes that there are only two possible actions - the one his instincts tell him, and the opposite of that. --BennyD 15:52, 12 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Dilemma" not correct word[edit]

Out of the list of terms covering the same issue, I think that false dilemma is the least practical because a dilemma implies, contrary to popular use, a choice between two unpleasant alternatives. That doesn't necessarily apply to the issue discussed in this article, so I think that "false dichotomy" or one of the other terms should be the primary title.


When one speaks of a false dilemma, typically involving two harsh choices (Sobriety or drunkenness), one must of course contrast them to genuine situations, as in abandoning something precious to save ones life. The sailor on a sinking ship who has a large amount of gold that would allow him to buy his way into the aristocracy might have to choose between the gold and drowning. That's an unpleasant choice, but not one created by human design. False dilemmas are often human constructions that deny legitimate alternatives. The 'choice' that the robber offers 'Your money or your life!' forcefully denies the possibility of a victim to pass through with his cash, the situation that a good society enforces with harsh sanctions against robbery. -- 12:00, 18 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What about the Prisoner's Dilemma? In this case one, and only one, choice of two is considered "rational". --Tmchk 01:48, 3 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Di-lemma and di-chotomy both imply two, A or not A. "A natural number is either even or odd," is a correct dichotomy. "I must either eat or starve," is a correct dilemma. A dichotomy simply separats things into two parts, a dilemma implies that one must choose one part and not the other, with the implication that the choice is difficult. A false dichotomy would be: real numbers are either positive or negative (a real number might be zero, and so we have a trichotomy rather than a dichotomy). A false dichotomy would be: I must either vote for the Democrat or the Republican (you might not vote at all or might vote for an independent.) A more common use of the false dichotomy is where there is an entire spectrum of choices but the dichotomy implies only two: You are either with me or against me.

The Prisoner's Dilemma is a true dilemma -- there are only two choices -- but it is paradoxical because there are seemingly logical arguments in favor of each choice.

Incidentally, there are two different paradoxes which, by various authors, have gone by the name The Prisoner's Dilemma. One involves whether or not to inform on your accomplice. The other involves knowing on what day you will be executed. Rick Norwood 14:09, 6 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Claim[edit]

The False dilemma is related to the claim. A claim in philosophy is a statement that can be evaluated as true or false. A claim is not a definition and is not a description (neither definition nor description can be evaluated as true or false). In the False dilemma a statement is made, and the statement is evaluated as true or false, and this is a philosophers claim.

"Either/or fallacy" would successfully merge both articles[edit]

Hi all, this link is now on the anti-Mormon article as an example, the false dilemma title is not as effective as "either/or fallacy" in the context it often used in. For what it is worth, there is an either/or link already describing a book. Anon166 19:20, 30 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Either/or fallacy" is not a particularly common term in logic and critical thinking courses; this isn't the first time I've heard it, but it's close. "False dilemma" is definitely the more usual name, your opinion on their relative clarity (which, it must be admitted, I agree with) notwithstanding. PurplePlatypus 09:19, 23 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree completely with PurplePlatypus that "either/ or fallacy" is not the commonly used term for this fallacy and thus it should not be labelled this way in Wikipedia. Furthermore, the concept of "your with us or against us" is narrower in scope than the false dilemma. I say these articles should definitely be kept separate.--Will3935 00:23, 25 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I Oppose. I agree with PurplePlatypus as well. --Tmchk 01:51, 3 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Merge of false choice into false dilemma[edit]

  • For both are used in the same way and have the same definitions. Somerset219 03:14, 17 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • For They seem to have only miniscule differences; not enough for them to each have their own article.Tuesday42 14:13, 21 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • ForSee all above. They are very alike. Hezzy 18:58, 22 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Against I disagree with how false choice is being defined. I have always understood false choice to be where a choice is given, but the two options are really the same. Usually with parents to children i.e. "Do you want to do your homework on the chair or the couch?" The debate is about doing homework, but the 'choices' given by the parent are not really about doing homework, but rather about where the homework is being done, which wasn't a part of the debate.
  • Against for the same reason as the unsigned comment above; I think Wikipedia currently defines "false choice" in a completley incorrect manner, and this proposal only makes sense with the incorrect definition. PurplePlatypus 06:53, 17 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment With someone with a dictionary or a regular encyclopedia please look up what they have on this? I tried an old American Heritage Dictionary, but to no avail.Tuesday42 01:50, 19 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • For Ask Google. Scaro 22 September 2006
  • Comment. Merge them only if the consensus on other authoratative sources show that it is needed. However Wikipedia should also reflect common usage. Alan Liefting 02:13, 23 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • For "Do you want to do your homework on the chair or the couch?" is still a False Dilemma. The excluded choice is "not do homework." It would be the same as "spend money on space exploration, or feed the homeless." The option "spend no money" is available but hidden, just like "not do homework." The oppose votes argue that since the false dilemma is offered and enforced by some figure of authority, that it is something else. The choices offered by the "parent" in the above scenario are the same as the ones regularly offered to us by our elected politicians or heavy-handed managers. Being forced to chose one of the False Dilemma's options doesn't turn it into something else -- it's still the same fallacy -- just with a less receptive moderator to debate with. Googling for the phrase "false choice" just brings up examples of False Dilemmas: "freedom vs security," "low prices vs high wages," "local vs organic," etc. jthillik 19:33, 4 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • For The two terms are synonymous. -UK-Logician-2006 22:03, 16 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • For Ewlyahoocom 16:03, 6 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Anyway, I already did the merge. I don't see why more nuanced meaning of false choice (or if it is a different thing) or whatever discussion can't be handled here. As it stood the current material was almost identical, so a merge made sense. --Merzul 00:08, 1 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Stephen Colbert example[edit]

I have added this example three times now. It has been reverted the first two times. The first time was because it was "politically charged" and the second time because of Wikipedia:No personal attacks. However, No Personal Attacks refers to editors, not subjects in the article. Secondly, no one is saying anything negative about the President. In the example, Colbert gives two choices: "Great President" or "Greatest President". By definition, there are countless more choices that should be made available. "Really good President," "So-so President," "Terrible President." No where in the example does it say anything negative about the President. It is simply a clear-cut example of False Dilemma and, in my opinion, a perfect example for this article since it is one that many people will recognize and help them understand the term. Please don't revert without discussing here. Stoneice02 14:04, 5 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The problem with this example is that Colbert is a humorist. On the other hand, the classic example of a false dilemma is "Have you stopped beating your wife?" Rick Norwood 12:45, 7 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And why on Earth should we not be able to include an example from a humorist?!?!?! ~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:58, 15 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dead References Link[edit]

The link for the first reference is dead. (Minton, James (2006-06-03). Video games seized from teen’s home. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on 2006-06-05.) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:19, 1 May 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Shot in the face[edit]

Ok. It's pretty funny that "shooting people in the face" links to Dick Cheney, but I'm still changing it. StuIsCool 03:40, 11 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The relationship between false dilemma and black and white thinking.[edit]

First, this is not the place to chat about global warming -- there are other web sites for that.

The false dilemma and black and white thinking are closely related. In each case, they pose an "either A or B" choice, when in fact there are other alternatives. Rick Norwood 12:24, 10 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Neglecting the baby, you're completely right. We all know that good/evil isn't actually a formal dichotomy (well, not until St Peter sifts). In many cases with a false dichotomy, people really believe that the doors presented are the only doors available. Black and white thinking has as much (or more) in common with archetypes than with dilemma. — MaxEnt 17:05, 18 May 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Grumpyoldman1 likes the diagrams in this article. I find the diagrams confusing and unhelpful. They are certainly not the standard flowcharts that are sometimes used. Since Grumpyoldman and I disagree, others need to weigh in on this subject. Rick Norwood 16:27, 11 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It has been almost a month, and still no response to my question about the diagrams. When there are only two people involved, and when they strongly hold opposite opinions, we really need other people to express an opinion. Rick Norwood 12:47, 7 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi there,
Long time between edits. Perhaps you could list some specifics which are confusing and or unhelpful, because I really don't know what you are referring to. Problems should first be attempted to be fixed in the images themselves, then in the captions and finally if problems still exist it should be weighed up whether they should be kept imperfect or deleted. What are these standard flow charts? I haven't come across them. You could request a third opinion, but in my experience they are unhelpful.
Problems I get with these things are either about clarity or about POV, clarity has always been resolved before but POV dispute is much harder due to the nature of these things dealing in logic versus opinion. - Grumpyyoungman01 07:24, 5 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nobody else seems to be bothered by these, so maybe it's just me. One thing I don't like is that they are read from bottom to top. And, in this particular case, they only cover one case of false dichotomy, and not the most common case. The most common case, it seems to me, is "Either A or B", "A is obviously bad", "Therefore B". Rick Norwood 14:29, 5 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Can it be said that monotheistic or Abrahamic religions can be reduced to a collection of false dichotomies? All they consist of is the "this or that" discourse. Le Anh-Huy 11:29, 19 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is true, monotheistic beliefs automatically demonify any other deity/s or god/s without question or proper research, but it also happens with any other belief system mono or polytheistic and in non religious contexts; the present information highlights every aspect of false dilemma in a general manner. Plus some viewers might vandalize, its better to mention religious details the least possible in non religious articles. Bvazq 16:22, 29 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In looking for examples, I chose one from a "liberal" blog and one from a "conservative" blog. It turned out, of course, that to a conservative they were both too liberal and to a liberal they were both too conservative, which just goes to show that where right and left lie depend entirely on which way you're facing.

On the other hand, since most practical examples of false dilemmas that I see today are about politics, I'm not sure a ban on political examples is practical. I'll try to come up with a couple that clearly represent both viewpoints, both the right viewpoint and the wrong viewpoint. Rick Norwood 12:43, 7 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Thank you, . Rick Norwood 17:19, 9 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

new comment[edit]

I came for information regarding logic, not politics. Please change the examples. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:00, 28 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are those who think that education should be bloodless, and that examples of logic should be limited to statements about Socrates and mortals. In fact, logic is a living discipline, and it is reasonable to apply it to current events, though admittedly that rarely happens. The examples given here include false dilemmas by a Republican, by a Democrat, and by an Independent, and an example of black and white thinking from the UK. The biggest problem with these examples is that three out of four are from the US. Instead of deleting the examples, why not find better ones, especially examples from outside the US. Rick Norwood 12:47, 29 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply] has put an NPOV tag on the article, presumably prefering to complain about the examples rather than to suggest better ones. I would like to see some indication of what sort of examples would find acceptable. Rick Norwood 12:38, 1 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

both sides overlap[edit]

"One field such a saying is frequently used is in evolutionary biology, although in the strictest sense it may not be considered to be a false dichotomy. In this case, the two sides referred to are evolution versus Biblical creation or Intelligent Design (ID). Some proponents of evolution point out that there are more than two sets of beliefs on the issue."

What about if the 2 (or more) sets overlap? (e.g. evolution was part of the technique used by the Intelligent Designer) Does that still create/invalidate the false dilemma? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:02, 7 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Schools should teach both sides"[edit]

Is this section vandalism? Or propaganda put in by a supporter of teaching intelligent design or creationism in public schools? Can we get a better example? Methychroma (talk) 19:36, 10 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've shortened this example and tried to keep it to the point. If someone wanted to delete it, I would not object. Rick Norwood (talk) 16:04, 11 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Examples for telling false dilemma form true dilemma[edit]

The reasoning for 3 says that "the terms 'even' and 'odd' only apply to natural numbers.", not all integers. S s s7 (talk) 03:10, 7 June 2008 (UTC)s_s_s7Reply[reply]

I think this section is 90% unnecessary. The whole article explains false dilemmas/dichtomies/whatever, so I think that one is already able to tell false from true dilemmas without needing examples. Also, if the page name is changed, this will require changing as with other instances of "dilemma" in the article.
This is also in violation of WP:NOTGUIDE
So, all in all, I think this section should be deleted. Any comments? --Lewis512 (talk) 23:58, 12 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I teach this subject, and so I know that many of my students have a great deal of difficulty grasping this concept. Thus the examples. Rick Norwood (talk) 14:37, 13 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikipedia is not a student textbook, and a "how to" section written in the third person is inappropriate for an encyclopaedia ("It is not appropriate to create or edit articles which read as textbooks, with leading questions and step-by-step problem solutions as examples."). If an article needs a quick, readable definition of its subject, it should go in the lead. I think the first paragraph already covers everything it needs to.
I've removed the section. --McGeddon (talk) 15:04, 13 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is no alternative[edit]

Under this section this sentence appears: "Of course the speaker does not believe..." Isn't this too assertive? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:06, 23 June 2008 (UTC) I must say I don't like the current bar / noise pollution issue. Perhaps another one could be thought of? Perhaps the demand by a parent that a son must either Go to university or be a bum for the rest of his life... ? (talk) 22:10, 13 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposed deletion[edit]

May I suggest to simply delete this article, as it fails to give a comprehensible account of the issue. Not only are the examples poor and not-at-all well-founded, the article in general is not particularly readable and makes you wonder what it's all about, and what's its relevance. I'd simply delete it. Bjørn Clasen (talk) 22:43, 18 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Exactly. False dilemma is simply "~failure to choose 2 alternatives" (needs better words). I have no idea why there is so much blabber about somthing which is so dead simple ;) (talk) 12:16, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Maybe both of you overread that this is about a fallacy? I find examples as well as relevance and importance understandable, if not enlightening. @BjørnClasen: you're thoughts are so unspecific, what shall anyone say about them? @, I find your thoughts superficial and I would ask whether you've actually read the article.-- (talk) 01:15, 29 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

False choice -> Incomplete example of NY Bars[edit]

a bar must be shut down for it to not cause disturbing levels of noise after midnight. This ignores the fact that the bar could simply lower its noise levels, and/or install more soundproof structural elements to keep the

noise from excessively transmitting onto others' properties.

The problem in this case is probably not the bar itself, since soundproofing is, though probably expensive, a fairly simple technical solution for a fairly simple technical problem.

Where I come from people don't complain about the of noise of the bar, but about the noisy drunk people going home from bars, when they close somethimes between 1AM and 3AM.

Noisy people are a social problem and therefor not remedied by technical solutions. Closing down the bar, would not hinder people roam about at night. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:42, 24 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus[edit]

Seemingly completely irrelevant section of the article. "Falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus" How is it even a false dilemma? It does not fit in false dilemma's definitions...I have little knowledge in this area. So maybe someone can enlighten me? silentcelle (talk) 03:23, 28 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I assume it's taking it to mean a false dilemma between liars and non-liars (or lies and truths). However Google Scholar finds no references that link "false dilemma" (or similar) and "falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus" (or "falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus", which incidentally only differs in falsus=liar, falsum=lie). Here's a couple mentions in passing: "falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus" "false dichotomy". —Mrwojo (talk) 02:41, 31 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's a example of the fallacy in logic, though not (necessarily) in practice. It's logically fallacious because someone who lies about one thing could otherwise be telling valuable truth (which the rule doesn't account for). It is often not practically fallacious, however, because in a situation where someone is presenting their word as evidence and their word has been demonstrated to be false in certain details, then it does follow that it would often be unwise to trust them at their word on certain other details. Milhisfan (talk) 10:21, 6 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(1) It's irrelevant to the article.
(2) It's not really a fallacy in logic, because it was never intended to be interpreted in this sense. It really means unreliable in one thing, unreliable in everything.--Jack Upland (talk) 10:44, 18 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikipedia vandalism image[edit]

Banner whose side are you on.png

Self-referencing and inappropriate? It's not even clear if or why it even represents a false dilemma. --FormerIP (talk) 19:46, 14 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Seems obvious to me. Users can't be divided into editors and vandals. There aren't two ideal "sides", one just and authoritarian, one destructive and anarchic, with a clear dividing line separating the two. In fact, correctness/purity/justice, represented by the color white, and authoritarian editorship is an arbitrary grouping of characteristics that don't necessarily go together, resulting in a false dilemma. All in all, an apt and humorous image. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:19, 9 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, I suppose it's possible that someone would find it humorous. I don't think that an example that requires the general reader to understand the behind the scenes workings of WP is a good one. Plus, I don't think you're understanding the nature of the concept quite correctly. A false dilemma doesn't exist just because a proposition gives a doubtful representation of reality. It's really about whether it is logically inclusive of alternative ways of resolving it. In our case, it is not clear what alternative is being excluded (except apathy, maybe), so I don't think we have a very clear illustration of what a false dilemma is.
Thanks for reminding me that I posted this question, though.
Here's an image that gives a clearer illustration [1], although it might be open to WP:COATRACK objections. --FormerIP (talk) 15:00, 9 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The image which is on the article right now is obviously a false dilemma... There are plenty of people like me, who are neither editors nor vandals, yet the image only presents those two options. As a wiki user, at least, I think it fits the article perfectly. (talk) 18:07, 21 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"it is not clear what alternative is being excluded" - well how about the readers? It also asks you to "take a side". There's also the logical fallacy that vandals are actually "editors" too, in the larger sense of the word. If anything, it illustrates a great number of fallacies, but this is the most obvious. --AA (talk) 15:22, 5 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That image with Jesus does not seem to illustrate the subject properly or completely, but I guess it could fit in the article too. There's nowhere saying an article should only have one image. --AA (talk) 15:22, 5 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've added the image especially because its purpose is neither ironic nor humorous on Wikipedia - many many editors are damned straight in that thinking, or are asked to be like that. Many user pages contain this image in a completely serious sense, and thus is not representative to only a niche group on Wikipedia. Additionally, nobody seems to have found any other public domain image to use on this article, and this is no different than any banner out there that asks people to think in black and white, and wanting to remove it just because it belongs to Wikipedia is in a sense discriminatory. Now that I read the article, maybe it belongs better in "black and white thinking" section (the phrase itself in the article "Another example is someone who labels other people as all good or all bad." fits perfectly with the image), but I still think the image has a place in this article. I originally posted it at the top of the page as it had a good place in the free right of the article, without disturbing the text. --AA (talk) 15:22, 5 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This violates WP's self-reference style guideline : WP:SELFREF. I came to this talk page because the image just struck me as not particularly relevant. (talk) 17:56, 7 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No it doesn't. In print, on forks and mirrors or on any other sites or context, an image of a billboard in Massachusetts reading "Example of false dilemma on a billboard in Massachusetts" can be replaced with this one and the text "Example of false dilemma on Wikipedia" and it would make no difference to the reader. Also, the subject of the image is not about Wikipedia, but about the false dilemma that incidentally happens on Wikipedia. I agree that expanding the subject in length in the article would violate WP:UNDUE On second thought, it probably wouldn't, but as it's just an image clearly defining the subject and exemplifying it this is a moot point anyway, and there are little to none fair-use public domain images of the subject so it would hurt the article to remove it. --AA (talk) 18:27, 29 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's not quite a SELFREF, but we shouldn't be too self-indulgent here - we should step back and look at the picture from the perspective of a reader who knows nothing about Wikipedia. From that angle, it might as well be a random website logo with "The Foos or the Bars! Which side are you on?" - the caption tells the reader nothing about the context of the two groups, and there's nothing in the article that puts it into context.

Presumably there's nothing we can say in the article about it, because the false dilemma has never been invoked publicly or quoted by a reliable source - it's just one Wikipedia editor who thought a particular situation was a false dilemma and made a picture of it. The implication here seems to be that images don't have to follow guidelines for article content - if I think I've spotted a false dilemma in world politics, I can't write about it in the article, but I can upload a photoshopped image that quotes it? --McGeddon (talk) 16:09, 26 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If someone in politics says "You can be either a democrat or a republican, which side do you chose?", even if you don't know the US context politics, even if you don't know what exactly a "democrat" or "republican" means (as I know, in different countries, those words have different political meanings), you know it's a false dilemma. You know there are a thousand other parties or currents you could adhere to without being either of those. In fact, someone may shop that (although it'd look a bit strawman, but anyway) and it'd be more accepted here, even if a Chinese or a Japanese probably wouldn't get it entirely, but he'd get the idea. I'm asking leniency until something better appears. It's better than nothing. --AA (talk) 23:20, 27 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, your argument is faulty. "Editor" is someone who edits. "Vandal" is someone who vandalizes, thus someone who destroys/does bad things. That should be obvious to any reader. Tthe reader, knowing he's just a reader, would wonder "What about the readers?" :) Worst case, they'd wonder "What about those that don't care?" --AA (talk) 23:20, 27 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The comparison is also faulty: to understand what "foos" or "bars" means in your context, I'd have to read the opera you're referring to (which I must confess I have no idea), while understanding "editor" and "vandal" and making the association is easily intuitive for anyone who knows English. --AA (talk) 23:20, 27 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are assuming far too much from the reader, here. A reader who is completely unfamiliar with workings of the Wikipedia project, who is unaware that it is collaboratively built by volunteer editors, will have no idea what an "editor" or a "vandal" is. The caption should explain the context, and once we start writing that caption we realise it will just have to say "one photoshop user regarded those who edit the articles on Wikipedia as being divided into constructive contributors and malicious vandals; an example of a false dilemma", which - were it added to the article body - we would quickly delete as WP:OR, particularly when several much clearer examples are already present. --McGeddon (talk) 18:09, 28 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just out of curiosity, how do the purple expressions "constructive contributors" and especially "malicious vandals" help the understanding of this? Malicious next to "vandal" is akin to pleonasm. --AA (talk) 09:45, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you think the article really needs a picture, and that anything would be better than nothing, we could just have a picture of George W Bush giving a press conference, and a caption underneath it repeating his quote. --McGeddon (talk) 18:09, 28 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I fail to see the joke since I'm not from the US and did not listen to any of Bush's press conferences. You could make an original research article/essay on a more liberal site/wiki about that if you want :) Beyond the joke, an article with a picture is better than an article without a picture. And I don't find it that hard to believe readers would piece together what "editor", "vandal" and any of the other missing parts are referring to in the picture. I don't find that phrasing OR, but rather descriptive of the picture. It's like saying "the left side contains white background on which is written and drawn in black, and the right side contains black background on which is written and drawn in white", there's no original research in describing the colors or circumstances of a picture if they're obvious. Does Wikipedia REALLY needs expert sourcing on describing the color or content of an image? --AA (talk) 22:43, 28 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am referring to the "either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists" Bush quote that's used as an example in the article.
If it's inappropriate WP:OR to say "one example of a false dilemma is that of 'editors' and 'vandals' on Wikipedia" without sources in the article body (which you would agree that it was?), I can't see how it's acceptable to include the exact same assertion as an image. --McGeddon (talk) 22:58, 28 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Maybe, but "Image describing Wikipedia as being divided into constructive contributors and malicious vandals" would not be original research. It would also drop the self-reffy "editor" or "Wikipedia editor". It also sounds more in the line of my "Example of false dilemma on Wikipedia" turned into "Example of false dilemma regarding Wikipedia", thus eliminating any implication that most of Wikipedia adheres to this ideology (although that is probably the truth, but hard to verify and attracts offended image removers). --AA (talk) 09:45, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Captioning the image isn't original research, but putting the image there at all is original research - it's not illustrating anything in body of the article, it's just adding somebody's opinion, in the form of an image. Do you agree that it would be inappropriate to say "an example of a false dilemma would be 'editors' and 'vandals' on Wikipedia" in the body of the article (worded however you like, but ultimately being unattributed to a source)? If so, why is an equivalent image any different? --McGeddon (talk) 12:27, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I do not agree it would be inappropriate, but I don't plan on tackling those waters. Also that sentence is too implying that there is, in fact, such a false dilemma. On the other hand, putting in a picture and saying "This picture depicts a false dilemma" is obvious, true and hard to contest to the fact, and it Fdoes not imply in any way that Wikipedia is divided into vandals and editors, only that there's a picture saying it is and that those who advocate its legitimacy want people to choose while offering only too apparent possible choices. --AA (talk) 17:25, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you don't think it would be WP:OR to write in an article that "Wikipedia editors/vandals are an example of a false dilemma" (or, by the same token, adding the unsourced assertion that "President Obama said X in a speech, which is an example of a false dilemma"), then I'm not sure there's much else I can really say here. McGeddon (18:19, 29 August 2011 (UTC)), — (continues after insertion below.)Reply[reply]
Using an Straw man entrapment scenario is low. Putting words in my mouth is lower. I do consider that putting such a text would be in this world and in many senses of common sense, very appropriate, but I'm sure someone would just remove it, claiming WP:OR (to be read: "butthurt"), and since the majority of Wikipedians would feel the same (i.e. word in the parenthesis), majority wins, so I just won't bother. Claiming that because I'd say something I didn't, I'd do something you claimed I said, is just another fallacy. --AA (talk) 17:39, 1 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do you mind if I raise an RFC to get some feedback from other editors about this? --McGeddon (talk) 18:19, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Continuing on what I said above, I think I showed myself as someone willing to discuss and to allow constructive changes in the article/text/image/w/e. Do what you will, I can't stop you and you don't have to pretend to find lame excuses to do what you think you must. --AA (talk) 17:39, 1 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Making the bad faith assumption that anyone who invokes WP:OR against you is just "butthurt" isn't helpful, and does not show you as being open to constructive discussion. --McGeddon (talk) 14:48, 2 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Considering it's the third time you maliciously put words in my mouth (keyboard/typing), you've lost any good faith second chances with me. What I meant with that, if it was not obvious enough, was that anyone lazy enough to just tag something as OR instead of looking for sources because they don't like Wikipedia discussed as having fallacies, is, well, "I don't like it" "vote". I also recognize there would be too many on Wikipedia doing this, therefore I said I won't lose time writing a section on the subject, therefore it's a moot point anyway. --Anime Addict AA (talk) 14:30, 6 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Most pictures on Wikipedia are niche subjects/examples on the subject. Example: Mountain uses "The view of Jeff Davis Peak from the glacier-carved summit of Wheeler Peak, Nevada. Because Boundary Peak, Nevada is partially in California, and is actually a sub-peak of Montgomery Peak, the shorter Wheeler Peak can be considered the tallest mountain in Nevada." and other images from all over the world. That article will probably not discuss each and every mountain in the picture, and definitely not in length. More example would be in lightning: the article is not going to touch upon - or even have articles on - the different circumstance of how, where, why those image were taken, their intensity, their relation with each other etc. They're just there to exemplify, and because they can be used freely. --AA (talk) 17:34, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Any false dilemma is by definition, an incorrect assertion that there are only two sides. It doesn't really come up whose false dilemma is more "preponderant" in a media, only that it makes you chose between seemingly only two categories. The intention of a creator usually doesn't matter, as it's assumed the creator of a false dilemma probably doesn't know he's making a logical fallacy through his statement, nor would any such authors want to have their phrases scrutinized and tagged as such. That doesn't mean it's not. I am forced to repeat myself, the idea isn't to include a self-ref about Wikipedia in all of this, it's to find the most adequate image to portray the "false dilemma" concept. Since a "most adequate" image does not exist, I suggested we go with what we've got. And again, in my opinion, the directness of asking a reader to chose while using the black and white colors portraying absolute evil and absolute good, is a very defining image for the subject. Yes, we're nitpicking on the caption to make it more neutral and to not go into error-building, but the validity of the image related to the subject of the page is hard at least, if not impossible to contest. --AA (talk) 17:25, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To clarify, I'm not nitpicking about the text of the caption, I am specifically contesting the validity of the image as it relates to the subject of the page. --McGeddon (talk) 18:19, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"the directness of asking a reader to chose while using the black and white colors portraying absolute evil and absolute good, is a very defining image for the subject." What part of this is contestable? --AA (talk) 18:45, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hey, that's a nice arrangement you did :) --AA (talk) 17:34, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Moreton's Fork[edit]

Is this really a false dichotomy? If a person doesn't have liquid assets, s/he isn't rich. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:40, 1 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's the point. Morton's two options are people who appear wealthy (who thus must have plenty of money and should be taxed) and people who appear poor (who thus must just be saving their money and should be taxed). By ignoring the possibilities that people who appear wealthy might be hiding financial problems and people who appear poor actually are poor, Morton created a false dichotomy to justify his taxation. Milhisfan (talk) 09:52, 6 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nolan chart[edit]

The "See also" section links to Nolan chart, but I am not sure why: this article does not otherwise mention the Nolan chart, and that article does not mention false dilemmas. Presumably, the chart has one, hence its inclusion in the list; if this is the case then one of the articles should say so. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 21:49, 7 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RfC: Wikipedia example image[edit]

Is it original research to include "Wikipedia editors vs vandals" as an image to illustrate the concept of a false dilemma? McGeddon (talk) 22:19, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Better to avoid WP:SELF references.—Machine Elf 1735 01:38, 30 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The RfC was about WP:OR, however, I support User:Machine Elf 1735 in that it clearly violates WP:SELF so the WP:OR argument may be moot and just an exercise in debating. Veriss (talk) 01:52, 30 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You cast a very wide net with your non-specific RFC assertion and the arguments above covered a lot of ground. What specific WP:OR point are you concerned about? Veriss (talk) 01:44, 30 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was just trying to keep it as short and neutral as possible, per the RFC guidelines. The article is currently illustrated by a poster-style graphic with the caption "One example of a false dilemma is the division of Wikipedia users into constructive 'editors' and malicious 'vandals'." - since this statement would be removed as WP:OR if added to the article (the assertion is unsourced, and appears to just be one editor saying "I think the Wikipedia editor/vandal distinction is a false dilemma"), is it also WP:OR when added as an illustrative graphic? --McGeddon (talk) 08:22, 30 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Remove reference to WP - It is very amateurish to include references to WP in articles. See Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Self-references to avoid (otherwise known as the "navel-gazing" guideline). The only exception is if a large number of secondary sources discuss WP in the context of the article's topic (e.g. Essjay controversy article). But in this article there is no justification ... it just looks unprofessional. --Noleander (talk) 15:52, 31 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Remove. Because of SELFREF, but also because it is unclear and potentially misleading. For a true false dilemma, you need to be ignoring logical alternative options, not just (arguably) misrepresenting a situation. I'm not sure what the ignored option is in this case (except, maybe, "I don't give a damn about whether Wikipedia gets vandalised"). Anyway, it's at least debatable. But you need to know quite a lot about Wikipedia to get into the debate, which is why the illustration is a bad idea. It's too obscure an issue for the passer-by reader. --FormerIP (talk) 23:55, 31 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Remove. Would it not be the very picture of a false dilemma, or a false dilemma? (The Treachery of Images)—Machine Elf 1735 18:54, 1 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    However, a false dilemma and fallacies in general are the exact definition of The Treachery of Images: what someone says for the reason of justifying his view, is labeled as "logical fallacy" despite the author's and his work's supporters protests: Word of Dante prevails. --Anime Addict AA (talk) 14:48, 6 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Remove. I'm not sure it is even a good example of a false dilemma. The caption says it is dividing users into two camps and ignoring those who are just "readers". But I see it as being about who you support rather than what you are, so the only third party that could be excluded would be "people who don't care if Wikipedia is vandalized". And one could make an argument (which I think is what the poster is trying to do) that by ignoring or tolerating vandalism, you are in effect supporting it. (It could be debated how valid the claim "tolerating x effectively supports it" is, but I don't think it can be dismissed as merely a false dilemma). Wardog (talk) 10:15, 2 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Isn't having been forced to support either side a false dilemma in itself? It's either you support the "contributors" or you support the vandals. There are many former Wikipedians that don't support a lot of contributors, yet don't support vandalism or vandals, yet they may still be involved in Wikipedia and Wikipedia works. --Anime Addict AA (talk) 14:48, 6 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Keep and Note to Read (amateuristic bolding and capsing here :) ) the Discussion Above before Voting. --Anime Addict AA (talk) 14:48, 6 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment: I think an unbiased expert in logic and fallacy issues is needed to clear things up, since most votes consist of "I don't think it's like that, but I'm not sure how or why". --Anime Addict AA (talk) 14:48, 6 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Elliott Argument as an Example[edit]

This was removed from the article twice, stating it is not an example because it references wikipedia itself?

A very good example of a False Dichotomy and Morton's Fork all twisted into one package. Here is the link to the discussion on the Deletion of the Article that has failed to make it on Wikipedia, but has been permanently stuck on Mrfivethirty's Talk page!

Can someone please let me know why this is not relevant as an example? I already took a look at the WP:SELF article and it does not make it clear how what I did was wrong. I need some clarification! (talk) 16:25, 18 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

False choice example[edit]

This example does not do the anti-regulation argument justice because it is not addressing the belief in property rights. There is little need for regulation because property rights and price adjustments solve the issue. If a bar opens near a quiet community, then it will be forced to compensate those affected by the negative externality of the neighbor's loss in privacy or "quietness." However, if a home is built near a bar, then the price of buying the house will be adjusted to the already known noise variable of the bar. This acknowledgement of private property rights allows price to fluctuate and compensate for negative externalities. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 10:26, 24 February 2013‎ (Moved from the article onto the Talk page by Lova Falk talk 09:42, 24 February 2013 (UTC))Reply[reply]

Article doesn't mention the case of falsely assuming that the two options are mutually exclusive[edit]

Example - "Are you a dog lover or a cat lover?" - no reason why you can't be both (or neither).

Or, "Are you left handed or right handed?" - ambidextrous people are both.

So the false dilemma can be that you are asked to choose between two options that are not in fact mutually exclusive. BTW got those examples from False Dichotomy (movie trope).

I'm not sure where this would go, but seems it should be mentioned somewhere on the page. I came here just now out of interest as a result of a google search for information about that type of false dilemma.

Robert Walker (talk) 00:10, 27 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article says that "false dilemma" is also called "false dichotomy" which isn't exactly true. False dichotomy could be an example, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a dilemma, perhaps a false choice. A false dichotomy might not actually be a choice in a practical sense. It often comes up in classifications.--Jack Upland (talk) 05:26, 27 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay, yes, good point, I think "false dichotomy" is sometimes a dilemma, sometimes not. For a situation where it is a dilemma - if you have to choose one or other in a survey form, are you a dog or a cat lover - or are you left or right handed, multiple choice - you have to make a choice, and you are faced with a dilemma if you are neither or both. Anyway whether you call false dichotomy a dilemma or not - if you search for false dichotomy you also end up here.
I'd support a separate page for "False dichotomy" - and link to that page from this one. Perhaps it already has and we just need to add the page to "see also" or some such, but I haven't found it yet. So far following the links through "see also" I haven't found anything about this argument where choices are presented as if mutually exclusive when they are not. It's often used in fallacious arguments. E.g. when critics of space missions say: "Why fund space missions when there are starving people in the world?" - as if it was impossible to do both - continue with space missions and address world hunger. Robert Walker (talk) 10:16, 27 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
From the look of the arguments above, several articles were merged, and they came up with "false dilemma" as the title. It would probably be better to have a few small articles, even if there was some dduplication.--Jack Upland (talk) 12:10, 27 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay - could be it was merged away I wonder. I've had a look at the List_of_fallacies - it is a very long list so I could have missed it but "false dichotomy" there is just treated as the same as "false dilemma" and I don't see any other fallacy that looks like it could be the same one. It does rather look to me as if somehow it has slipped through the net and not got into wikipedia for some reason, or got edited away by mistake in some previous edit. Yes - my understanding of the guidelines also, that there's nothing wrong with a bit of duplication so long as there are some substantial differences and a reason for having a separate article. Robert Walker (talk) 13:53, 27 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Poor black and white thinking redirect[edit]

I got my hand slapped recently for changing a redirect that was clearly sad legacy without posting on the talk page first.

So here's the deal. Splitting (psychology) actually defines the term as an article lead term. And I don't think this belongs here on merit, to begin with. (Check out my response to a talk item above.) — MaxEnt 17:09, 18 May 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, I just read the splitting page more closely, and it's not a great umbrella, either, although in some respects it does land much closer: black and white thinking is a mental heuristic used to simplify the thought process (or chase away threatening complexity) that has it's roots in moralistic story telling. Whether the princess lives or dies is not exactly a false dichotomy. At least, then, B&W could redirect to its own section (in whichever article) that does this distinction justice. — MaxEnt 17:17, 18 May 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Example image is not a false dilema?[edit]

Yikes, I came to talk page after trying to understand how this figure is a false dilemma's_dilemma_-_Dalrymple._LCCN2010651418.jpg

and seems there's several other threads about other images that have been removed because they were not false dilemmas. Why is it so hard to find an example of a false dilemma? I guess it's better than the alternative of having no images at all though, right? Just kidding.

Anyway, I guess the image could have some false dilemma characteristics but it really falls short because it's grounded in some real systemic patterns that tend to lead to true dichotomies in the real world. So I don't think it's really in the spirit of the majority of false dichotomies that have no grounding at all, like "support our troops" vs "support a specific war".

And I think it's clear the artist's intent was specifically a visual that represents those real systemic dichotomy patterns so to call it a false dichotomy requires a kind of disingenuous interpretation of the art. Like... it's supposed to symbolize how the subject feels about his future. And he's not wrong because the paths available to him generally lead to choosing wealth over idealism because wealth tends to require sacrificing ideals in a competitive free market society. All-in-all I think it's not a great example and we could really do better. (talk) 18:45, 1 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not particularly attached to this specific image but I think it works as an illustration of false dilemmas. There are many ways and priorities how one can live one's life: as a family person, as a standup comedian, as a drug addict, as an escort, as a driving instructor, as a religious recluse, as a petty scoundrel, and, if all these should fail, as a Wikipedia editor. I think it should be clear that not every one of these paths corresponds to either "wise and great" or "rich and powerful". Some paths are neither and some may be both (like Plato's philosopher king). But I am open to suggestions if there are other images to be considered. Phlsph7 (talk) 08:22, 2 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Information.svg The redirect Trifurcation has been listed at redirects for discussion to determine whether its use and function meets the redirect guidelines. Readers of this page are welcome to comment on this redirect at Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2023 April 15 § Trifurcation until a consensus is reached. 1234qwer1234qwer4 22:12, 15 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]