They’re Logically Fallacious! False Dichotomy

Riley Sproul Ideas, Logical Fallacies 2 Comments

False Dichotomy:

(a.k.a. false dilemma, fallacy of false choice)

An informal fallacy; where two options are presented, usually polar opposites, and it is either implied or explicitly stated that these are the only two possibilities to the given argument. When more than two options are given, the fallacy still applies, but it is most common to see drastically opposite view points expressed.


Example: 1) I see X or Y as the only two possible options. 2) Therefore, either X or Y must be the truth.


Real World Example:

“Either the nobles of this country appear wealthy, in which case they can be taxed for good; or they appear poor, in which case they are living frugally and must have immense savings, which can be taxed for good”    ‘Martin’s Fork’  (Source)

Indicator: This fallacy can be seen in a lot of media coverage these days. Scientifically sound theories are portrayed as having an equal opposing viewpoint, when in fact they do not. Although often convincing to the uninformed, some red flags to watch out for include being forced to choose between A or B. Also, when the examples/explanations given seem rather extreme, you could be looking at a multi-pronged False Dichotomy.


Next week: Weak Analogy

Last week: Special Pleading

All previously explored fallacies!


Riley Sproul has a Bachelors in Biology, with a concentration in PreMed, and a Chemistry Minor, from the University of Toledo. His goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Neurobiology with in the next 4-5 years. His interests include sci-fi, PC-gaming, playing guitar, and a variety of other hobbies.
They’re Logically Fallacious! False Dichotomy was last modified: May 27th, 2015 by Riley Sproul