False Dichotomy

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False dichotomies are examples of logical fallacies, which are failures of reasoning. And that’s just what false dichotomies are: failures of reasoning.

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But, more specifically, we can also say we deal with false dichotomies when authors have created some sort of artificial senses so we have merely two alternatives or possibilities in given situations.

1. Mini-test: False Dichotomy 

1. Which of the following sentences presents a false dichotomy?

Question 1 of 2

2. 2. Darth Vader in Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith told Obi-Wan Kenobi 'If you're not with me, then you're my enemy'.

Why is this statement a false dichotomy?

Question 2 of 2


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Well, by doing so, authors are both limiting the readers’ options and their imagination.

Video Transcription

Fallacies are common when authors have an agenda and want to give the readers the impression that the view they radiate is the only one that’s sensible.

So, the reader must at all times be suspicious of this false dichotomy.

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If authors limit the alternatives or options, readers must ask themselves, “Is this author really being valid?”

So let’s take a closer look. Let me give you an example of a false dichotomy:

You really should join me at that party tonight; if you won’t, you’ll sit home, bored as hell.”

Here, the writer suggests that there’s just one possibility besides joining him at the party, and that is sitting totally bored at home. Well, this, of course, cannot be true. It is very well possible to get entertained at one’s home, or perhaps go somewhere else than that party.

So this is a good example of what we call a false dichotomy. In the example, the author creates an artificial sense of there being only two options or possible alternatives. The first is to go with him to that party, and the other one is to sit bored at home.

Keep in mind that I said before that here, authors want to give the reader the impression that only their view is sensible.

So, here, the only sensible alternative seems to be going to the party with the speaker, since who would want to sit bored at home?

Well, in reality, there are so many different possible options. There are many sensible options possible in a situation like this. So, this was an example of what we call “a false dichotomy.”

So again, false dichotomies are examples of logical fallacies. And that’s a failure of reasoning. That’s all that false dichotomies are: failures of reasoning.


Last Updated on February 15, 2024.