False dilemma


 
Name of fallacy False dilemma
Aliases False dichotomy
Type Deductive Argument, Formal Argument    
Description The use of a dilemma which ignores a continuous series of possibilities between the two extremes presented
Example "Very often a Morton's Fork, a choice between two equally unpleasant options, is a false dilemma. The phrase originates from an argument for taxing English nobles:

    "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."

This is a false dilemma, because it fails to allow for the possibility that some members of the nobility may in fact lack liquid assets."
Form 
Treatment Dealt with by refusing to accept either alternative, but pointing to the fact of the continuity which the person using the argument has ignored. Since this is likely to appear over-subtle to an opponent using the argument, it may be strengthened by pointing out that the argument is the same as saying, "Is this paper black or white?" when it is, in fact, a shade of grey.

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