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False Dilemma Fallacy

Also known as “false dichotomy”

“You either support us or you support them.”

There are two ways of committing the false dilemma fallacy.

First, you can present two options as being mutually exclusive when they are not. For example, “We must choose between economic growth and protecting the environment.

Second, you can present two options as being the only options, ignoring other alternatives. For example, in the example “You either support us or you support them”, a viable option is to support neither.

If someone says something along the lines of “It’s either A or B”, some valuable questions to ask are:

  • Could A and B both be correct (or partially correct)?
  • Could there be a C?

If the answer to either of these questions is “yes”, you now have more options to consider.

False dilemmas add unreasonable constraints to a discussion and recognizing them can help you to protect yourself from manipulation.

Back to the Logical Fallacy Handbook


Courses

Fallacy Detectors Part 1

Develop the skills to tackle logical fallacies through a series of 10 science-fiction videos with activities. Recommended for ages 8-12.

US$15

Symbolic Logic for Teens Part 1

Learn how to make sense of complicated arguments with 14 video lessons and activities. Recommended for ages 13 and up.

US$15

Worksheets

Symbolic Logic Worksheets icon

Symbolic Logic Worksheets

Worksheets covering the basics of symbolic logic for children ages 12 and up.

US$5

Elementary School Worksheets and Lesson Plans icon

Elementary School Worksheets and Lesson Plans

These lesson plans and worksheets teach students in grades 2-5 about superstitions, different perspectives, facts and opinions, the false dilemma fallacy, and probability.

US$10

Middle School Worksheets and Lesson Plans icon

Middle School Worksheets and Lesson Plans

These lesson plans and worksheets teach students in grades 5-8 about false memories, confirmation bias, Occam's razor, the strawman fallacy, and pareidolia.

US$10

High School Worksheets and Lesson Plans icon

High School Worksheets and Lesson Plans

These lesson plans and worksheets teach students in grades 8-12 about critical thinking, the appeal to nature fallacy, correlation versus causation, the placebo effect, and weasel words.

US$10

Statistical Shenanigans Worksheets and Lesson Plans icon

Statistical Shenanigans Worksheets and Lesson Plans

These lesson plans and worksheets teach students in grades 9 and up the statistical principles they need to analyze data rationally.

US$10