False Dilemma

A false dilemma is an argument which presents a limited number of options (usually two), while in reality there are more options. In other words, it gives a choice between one or another ("either-or") even though there are other choices which could be made. The false dilemma is commonly seen in black or white terms; it sets up one thing as all good and the other as all bad. When one option (typically the "all bad" one) is argued against, the false dilemma concludes that the other must be true.


Stop wasting my time in this store! Either decide you can afford the stereo, or go without music in your room!

This argument contains a logical fallacy because it fails to recognize that there are many other possibilities than just buying one particular (expensive) stereo and going without music. You could, for instance, buy a less expensive stereo or even a radio. Or, you could borrow a stereo and have music in your room without making a purchase. There are many options beside the two presented as "either-or" in the argument. Other common false dilemmas include:

Love it or leave it.

Either you're with us, or you're against us. Get better grades or you will never go to college.

False dilemmas are also common in politics. Many politicians would like you to believe that they, and their party, have all the right answers, and their opponents are not only wrong, but they are ruining the country. They set up a choice between all good and all bad. Political speeches often include rhetorical questions that contain false dilemmas. For instance: "Price supports on agricultural production are part of the socialist agenda. My opponent in this race consistently votes for price supports on dairy and tobacco products. It is time to stop electing socialists to Congress. Should you vote for my opponent, who wants to lead our country on the path toward socialism, or should you vote for me, and restore democracy?

Friendly Persuasion

Friendly Persuasion

To do this successfully you need to build a clear path of action by using tools if necessary. These tools would be facts, evidence and stories which you know they can relate to. Plus you always want to have their best interests at heart, in other words, you know what is good for them

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