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Excluded Middle

 

Disciplines Argument > Fallacies > Excluded Middle

Description | Discussion | Example | See also

 

Description

Only extreme views are valid.

Moderation is weak and uncertain. To be valid, an argument must have a clear opposite.

Ignore any central position. Polarize any issues and then select one end of the spectrum. Criticise any middle position as floppy and compromising, which by definition is only half of what could be had.

Example

Women who use Citro perfume will attract men. [Those who do not, will not.]

If we do not save the whales, the world is doomed.

I have an absolute right to carry a gun. Those who oppose that right deserve what they get.

Discussion

Where people have a high need for certainty  and control, extreme views provide what may seem to be a defensible position, as you only need to look in one direction for the 'enemy'. Dividing the world into good and bad, right and wrong also plays to certainty needs, as your friends and enemies can now be clearly identified.

Classification

Assumptive

Also known as

False Dichotomy, Polarization, Black and White Thinking

See also

False Dilemma, False Compromise

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