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The Verbal Cheap Shot Artist Part 11: The False Dilemma
Posted By Ron On October 12, 2009 @ 1:20 AM In Verbal Cheap Shots | Comments Disabled
This is part nine of a 12 week series where I explore the tactics of verbal cheap shot artists – people who can’t, or won’t use valid arguments to present their case, but instead resort to verbal cheap shots. To make sure you don’t miss a single article, be sure and sign up for my RSS  feed or subscribe by email  (both are free!) so you can get the freshest new articles! Check out my other posts in the Verbal Cheap Shots  category.
The False Dilemma is also known as “Black and White” reasoning. It states that there are only two options available and both can’t be right. Figure out which one isn’t and, according to False Dilemma “reasoning,” the other choice is automatically correct.
In some cases, it’s okay to use this line of reasoning, but only in isolated cases. For example:
In cases where the only two options are the ONLY two options, this reasoning works. Where it goes wrong is when there are more than two options but all the alternatives aren’t mentioned or the original options are wrong.
Example of lack of alternatives:
What about real estate, other commodities, ETF’s, mutual funds, CD’s or any one of a host of other potential investments?
Examples of wrong original options:
Or something a little less obvious:
Could there be another alternative?
Why don’t we cut spending or identify what our true priorities may be?
The biggest problem with the False Dilemma is that you’re left with only two choices  and any decision is only as good as the choices available. Avoid creating false dilemmas in your own reasoning and learn to recognize them when they’re used.
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