Argumentation 27 (4):1-22 (2013)

False dilemma is a specific form of reasoning : despite the fact that it is based on a deductively valid argument form, it is rightly depicted as fallacy. A systematic exposition of false dilemma is missing in theoretical approaches to fallacies. This article formulates six criteria for a well-grounded exposition of a fallacy, suggesting also a systematic exposition of false dilemma. These criteria can be used to both explain, and categorise, the various false dilemma fallacies. The article introduces distinction between four types of false dilemma : False quandary, Defeasible sound quandary, False obstruction and Defeasible sound obstruction. The types of criticism appropriate for each variant of false dilemma are suggested. Being able to discover false dilemma in situations when it is important to make good and free choices is a significant dimension of critical thinking. It may liberate us from accepting the consequences that necessarily follow from prearranged alternatives, when these are not the only alternatives possible. It may also liberate us from refraining from actions on the basis of obstructive disjunctive statements. In that respect, the faculty of critical thinking directed at uncovering reasoning based on false dilemma may also initiate the discovery of new alternatives, or discover the ways of unifying seemingly opposing alternatives. Thus, a well-developed ability to understand the tricky argumentative moves of false dilemma may be a good step towards initiating some features of creative thinking.
Keywords False dilemma  Constructive dilemma  Destructive dilemma  Fallacies  Fallacy  Argumentation structure  Defeasible argument  Critical thinking  Argument criticism  Argumentation theory
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DOI 10.1007/s10503-013-9292-0
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References found in this work BETA

In Contradiction: A Study of the Transconsistent.Graham Priest - 1987 - Dordrecht, Netherland: Oxford University Press.
Fallacies.Charles Leonard Hamblin - 1970 - London, England: Vale Press.
Argumentation Schemes.Douglas Walton, Chris Reed & Fabrizio Macagno - 2008 - Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
Argumentation Schemes.Douglas Neil Walton, Christopher Reed & Fabrizio Macagno - 2008 - Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
A Practical Study of Argument.Trudy Rose Govier - 1985 - Belmont, CA, USA: Wadsworth Pub. Co..

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Citations of this work BETA

Argumentative Polylogues: Beyond Dialectical Understanding of Fallacies.Marcin Lewiński - 2014 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 36 (1):193-218.
­A Defense of Analogy Inference as Sui Generis.André Lars Joen Juthe - forthcoming - Logic and Logical Philosophy:1.

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