Either-Or Fallacy & False Analogies

Samantha Down
 Also
known as the “black and white fallacy”
or “false dilemma”
 An
either/or fallacy is when a speaker
makes a claim that presents an artificial
range of choices. For instance, he may
suggest that there are only two choices
possible, when three or more really
exist. Those who use an either/or fallacy try
to force their audience to accept a
conclusion by presenting only two possible
options, one of which is clearly more
 These
tactics are mean to persuade those
who are not well informed on a topic. A
clever writer or speaker may use the
either/or fallacy to make his idea look
better when compared to an even worse
 Either-Or
can still be used in a few
situations; “Either she’s pregnant or she’s
not”. But many times it is used to
oversimplify a situation in attempt to prove a
 "We
either have to fight them over there,
or we have to fight them over here.“
• This is not a valid argument because there are
many other possibilities as well. There could be
no fight at all, or resources can be shifted to
keeping them out rather than letting them in.
Either-or arguments such as these make the
speaker seem uninformed on their topic
 “You’re
either with us or your against us.”
 “Either
you’re a leader or you’re a
 “Either
you’re a part of the problem or
you’re a part of the solution.”
Also known as a “weak analogy”
In an analogy, two objects (or events), A and B are
shown to be similar. Then it is argued that since A has
property P, so also B must have property P. An
analogy fails when the two objects, A and B, are
different in a way which affects whether they both
have property P.
Example: Employees are like nails. Just as nails must
be hit in the head in order to make them work, so
must employees.
• Comparing employees to nails as a valid argument is weak and
“Love is like a rubber band - stretch it too far and
it will snap, just like your relationship.”
“People are like dogs. They respond best to clear
“A school is not so different from a business. It
needs a clear competitive strategy that will lead
to profitable growth.”
An analogy compares two things point by point.
A false analogy finds one similarity then claims
they are similar because of it.
 “Bill
Clinton has no experience of
serving in the military. To have Bill
Clinton become president, and thus
commander in chief of the armed forces
of the United States, is like electing some
passer-by on the street to fly the space
• This argument is clearly not valid, there is a
huge difference between a random person flying
a shuttle and Bill Clinton becoming President.
Change the Following sentences to make
then valid arguments.
• “I'm not pro-choice; I'm pro-life.”
• “Clogged arteries require surgery to clear
them; our clogged highways require equally
drastic measures.”
• “I’m not a doctor, but your runny nose and
cough tell me that you either have a cold or
the flu.”
"The Bush "There or Here" Fallacy and the War in Iraq by Carson
Day." SearchWarp Writers' Community for Do It Yourself and
Current Events Commentary. 04 Apr. 2009
"Either/Or." KsuWeb Home Page. 04 Apr. 2009
"Fallacies." The Center for Learning Technologies at Arkansas
State University. 04 Apr. 2009
"False Analogy." KsuWeb Home Page. 04 Apr. 2009
"The Logical Fallacies: False Analogy." Onegoodmove. 04 Apr.
2009 <http://www.onegoodmove.org/fallacy/falsean.htm>.