Argument to moderation


Argument to moderation

Argument to moderation (Latin: argumentum ad temperantiam, also known as middle ground, false compromise, gray fallacy and the golden mean fallacy) is a logical fallacy which asserts that given two positions there exists a compromise between them which must be correct.

An individual demonstrating the false compromise fallacy implies that the positions being considered represent extremes of a continuum of opinions, and that such extremes are always wrong, and the middle ground is always correct.[1] This is not always the case. Sometimes only X or Y is acceptable, with no middle ground possible. Additionally, the middle ground fallacy allows any position to be invalidated, even those that have been reached by previous applications of the same method; all one must do is present yet another, radically opposed position, and the middle-ground compromise will be forced closer to that position. In politics, this is part of the basis behind Overton Window Theory.

Contents

Examples

  • "Some would say that hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet, but others claim it is a toxic and dangerous substance. The truth must therefore be somewhere in between."
  • "Bob says we should buy a computer. Sue says we shouldn't. Therefore, the best solution is to compromise and buy half a computer."
  • "Should array indices start at 0 or 1? My compromise of 0.5 was rejected without, I thought, proper consideration." - Stan Kelly-Bootle
  • The choice of 48 bytes as the ATM cell payload size, as a compromise between the 64 bytes proposed by parties from the United States and the 32 bytes proposed by European parties; the compromise was made for entirely political reasons, since it did not technically favor either of the parties.[2]

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/middle-ground.html
  2. ^ D. Stevenson, "Electropolitical Correctness and High-Speed Networking, or, Why ATM is like a Nose", Proceedings of TriCom '93, April 1993.

External links


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