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Debate vs. dialogue: Can debate avoid the problem of false dichotomy?

  • Debate Can Avoid the Problem of False Dichotomy

    Debate can avoid the problem of false dichotomy, a black and white way of thinking. False dichotomies occur when there are limited options to consider in a given situation but there is another option that a person does not consider. If using the black and white way of thinking, a participant in a debate may say that one thing is good and another thing is bad. To avoid or overcome this false dichotomy, one must consider that there are both good and bad in all things.

  • False dichotomy can never fully be avoided.

    Although debate can fight the problem of false dichotomy, false dichotomy can never fully be avoided. The reason for this is because, as individuals, we pool various experiences and ideas together to form opinions. The degree to which we hold onto those opinions and the passion with which we express them is based in part on the level of personal experience we draw upon to form ideas. This is essentially what leads to fanaticism and the idea of a black and white world.


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