ESGS Logical Fallacies

Middle Ground


Also called golden mean fallacy or fallacy of moderation.

This sort of "reasoning" has the following form:


This line of "reasoning" is fallacious because it does not follow that a position is correct just because it lies in the middle of two extremes. It is a fallacious way to solve a false dilemma. This fallacy draws its power from the fact that a moderate or middle position is often the correct one. However, the claim that the moderate or middle position is correct must be supported by legitimate reasoning.

This fallacy is frequently made by those who misinterpret the rejection of the Aristotelian premise of excluded middle, in gs, the contrary of "there is no middle ground" being "there can be a middle ground", not "there is always a middle ground" or "middle ground is better than extremes".


This computer costs $1,000. I would only pay $500 for it. So the right price is $750.
You can eventually make such deals in a small shop.

A door is either open or closed. Therefore, it must be half-open.
A door can be closed or open.

Those two women claim the baby. Therefore, each one should have half of him.
King Solomon would not believe it.


Many negotiations are about finding a middle ground. Every party will usually make exaggerated claims in order to reach a satisfactory settlement on middle ground.


If you must take a middle ground position, make sure you can support it independently of the fact that it is between the two extremes.
If your opponent takes a middle ground position, check that he can support that position independently of the fact that it is between the two extremes.

Remembering that non-Aristolelian logic is not the opposite of Aristotelian logic, but includes it as a special case, can help you avoid these fallacies.

© ESGS, 2002.