Talk:Argument to moderation

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Just a side note: I think the example of Solomon and the baby doesn't accurately describe the intentions of Solomon. It's difficult to assume that Solomon actually believed that cutting the baby in half was acceptable 'middle ground'.

Agreed and clarified. Nautilator 28 Sept 06

Logical fallacy?[edit]

IS the middle ground always a fallacy? is there no cases where the middle ground is actually achievable? IF the middle ground is always a fallacy, maybe this article should be deleted, and all references to it should be redirected to "false compromise fallacy" Dullfig 17:44, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Middle Ground as a claim to truth IS always a fallacy. Consider the following example: "Boiling water is comparatively cold, molten lava is comparatively hot. Therefore it is best to bathe in molten lead, it is the middle ground."
Of course, this is absurd. But that's how the fallacy of the middle ground works - it claims the middle ground is best because it is in the middle, not for some other merit. And what exactly constitutes the "extremes" is very subjective. --TheOtherStephan 07:54, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
I think it needs to be made clear that the argument from middle ground is a fallacy. The middle ground is a logical fallacy, that doesn't mean however that whatever is the middle ground (however you determine that) is right or wrong. Saying "The US flag has 13 stripes, therefore the Pope is Catholic" is a bad argument - it does not mean, however, that the pope is not Catholic; nor does it mean he is. - Matthew238
Exactly. The examples given show that some contributors to this article are not clear on the concept. The problem of the fallacy, is not that it strives for the middle. The problem is that it declares that the middle is always right, for principle's sake. It ignores the fact that sometimes the midle is not the best solution, although some times the midle is. The problem is that the middle should stand on its own merits, and not because it is simply the midle.
Let me see if I can put it differently: sometimes the midle is good, sometimes the middle is bad. The middle ground fallacy says that the middle is ALWAYS right, no matter what. Dullfig 00:48, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

The middle ground isn't always a fallacy as it is not always a claim to truth. The middle ground is often a position that is taken for strategic reasons and relevancy of truth sometimes has nothing to do with the strategy. The danger in the fallacy argument is implying that because a position isn't true that it's a bad position to take.Statsphil (talk) 13:36, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Aiming for the middle ground is often a useful strategy for minimizing the magnitude of error, in a situation where committing some kind of an error is inevitable (ie. many real-world situations). Problem with this page is that "middle ground" redirects to a page that only says middle ground is a logical fallacy and leaves it at that. It is incredibly easy to misinterpret it as saying every position that's not extremist is wrong because only extremes can be true (which claim would itself be a logical fallacy of the highest order). Also there is nowhere that I can see on WP where middle ground would be defined as a concept: all there is is a page where it's called a fallacy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:14, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Middle Ground is NOT always fallacious. It is a pragmatic compromise. It can be a "false compromise" which is why it is called a "false compromise". But there are also instances where truth is unclear on both sides of the argument. In which case Middle Ground is a solution from pragmatism utilising the Golden mean or Aristotlean Mean. For example, if the issue is "Should alcohol be banned". The key point that the Russian makes is that its fallacious when one (or both) of the arguments are false themselves. But if both arguments are sufficiently valid or arguably valid for example "alcohol should be allowed because i believe the state shouldn't tell me what i should drink, and if it were illegal it would be sold on the black market anyways" versus "alcohol should be banned because its carcinogenic and causes a lot of health problems that are carried not only by the individual but by the state", then a pragmatic resolution is "we should allow access to alcohol but also heavily monitor and tax the distribution of alcohol as well as educate against the use of it as well as the health effects it incurs". Here we see that the Middle Ground which includes both allowing access and preventing access is achieved and so it is not fallacious but merely pragmatic. There is truth in all three positions. Jsky87 (talk) 01:04, 2 March 2017 (UTC)Jsky87 12:04, 2 March 2017 (AEST)


Can the author of the example maybe elaborate why neutrality in war is to be considered a logical fallacy? If this is merely an example of the rampant "If you are not with America, you're against it"-Bushism, then I request it be removed. --TheOtherStephan 07:50, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Neutrality in war is not a logical fallacy, but middle ground is a logicaly fallacious argument for neutrality in war. - Matthew238 22:19, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Merge with False compromise?[edit]

As this article and False compromise discuss what is essentially the same concept, I'm thinking they ought to be merged. Which term is more frequently used for this particular fallacy? -UI (talk) 00:51, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I believe there are other terms as well, such as the fallacy of moderation or the golden mean fallacy. In any case, if they are different in any way someone needs to make it clear exactly how that is so. If not, they should certainly be merged. Richard001 (talk) 01:37, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
These articles discuss precisely the same thing and only have different titles because their authors used names from competing websites. The Latin name for the fallacy discussed on both pages is argumentum ad temperantiam, which would be properly translated as "argument to moderation" (though for the sake of English semantics, many would translate it as "argument from moderation"). As such, I would suggest they be merged under either "argumentum ad temperantiam" or "argument to moderation" and the list of fallacies be changed accordingly. As the list of fallacies tends to favor English translations over the original Latin, I suppose "argument to moderation" might be the better choice. The currently existing pages false compromise, middle ground, and argumentum ad temperantiam could all serve as redirects to argument to moderation. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 17:03, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
hmm, just because the wikipedia articles seem to refer to the same thing does not necessarily mean they are the same thing. I don't think these actually refer to the same thing. --Buridan (talk) 18:23, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
The false compromise article does suggest it is similar to middle ground, which would indicate they are not identical. Yet we are given no reason to believe this. They seem identical to me, and you haven't exactly outlined the difference yourself, if there is one. Richard001 (talk) 04:46, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
These are definitely the same thing. The leads tell the whole story. What's another, more technical, way to say "a compromise between two positions is correct"? How about, "X and Y are opposite alternatives. So Z, a middle path, is the best choice"? There are slight differences in the articles, but both are just variations on the argument to moderation. And the fallacy is the fallacy, in all its many incarnations. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 19:49, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Okay, let's merge them then. Pick a name for the merged article and we'll do it. Richard001 (talk) 22:55, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Given that the fallacy box favors English names over Latin names (with only a few, easily recognizable exceptions), I suggest argument to moderation as the article name and false compromise, middle ground, and argumentum ad temperantiam as redirects. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:09, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

I'll get to work on it soon. Another name I've heard is golden mean fallacy, and I think there are some others I've seen on the internet. Richard001 (talk) 01:03, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

I'd be wary of adding too many redirects, though golden mean fallacy seems to be a good idea to me. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 13:18, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I've made a start. Still need to sort out which examples to keep in the merged version, and if there's anything else from false compromise worth keeping. You feel like finishing things off? Richard001 (talk) 08:03, 6 March 2008 (UTC)


I fail to see why mentioning that schools should teach intelligent design alongside evolution is relevant to this topic.Darkrevenger (talk) 01:48, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

No examples are going to be 'relevant' except as examples. What do you expect? Richard001 (talk) 09:06, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
While I'm against Intelligent Design, it seems POV to say that teaching about the debate is a logical fallacy. -- (talk) 21:11, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
As an appeal to moderation it is, by definition. Richard001 (talk) 23:09, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Reference box[edit]

The following reference box is mildly amusing. I was going to delete it but it would be a shame for others like me, who found it funny.

To explain: . That is a fallacy happily put forward by Wikipedians. Similar to "Argument to moderation" --Jono4174 (talk) 07:45, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Why not an essay?[edit]

This would seem to work better as a Wikipedia essay rather than trying to be an actual serious article. Just a thought. Some of the examples given a just silly. I removed what I thought was the silliest. The Sound and the Fury (talk) 06:49, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

another example[edit]

The "Examples" section is too long and uncited already, but in case it's useful to anyone I'll mention my favorite rendition: "Your little brother steals all your toys, and you get in a big fight, and your mom comes along and breaks it up and says, "Boys, we're going to learn how to compromise: you get half the toys, and you get half the toys." —Steve Summit (talk) 13:25, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

More on Examples[edit]

The first three examples to date are just nonsense. Some real cases would be a better replacement. By the way, HCN is found in almonds, so the truth actually does somehow lie inbetween! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:09, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

just like Wikipedia[edit]

You know, those words "the middle ground fallacy allows any position to be invalidated, even those that have been reached by previous applications of the same method" can be applied to just about every debate in which biased and warring Wikipedia editors try to apply our neutrality principles. —Steve Summit (talk) 13:30, 21 July 2012 (UTC)


This article is not about logic it is about politics — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:03, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

A mess![edit]

I have to agree with the unsigned comment above regarding the examples, but also to go further and say that I find the article as a whole a mess. The fundamental issue of WHY and HOW the middle-ground can be used to create a fallacious argument is weakly addressed. Instead the article is packed with examples and text that fail to be relevant. The middle-ground (compromise, average, etc) is not in and of itself fallacious. If you feel water at 70'C too hot and water at 10'C too cold then it is not fallacious to say that you will find water at 40'C not too hot and not too cold (whatever those terms may mean). However if metal at 0'C is too cold and at 1000'C too hot a similar conclusion may be ridiculous but again not incorrect. It seems to me to require the addition of the concept of "comfortable" to begin to convert the examples into something concerning logic. The example of crossing the canyon is equally sloppy. The two positions are incomparable. One is a wish and a method and the other a wish but no method. The middle-ground cited is betwen the method and the absence of method, using a linear measure of each, with the method of "not crossing the canyon" being asserted as comparable and measured as zero feet. The bottom line is that the examples and much of the text, are simply examples of sloppy thinking and sloppiness, not of a particular logical fallacy.LookingGlass (talk) 10:45, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Added "unreliable source?"[edit]

I added "unreliable source?" to this source. It is hardly reliable, as the anonymous source author uses an invalid example of the fallacy: One of the "extremes" mentioned in the very first and basic example, the market value of $800, is *not* an extreme. Therefore the anonymous author is hardly a credible source as they do not even get the examples right; it shows that they didn't really understand the fallacy themself. --Jhertel (talk) 15:03, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

Find better examples[edit]

Except the first one, all the other examples are bad. They are almost appeal to ridicule. I propose to remove them all but the first, until we can find better ones.--
David Latapie ( | @) — www 16:50, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

Agreed, we do not need ten similar illustrations of "X suggested one thing, but Y suggested the opposite, so they compromised on an impossible or ridiculous midway point". The sourced example about slavery seems sufficient by itself. --McGeddon (talk) 12:17, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

I find that the current position is altogether too much against middle positions in general, as it only notes arguments against. I would suggest adding the "nature vs nurture" argument as a well-known example of where the middle groung proved to be right: today, it is generally accepted that both genes and environment have an influence. Other examples might be the question whether the market should be regulated by the state or not at all; no regulation can lead to monopolies while heavy regulation suppresses progress. Or the question of authorative vs anti-authorative education; here again it was found that neither leads to a desireable outcome. Or, related to this, the question of complete freedom (as in being allowed to do EVERYTHING including murder etc) or no freedom at all. On a side note, I find the comment "unlike Russians who are looking for the absolute truth" in the first paragraph very weird. Besucherin (talk) 06:51, 19 April 2016 (UTC)


Is this really even a fallacy? No one actually believes that the truth is ALWAYS somewhere(or EXACTLY) in the middle, yet the article acts as if people are going around doing precisely that. Argument to moderation is just a reminder that even though you have two parties arguing opposing opinions, especially if those opinions are extreme, neither are necessarily correct and often a compromise is the correct solution. Is the fallacy when some people use it as an absolute rule rather than a rule of thumb? Even if that were the case though the examples given are ridiculous.

A reminder too, that the argument is that the truth lies somewhere in the middle of two extremes, not exactly in the middle. In truth ingesting small enough doses of cyanide is harmless, for the same reason ingesting too much water or oxygen is dangerous. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)