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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 any given compromise between two positions 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.


  • "Some would say that arsenic is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet, but others claim it is a toxic and dangerous substance. The truth is somewhere in between..."
  • "Bill owns a cake. Jake would like to have the cake. Bill wants to keep it. Therefore, 1/2 of the cake should be given to Jake."
  • "Officials from the Democratic Republic of O have reminded the world again and again that the intermediary territory of E entirely belongs to them; those of the Republic of A flatly state that E should be divided equally between them. In the interest of reducing grounds of contension between nation-states, the international deciduary body has therefore impartially decided that three-quarters of E will be accorded to O and one-quarter to A."
  • "Jane and Bill are married. Jane believes they should be monogamous, but Bill would like to have an extramarital affair. As a compromise, Bill offers to be faithful on weekdays and only spend weekends with his lover."
  • 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 alsoEdit


  2. D. Stevenson, "Electropolitical Correctness and High-Speed Networking, or, Why ATM is like a Nose", Proceedings of TriCom '93, April 1993.

External linksEdit

Template:Relevance fallacies Template:Informal Fallacyfa:توسل به میانه‌روی he:אד טמפרנטיאם lt:Netikrasis kompromisas hu:Argumentum ad temperantiam pt:Argumentum ad temperantiam

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