What's the term/phrase when someone assumes that you take on the diametrically opposed view simply because you disagree with a position?

For example, I recently posted an article challenging monogamy, and the audience jumped to the conclusion that I was for promiscuity. Thinking that I was only promoting sexual freedom/promiscuity, they started challenging me and ignoring all nuances in between.

What is the name for this fallacious evaluation?


The reception of my article showed that many people commented based on ___________, unjustifiably assuming that my challenges were meant to discredit the discussed position in favor of its opposite extreme.

If it hasn't been coined, I'll call it a diametric fallacy.

  • Typically taking an opposite stance is called playing "Devil's Advocate". dictionary.com/browse/devil-s-advocate However, I don't believe that is what you're referring to. What you're really looking for is a term for someone who fails to see any grey areas in an argument, not necessarily simply arguing a different stance. We generally call that seeing things in "Black and white". What you're arguing is that monogamy and your stance on it, falls into a "Grey Area". You might also want to see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuum_fallacy for something that would relate to logic.
    – bhilgert
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 19:55
  • 2
    I call it jumping to conclusions.
    – Yosef Baskin
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 20:01
  • Side question: Didn't your article explain the nuance? I wonder if the "audience" was just reading the title and reacting. Or perhaps, your article could have pointed out more explicitly that you were not for promiscuity.
    – thomj1332
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 20:09
  • They didn't even read the article they just assumed I was promoting sexual promiscuity. Whereas I was exploring a middle ground of committed partnerships without the possession element that comes with monogamy.
    – John Cooper
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 20:34

3 Answers 3


False dilemma fallacy (see Wikipedia entry).

A fallacy in which something is falsely claimed to be an "either/or" situation, when in fact there is at least one additional option

While accusing the other party of the false dilemma fallacy, be careful you yourself are not falling into the gray fallacy (see Wikipedia entry). Not every debate has an "in-between" position.


The straw man fallacy involves misrepresenting an opponent’s position to make it easier to refute. Straw man arguments often oversimplify opposing views or disregard inconvenient points in favor of points that are easy to argue against. Example:

Opposing argument: Teens should be taught about contraception methods so they can practice safe sex should they choose to have intercourse.

Straw man argument: Proponents of sex education want to give kids license to have sex with no consequences.

The Grammarist link has more examples and analysis.


"If it hasn't been coined, I'll call it a diametric fallacy."

You've answered the question.


Although, one might quip that in omitting to foresee and obviate the difficulty, by failing to know the common human being and not making a proactive caveat, beware of understanding me as though I were one of you crude ones!, you must have committed some error or so-called fallacy yourself. Perhaps it should be called "logical fallacy," i.e., the fallacy of supposing fallacies are an all-ranging medicine for the horrible and unpleasant disease of ordinary thinking.

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