A:Do you adore chocolate cake?

B:No. (But he likes it)

A:Oh, B hates chocolate cake!

3 Answers 3


Sounds like false dichotomy to me. Just because B doesn't adore cake doesn't mean that the only other possibility is that he hates it.


I agree with Roger's answer. This is a false dichotomy; since B doesn't "adore" chocolate cake, B must "hate" chocolate cake.

In truth, B may be "indifferent" to chocolate cake, and can eat it or leave it; B may also "like" chocolate cake, but have food allergies that rule out chocolate cake, and thus would have more of a pleasure+pain reaction, of liking the chocolate cake, but hating the subsequent resulting effects of hives, sweats, etc. that occur when B actually eats chocolate cake.

It's a false dichotomy partly because A's intent seems to be to "label" B with an either-or label that falsely represents B's actual position. A also seems to be very enthusiastic about labeling B in this way, and seems to be doing the labeling for "public consumption", announcing it to the world, e.g., to embarrass B. Note that A doesn't say "YOU hate chocolate cake" back to B, but is saying "B HATES chocolate cake" for the benefit of other parties who are present. It comes across a purposeful, calculated statement by A to embarrass B, and not an innocent error of logic.

Some elements of a "straw man" are also present, in that A misrepresents B's position on the issue of chocolate cake. A does not go any further in this limited example, such as attacking B for hating chocolate cake, so I can't label it as a straw man.


I don't think you can call it a logical fallacy.

Logic deals mainly with assertions and not with intentions (in the sense of "mental acts").

So we cannot "extract" a contradiction from B's answer, that sounds like "He is saying that 'he don't like cakes' but in fact he likes them".

  • No, he's saying he doesn't love cake, he only likes it.
    – Roger
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 15:20
  • 1
    Ok, sorry. So it is not a case of contradiction (asserting the negation) bot only of "grades" ... "to like" is "not to hate" but is less than "to adore". So, if the "logical space" is made of npossibilities all mutual exclusive, with n more than two, we can represent it as a disjunction (XOR) of them; then, to affirm one of the possibilities does not implies the negation of someone of the remaining, being them n-1, with n more than 1. Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 15:38

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