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Have you made your mind about whether false dichotomies are a pain or not? (Maybe this will make more sense after reading the referred post). The exercise consists in:

  1. Find a reliable dichotomy, one that is not false, one in which you really believe. If this sounds confusing, check in a dictionary the definition of “dichotomy”.
  2. Prepare a complete and exhaustive defence for this dichotomy. This defence should at least contain the following:
    1. an account of the inexistence of borderline cases;
    2. a plausible theory about why borderline cases are impossible, both in concrete existence and in conjectural terms;
    3. a clear and usable method by which we can safely split any case of one or the other poles of the dichotomy, so that we never incur the risk of having both mixed, either in time or in circumstance (that is, a guarantee that a positive case can’t turn negative neither with the passing of time nor with the change of context);
    4. an analysis of the reasons why aplying such dichotomy is relevant and important most of the time, or at least in a set of circumstances so rich and common that we can’t dismiss the dichotomy as a mere special case or as an exception;
    5. reasons to believe that this dichotomy was already effective in history, both short and long terms;
    6. reasons to believe that dichotomy will not lose validity even despite the vast changes the contemporary world is undergoing;
    7. concrete proof that the dichotomy could not be made less granular, that is to say, that the dichotomy is not a trichotomy or even a more (or much more) complex type-system which we take as a dichotomy for pure lack of deepness of analysis.

Needless to say, you win more points for each of the steps you were unable to fulfil. If you could not even find a “true dichotomy”, you get the highest marks!


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