The fallacy of gray is an assertion, in the face of a lack of a clear black and white divide, that the cases are all equally good or bad. The fallacy is that (to continue the color metaphor) each case is a different shade of gray; that some cases are better (for some definition of better) than others.

The Sophisticate: “The world isn’t black and white. No one does pure good or pure bad. It’s all gray. Therefore, no one is better than anyone else.”

The Zetet: “Knowing only gray, you conclude that all grays are the same shade. You mock the simplicity of the two-color view, yet you replace it with a one-color view”

—Marc Stiegler, David’s Sling

I don’t know if the Sophisticate’s mistake has an official name, but I call it the Fallacy of Gray.

(Yudkowsky n.d.)


Yudkowsky, Eliezer. n.d. “The Fallacy of Gray.” Accessed February 17, 2022.