Say you have an idea and it needs to be tested by argument. But you also have a backup idea that helps you beat it if the critic is too strong. The backup is not necessary wrong or a fallacy, it's just not rigorous enough so that people can't tell where it's wrong. What is that backup idea called?

I have thought about "backup plan" or "exit plan", but I think they are more likely used in business strategies than normal conversations. Maybe the problem lies in the word "plan"? I don't need them to emphasize the that they are not wrong, but it should as least don't suggest that they are wrong.

  • @AzureHeights close, but it still have the connotation of business strategy? Maybe the problem lies in the word "plan"? is there a way to keep the "fallback" but with another word? – Ooker Jun 9 '18 at 6:08
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    It may help you beat a critic, but not win a critic. Look up these commonly confused words in your dictionary. – James K Jun 9 '18 at 6:21
  • Why is this question is bad or not useful? – Ooker Jun 11 '18 at 1:19

Fallback argument may be the term you're looking for. An argument would be more specific to the situation, and fallback implies that it is only really a last resort if your other arguments weren't sufficient to convince the critic.

  • actually reading your explanation I think the word I'm looking for is "last resort". But thanks anyway – Ooker Jun 9 '18 at 6:18
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    @Ooker: A last resort does not convey the meaning you asked for. It has nothing to do with being right or wrong or convincing anyone or deflecting criticism. Fallback argument fits rather precisely what you've asked for. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 9 '18 at 9:30

"Backup plan" does not sound like a business strategy term to me. It can be used broadly.

You could also consider the following:

  • an ace up your sleeve; to have an ace up your sleeve
    • have (something) up (one's) sleeve
      To have a secret plan, idea, or advantage that can be utilized if and when it is required. A reference to cheating at a card game by hiding a favorable card up one's sleeve. I have a few tricks up my sleeve if he decides to pursue legal action against me. She has a card up her sleeve if they ever try to fire her, since she knows about the boss's unscrupulous business practices.
  • trump card
    1. A resource used to gain an advantage over others, often by being held and then used at an opportune time. I have a feeling the prosecution still hasn't played their trump card in this trial—I expect a big revelation during tomorrow's testimony.
  • plan B
    A secondary "backup" plan to be undertaken should one's original plan fail or prove unfeasible. We're running a bit late, so how about plan B: Instead of getting dinner before the movie, let's just get some popcorn at the theater and eat something proper afterward. Well, the diagnostics test didn't reveal any issues with the server. Do you have a plan B?


The first two often suggest that you strongly believe, or are certain, that the alternative will succeed.

A last resort (as you mentioned in a comment) is often an option you use after multiple alternatives failed and is used out of desperation. It's often your last hope and not necessarily an option you believe will succeed.

  • thanks for getting me clear on "backup plan" and "last resort" – Ooker Jun 9 '18 at 7:45

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