Fallacies of Ambiguity

The fallacies in this section are all cases where a word or phrase is used unclearly. There are two ways in which this can occur.

  1. The word or phrase may be ambiguous, in which case it has more than one distinct meaning.
  2. The word or phrase may be vague, in which case it has no distinct meaning.
The following are fallacies of ambiguity:
  • Equivocation (The same term is used in two different ways)
  • Amphiboly (The structure of a sentence allows two different interpretations)
  • Accent (An emphasis suggests a meaning different from what is actually said)
25 May 1995 / 06 January 1996