Ambiguity fallacy

Ambiguity – by Kiky and Alyssa

Poorly defined phrases that can often mean two different things. When an unclear phrase with multiple definitions is used within the argument; therefore, does not support the conclusion.  Some will say single words count for the ambiguity fallacy, which is really a specific form of a fallacy known as equivocation.


All living beings come from other living beings.  Therefore, the first forms of life must have come from a living being.  That living being is God.


This argument is guilty of two cases of ambiguity.  First, the first use of the phrase, “come from”, refers to reproduction, whereas the second use refers to origin.  The fact that we know quite a bit about reproduction is irrelevant when considering origin. Second, the first use of, “living being”, refers to an empirically verifiable, biological, living organism.  The second use of, “living being”, refers to a belief in an immaterial god. As you can see, when a term such as, “living being”, describes a Dodo bird as well as the all-powerful master of the universe, it has very little meaning and certainly is not specific enough to draw logical or reasonable conclusions.

It is often used as a double meaning or language to misuse or misrepresent the truth

Example : A judge asks why a man is not paying his fines for parking, the man says “The sign said ‘Fine for parking’ so I assumed it would be fine to park there.

Example: Blind animals are rare.

But rare animals are usually expensive.

Therefore blind animals are more expensive than sighted animals.

Of course, this isn’t a logical argument. Both ‘rare’ and ‘expensive’ are not clearly defined here, and no actual evidence is present.

Atwood was a feminist.

All feminists only see things their way.

Therefore The Handmaid’s Tale doesn’t show examples of events at the time it was written because Atwood had a distorted perspective.


Posted by bagleyg

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