Equivocation

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Equivocation is a [[:Category: Logical Fallacies|logical fallacy]] that involves taking a word with more than one definition and freely substituting one definition for another.
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Equivocation is a [[logical fallacy]] that involves taking a word with more than one definition and freely substituting one definition for another.
  
For example: "A feather is light.  Therefore, a feather cannot be dark." There are two meanings of the word "light." The first sentence assumes a meaning that is the opposite of "heavy," not the opposite of "dark."
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For example:
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: "A feather is light.  Therefore, a feather cannot be dark."
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:* There are two meanings of the word ''light''.  The first sentence assumes a meaning that is the opposite of ''heavy'', not the opposite of ''dark''.
  
This fallacy is used frequently in the service of [[apologetics]] arguments. A few examples:
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This fallacy is used frequently in the service of [[apologetics]] arguments. A few relevant examples:
 
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# [[Atheism is based on faith]].
# [[Atheism is based on faith]]. There are multiple meanings of the word "faith".
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#* There are multiple meanings of the word ''[[faith]]'', for example things you trust in without critical analysis or things which people believe with good evidence.
# [[No true Scotsman]] fallacy. When somebody says "So-and-so wasn't really a [[Christian]] because he did that," they are relying on ambiguity in the word "Christian".
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# [[Prayer]] is meditation.
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#* Redefining prayer as only a form of mental meditation rather than petitions for things is often used to justify the efficacy of prayer in the petition context.
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# "[[No true Scotsman]]" fallacy.
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#* When someone says, "That person wasn't really a [[Christian]] because he did that," they are relying on ambiguity in the word ''Christian'' and redefining it to suit their needs.
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# [[The existence of laws implies a law-giver]].
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#* This stems from a confusion between [[natural law]]s and legal laws. Even legal laws do not always require a law giver.  [[Wikipedia:Common law|Common law]] can involve customs which are [[Meme]]s that evolved over time. 
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# [[Evolution is only a theory]].
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#* This plays on the confusion between the scientific and colloquial definitions of the word ''theory''.
  
 
==External Links==
 
==External Links==
  
 
* [http://www.fallacyfiles.org/equivoqu.html Fallacy files]
 
* [http://www.fallacyfiles.org/equivoqu.html Fallacy files]
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{{Logical fallacies}}
  
 
[[Category: Logical fallacies]]
 
[[Category: Logical fallacies]]

Revision as of 18:54, 10 April 2012

Equivocation is a logical fallacy that involves taking a word with more than one definition and freely substituting one definition for another.

For example:

"A feather is light. Therefore, a feather cannot be dark."
  • There are two meanings of the word light. The first sentence assumes a meaning that is the opposite of heavy, not the opposite of dark.

This fallacy is used frequently in the service of apologetics arguments. A few relevant examples:

  1. Atheism is based on faith.
    • There are multiple meanings of the word faith, for example things you trust in without critical analysis or things which people believe with good evidence.
  2. Prayer is meditation.
    • Redefining prayer as only a form of mental meditation rather than petitions for things is often used to justify the efficacy of prayer in the petition context.
  3. "No true Scotsman" fallacy.
    • When someone says, "That person wasn't really a Christian because he did that," they are relying on ambiguity in the word Christian and redefining it to suit their needs.
  4. The existence of laws implies a law-giver.
    • This stems from a confusion between natural laws and legal laws. Even legal laws do not always require a law giver. Common law can involve customs which are Memes that evolved over time.
  5. Evolution is only a theory.
    • This plays on the confusion between the scientific and colloquial definitions of the word theory.

External Links


v · d Logical fallacies
v · d Formal fallacies
Propositional logic   Affirming a disjunct · Affirming the consequent · Argument from fallacy · False dilemma · Denying the antecedent
Quantificational logic   Existential fallacy · Illicit conversion · Proof by example · Quantifier shift
Syllogistic   Affirmative conclusion from a negative premise · Exclusive premises · Necessity · Four-term Fallacy · Illicit major · Illicit minor · Undistributed middle
v · d Faulty generalisations
General   Begging the question · Gambler's fallacy · Slippery slope · Equivocation · argumentum verbosium
Distribution fallacies   Fallacy of composition · Fallacy of division
Data mining   Cherry picking · Accident fallacy · Spotlight fallacy · Hasty generalization · Special pleading
Causation fallacies   Post hoc ergo propter hoc · Retrospective determinism · Suppressed correlative · Wrong direction
Ontological fallacies   Fallacy of reification · Pathetic fallacy · Loki's Wager
v · d False relevance
Appeals   Appeal to authority · Appeal to consequences · Appeal to emotion · Appeal to motive · Appeal to novelty · Appeal to tradition · Appeal to pity · Appeal to popularity · Appeal to poverty · Appeal to spite · Appeal to wealth · Sentimental fallacy · Argumentum ad baculum
Ad hominem   Ad hominem abusive · Reductio ad Hitlerum · Judgmental language · Straw man · Tu quoque · Poisoning the well
Genetic Fallacies   Genetic fallacy · Association fallacy · Appeal to tradition · Texas sharpshooter fallacy
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