Equivocation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Equivocal)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

In logic, equivocation ('calling two different things by the same name') is an informal fallacy resulting from the use of a particular word/expression in multiple senses throughout an argument leading to a false conclusion.[1][2] Abbott and Costello's "Who's on first?" routine is a well known example of equivocation.[3][4]

It is a type of ambiguity that stems from a phrase having two distinct meanings, not from the grammar or structure of the sentence.[1]

Below is an example of equivocation in a syllogism (a logical chain of reasoning).

  • Since only man [human] is rational,
and no woman is a man [male],
therefore, no woman is rational.[1]

The first instance of "man" implies the human species, while the second implies just the males.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Damer, T. Edward (21 February 2008). Attacking Faulty Reasoning: A Practical Guide to Fallacy-Free Arguments. Cengage Learning. pp. 121–123. ISBN 0-495-09506-0.
  2. ^ Fischer, D. H. (June 1970), Historians' fallacies: toward a logic of historical thought, Harper torchbooks (first ed.), New York: HarperCollins, p. 274, ISBN 978-0-06-131545-9, OCLC 185446787
  3. ^ Curtis, Gary (n.d.). "Logical Fallacy: Equivocation". The Fallacy Files. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  4. ^ Abbott & Costello Who's On First on YouTube