Semantic dispute

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For semantic arguments in linguistics, see verb argument.

A semantic dispute is a disagreement that arises if the parties involved disagree about the definition of a word or phrase, not because they disagree on material facts, but rather because they disagree on the definitions of a word (or several words) essential to formulating the claim at issue. It is sometimes held that semantic disputes are not genuine disputes at all, but very often they are regarded as perfectly genuine, e.g., in philosophy. It is also sometimes held that when a semantic dispute arises, the focus of the debate should switch from the original thesis to the meaning of the terms of which there are different definitions (understandings, concepts, etc.). Semantic disputes can result in the logical fallacy of equivocation. In politics, for example, semantic disputes can involve the meaning of words such as liberal, democrat, conservative, republican, progressive, free, welfare or socialist.[1]

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  1. ^ Devitt, Michael (1994). "The Methodology of Naturalistic Semantics". The Journal of Philosophy. 91 (10): 545–572. doi:10.2307/2940802. JSTOR 2940802.