Understanding Fallacies

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Fallacy of Ambiguity

Amphibology

An amphiboly occurs when the construction of a sentence allows it to have two different meanings.

Example

  1. Last night I shot a burglar in my pyjamas.
  2. The Oracle of Delphi told Croseus that if he pursued the war he would destroy a mighty kingdom. (What the Oracle did not mention was that the kingdom he destroyed would be his own. Adapted from Heroditus, The Histories.)
  3. Save soap and waste paper. (From Copi, p. 115)

Proof

Identify the ambiguous phrase and show the two possible interpretations.

Reference

(Copi and Cohen: 114)

Reference Guide
Fallacy Summary

The content of this Fallacy originated from Stephen Downes Guide to Logical Fallacies.

 

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