Saturday, January 15, 2005

Examples of Ambiguity

The advocate could deceive his or her opponent, intentionally (or not), by using the alternative meaning of a word or phrase (that has more than one meaning).
An example from Andrew Bolt stacks a deck of cars - Bolt: I said cars were a "public good", not that they will or intend good. To object to this term is to object to English both everyday and plain in meaning – such as that "this food is good", "that was a good kick" and more.
The use of "good" in these cases is ambiguous. The word "good" has completely different meanings (one to do with right and wrong, the other with quality). As such his reply is meaningless as a rebuttal. He could also say, "this food is delicious", "that was a ripper kick" but then, by his reasoning, he'd have to say "public delicious" and "public ripper".
Note that this fallacy is also known as Equivocation