There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff — we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.
If everyone seeing this today donates $5, we will meet our goal for 2018.
| Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.|
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with !
Fallacy of ambiguity
| Part of the series on|
Logic and rhetoric
“”Claim X is made. Y is concluded based on an ambiguous understanding of X.
A fallacy of ambiguity occurs when a conclusion is drawn from premises that are unclear. When an unclear premise is used, it may not support the conclusion.
Several names exist, including:
- Semantical ambiguity
- Type-token ambiguity
In essence, the fallacy involves two steps:
- Premises are presented that are unclear enough to allow for more than one conclusion.
- A single conclusion is drawn from these premises.
Here are two examples:
P1. It is said that we have a good understanding of our universe.
C1. Therefore, we know exactly how it began and exactly when.
P1. All living beings come from other living beings.
C1. Therefore, the first forms of life must have come from a living being.
C2. That living being is God.
- Fallacy of accent, where the stress or a word or words is unclear and makes the meaning unclear
- Fallacy of amphiboly, where grammatical uncertainty makes the meaning of a sentence unclear
- Equivocation, where one word has two or more separate meanings that are switched between in the course of a sentence
- Quote mining, where context is removed to make a point (which the context may disprove, downplay, or explain)
- Phantom distinction, where two functionally synonymous terms are treated as separate
- Moral equivalence, where two distinct moral/immoral ideas are treated as the equally moral/immoral
- Wronger than wrong, where two partially false ideas are treated as equally false
- See the Wikipedia article on extraneous and missing solutions.
- Fallacies of Ambiguity, Philosophy Pages
- Ambiguity, Vagueness, Fallacy Files
- Fallacies of Ambiguity, About.com
- Attacking Faulty Reasoning, T. Damer
- Your logical fallacy is ambiguity, YLFI