MODR1770B Note 5
Fallacy of Ambiguity
(Known as Linguistic fallacies)
- The acceptability of criterion of a good argument premises that are vague,
open to doubt, are not acceptable.
- Could occur by virtue of one word, combination of one of more, or by the
- (Do not worry about amphiboly)
- False Cause x y because there’s a causal relationship.
- Words get their meaning based on how we use language in our society.
- Two types of meaning
o Descriptive (denotative) It’s a literal meaning of the word
o Prescriptive (connotative). They are internal because of the values we
attach to it. It’s a judgmentive value.
Euphemism: a substitute that is a nice way we can convey the
massage instead of saying something mean
- Fallacy of Equivocation
o Occurs when a keyword in an argument has two or more meanings,
and it changes the way of the argument.
o Uses the substitution method (if the fallacy is equivocation, do this in
your test). Step 6: You restate the premises, and then you look for
equivalent synonyms and substitute them there. Then, in your
analysis how the synonyms strengthen the argument, and make them
- Fallacy of Accent
o When you stress a word in a sentence and thereby change the
meaning of the whole sentence
o Intended tone of voice is uncertain
o Stress is unclear
o Quoted out of context.
o Always takes a sarcastic tone/voice.
- Hypostatization (Reification)
o When you take an abstract word. Abstract: it’s purely a mental
thought, there’s no external reference: virtue, truth, beauty, etc.
o Occurs when an abstraction is turned into a real, concrete thing
o To reify something is to convert an abstract concept into a concrete
o Ascribing substance or real existence to mental constructs or concepts
- Division and Composition
o These fallacies deal with physical objects (not abstract)
o Division: what is true of the whole, must be true about each of its part:
This is a great movie, therefore everyone in this movie are