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Fallacy OF Equivocation

September 24th, 2009

Taxonomy – Where am I?

Fallacy OF Equivocation

classification : informal – fallacies of ambiguity

This fallacy is perhaps the most simple and obvious of the fallacies of ambiguity.
An ambiguous word or statement is used more than once in the same argument, with the meaning shifting implicitly but significantly between uses. It therefore leads to a misleading or mistaken conclusion.


Equivocation is the type of ambiguity which occurs when a single word or phrase is ambiguous, and this ambiguity is not grammatical but lexical. It can be used both to seemingly belittle a concept or idea, or to raise one up to false pretenses.


Chinese is difficult. I am a Chinese, therefore I am difficult.

Brad is a nobody, but since nobody is perfect, Brad must be perfect, too.

Other Names

bait and switch

Note: On Sophistical Refutations – Translated by W. A. Pickard-Cambridge

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Categories: Logic