The equivocation fallacy is associated with a number of related concepts, which are briefly explained below. Is the speaker trying to avoid committing to a specific stance? For example, when a person is asked a direct yes-or-no question, and gives a vague response that doesn’t answer the question, that person is equivocating. However, a distinction is sometimes made by saying that the equivocation fallacy refers specifically to semantic ambiguity, that relies on the use of a certain word or phrase with multiple meanings, while the fallacy of ambiguity can also involve other forms of ambiguity, such as ambiguity that is based on grammatical structure. An example of equivocation in politics and the media is the following: Interviewer: Do you support the new law that is being proposed? synonyms or full definitions), which accurately reflect the meaning of the term in each case. The term ‘equivocation’ is sometimes used to refer to the equivocation fallacy, particularly when used in discussions on the topic of logic, though the two concepts are distinct from one another. Note: the equivocation fallacy is sometimes also referred to as the fallacy of ambiguity. For example, the statement “I have the right to say whatever I want, so it’s right for me to do so” is fallacious, because the word “right” is used in two different senses: first, to refer to something that someone is entitled to, and second, to refer to something that is morally good. When a white horse is not a horse is a paradox in Chinese philosophy, which revolves around whether it’s truthful to say that “a white horse is not a horse”. Example of Equivocation. This is explained in the following quote: “There is a special kind of equivocation that involves two people: we shall call it ‘quibbling.’ A dispute between two people is a conversation in which one of them argues for, and the other argues against, a certain conclusion. There are two main components to equivocation: As such, equivocation involves the intentional use of imprecise language, together with other forms of misleading or confusing forms of communication, such as statements that are ambiguous, contradictory, tangential, or evasive. If the equivocator is using vague language, ask them to explain their stance in a more precise manner. Accordingly, quibbling can also be viewed as a specific type of a strawman argument, since it involves attacking a distorted version of an opposing stance. How relevant are the speaker’s statements to the discussion at hand? For example, people often rely on equivocation where they’re faced with an unpleasant request, in an attempt to avoid direct conflict with the person making that request. Premise: Aspirin can help you get rid of a headache. However, the person stating that it’s possible for this statement to be true is focusing on its second, less intuitive interpretation. Note: this fallacy is sometimes also referred to as quaternio terminorum, and as the fallacy of the ambiguous middle term or the fallacy of the ambiguous middle when it occurs as a result of the equivocation fallacy, though any of the terms in the syllogism can be the one that renders it invalid. If you suspect that you might be using the equivocation fallacy, you can use the techniques that you would use to highlight this issue in other people’s speech, such as substituting the different uses of the term with a synonym or with a full definition, in order to identify such cases in your own reasoning and speech. This is because subtle shifts are more likely to occur by mistake, when it comes to unintentional uses of this fallacy, and are also more effective from a rhetorical perspective, when it comes to intentional uses of this fallacy. You can respond to the equivocation fallacy by pointing out the shift in the meaning of the problematic term and demonstrating how this invalidates the original statement, and by using additional techniques, such as substituting the different instances of the problematic term with alternatives terms (e.g. ), and I need one on video...basically, I need a video of a time when equivocation was present in some form of the media. Therefore, my research objects were examples of contemporary American political discourse in which I looked for logical fallacies. For example, in some cases, people unintentionally use more words than necessary when they have to discuss a topic that they feel uncomfortable about. 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