Therefore: (3) Christianity teaches that irrationality is rewarded. (2) Faith is irrational, it is belief in the absence of or contrary to evidence. Equivocation is the deliberate use of vague or ambiguous language, with the intent of deceiving others or avoiding commitment to a specific stance. However, in other parts of the letter he uses the same word to refer to honorable behavior, i.e. The equivocation fallacy, also known as “doublespeak”, arises when a word or phrase is used ambiguously in an argument, making the argument misinforming. This sort of equivocation is often unconscious – that is, the writer has not noticed the way his or her definitions change over the course of writing the argument. Moreover, this phrase is so ambiguous that, without prior knowledge of the situation, you might actually think that Mayor Emanuel’s policy was the opposite of school closures! However, the Robot Devil tricks her – she thinks that she is agreeing to give up one of her physical hands, but in fact she is agreeing to give the Devil her hand in marriage. Obi-Wan’s equivocation is perhaps justified by the fact that the desire for vengeance is what initially sets Luke on his path to becoming a Jedi. Real sentences showing how to use Equivocation correctly. Equivocation is a fallacy by which a specific word or phrase in an argument is used with more than one meaning.It's also known as semantic equivocation. For example, it is commonly used in the political arena when someone wishes to avoid answering a certain question directly and gives a vague response that doesn’t really address the question. The Robot Devil is equivocating in his agreement with Leela. Commonly known as “doublespeak,” equivocation (pronounced ee-QUIV-oh-KAY-shun) is the use of vague language to hide one’s meaning or to avoid committing to a point of view. For example, it is commonly used in the political arena when someone wishes to avoid answering a certain question directly and gives a vague response that doesn’t really address the question. An elephant is an animal. Equivocation is when a word shifts meaning in an argument. It’s often used by dishonest politicians who want to seem like they agree with everyone. In an episode of Futurama, Leela agrees to give her hand to the Robot Devil in exchange for new robotic ears. Equivocation Fallacy: Examples. Nothing is better than Hamburgers. This is a popular example, and I do not know the original source. Equivocation Fallacy: Definition and Examples, Fallacies – Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Outcome Bias: How it Affects Your Decision-Making and How to Overcome it, The Fallacy of False Analogy: Definition and Examples, The Dunning-Kruger Effect: How People Tend to Overestimate Their Own Abilities, The Bandwagon Effect: Why We Conform to the Majority Opinion, Loss Aversion Bias: How We Fear Losses More Than Value Gains, What is a Cognitive Bias? Writers and speakers may use elaborate constructions to avoid discussing something directly, and if these circumlocutions involve ambiguous language, then they’re also equivocations. Subscribe to receive our newsletter and get notified whenever we post new content. A lie is not actually told 2. In other words, someone uses the same phrase to mean two different things in a way that renders the argument unsound. Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn / The power of man, for none of woman born / Shall harm Macbeth. Semantic equivocation can also be compared to polysemy, in which a single … Therefore, I will go to heaven.”, “A man is the only intelligent animal on the planet. However, he is ultimately killed by Macduff, a man who was birthed by Caesarean section – in Elizabethan culture, this means he was never “born.” Thus, the prophecy is an equivocation, leading Macbeth to believe he is invincible when in fact he is not. Thus, practices such as waterboarding, mock execution, and nasal feeding, which are clearly defined as torture under international law, were excluded under Bush’s special definition. Equivocation Fallacy: Definition and Examples The term equivocation refers to the use of ambiguous language in an attempt to hide the truth or avoid commitment to a point of view. In a famous letter to his son, the Roman philosopher Cicero begins by admonishing the young man not to pursue “honor,” i.e. In Shakespeare’s play, the Weird Sisters (witches who can predict the future) reassure Macbeth that he cannot be killed by anyone “of woman born.” Macbeth takes this to mean that no human beings can destroy him. Let us look at some popular, hilarious, and widely-used examples of equivocation fallacy in politics, media, and in our everyday lives. Sometimes, equivocation fallacy occurs unintentionally, but there are times when it is used on purpose. However, he is ultimately killed by Macduff, a man who was birthed by Caesarean section – in Elizabethan culture, this means he was never “born.” Thus, the prophecy is an equivocation, leading Macbeth to believe he is invincible when in fact he is not. Pain killers will make a headache go away. The two may never speak, which means there are no opportunities for equivocation; however, the administrator is definitely prevaricating and attempting to avoid difficult questions! It’s not entirely clear whether the Allies were deliberately equivocating when they wrote the treaty, or whether they simply re-interpreted it after the fact to suit their convenience. Philosophy students are taught how to argue, but shouldn't we teach them something more helpful? In Star Wars: A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke the Darth Vader “betrayed and murdered your father.” [SPOILER:] It turns out that Darth Vader actually is Luke’s father, and that Obi-Wan was speaking metaphorically. The witches are themselves a vague set of characters who talk in a puzzling riddle-like manner. In this example, the fallacy of equivocation occurs because the word “star” is mistakenly used in two, unrelated senses. In formal arguments, equivocation can be used to make a deceptively persuasive argument. fame and glory. However, prevarication is a broader term that can also encompass non-verbal behaviors: for example, imagine an administrator who avoids being in the same room as a newspaper reporter. An ambiguous term like “freedom” or “justice” may be used in one sense at the beginning, and in another sense at the end, so that the argument can establish faulty conclusions with a seemingly valid argument. Considered a logical fallacy, equivocation fallacies arise from ambiguity.Words or phrases in these fallacies can be used ambiguously or have double meanings. Therefore, hot dogs are better than hamburgers. This argument, which is a reasonably familiar one, … Equivocation in the context of information theory measures the amount of information that is contained in a random variable or other unknown quantity, given the knowledge over another random variable. Compare this with the related term of amphiboly, in which the ambiguity is in the grammatical construction of the sentence rather than just a single word or phrase. An equivocator is a person who tries to mislead through language. A word’s multiple meanings are being played off one another for rhetorical effect. Real-World Examples (1) Christianity teaches that faith is necessary for salvation. Examples. Taxes are a true headache. In many cases, this is synonymous with equivocation. In Shakespeare’s play, the Weird Sisters (witches who can predict the future) reassure Macbeth that he cannot be killed by anyone “of woman born.” Macbeth takes this to mean that no human beings can destroy him. Thus, many territories in the Middle East and North Africa remained under European control. For instance when Macbeth goes to see them for the second time they are very vague about predicting his future, intentionally confusing him and making him overly confident. I have faith in evolutionary theory. In 2006, then-President George W. Bush made a famous, and seemingly very clear, statement that the United States does not torture detainees. This equivocation was probably an accident on Cicero’s part, but nonetheless it has led to some confusion among scholars, who have found it difficult to pin down exactly what Cicero’s stance on honor is. Therefore, pain killers will make taxes go away. The text of the agreement states that all Arab lands in the Middle East should be independent and free after the end of the war. Definition and Examples, “Singer X is a real star. Circumlocution means “talking around” something without actually directly addressing it. Shakespeare actually makes a lot of use of equivocation in his story of Macbeth. Example of Equivocation. The Faisal-Weizmann agreement of 1919 was a treaty during World War I, signed between Emir Faisal I of Iraq and a representative of the Allies. 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