For example, the following is a famous joke by comedian Groucho Marx, which relies on amphibology: “I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. Doublespeak is deliberately obscure language, that revolves around the use of ambiguity, distorted terms, and euphemisms. 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. For example, equivocation often involves the use of red herrings, which in this context are irrelevant statements that distract people from the main issue that’s being discussed. Note: the equivocation fallacy is sometimes also referred to as the fallacy of ambiguity. In political campaigns, ad hominem attacks are nothing new. One potential explanation for this paradox is that the statement involves the equivocation fallacy, when it comes to the different possible meanings of the word ‘is’. Equivocation is the deliberate use of vague or ambiguous language, with the intent of deceiving others or avoiding commitment to a specific stance. These concepts are not crucial to your understanding of this fallacy, but can be of interest to those who want to learn more about the topic. Now, suppose A gives a reason for a statement, using a certain term in one sense, and B gives a reason against the statement, using the same term in a different sense. 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. Example: Brad is a nobody, but since nobody is perfect, Brad must be perfect, too. This fallacy has a few other names: “black-and-white fallacy,” “either-or fallacy,” “false dichotomy,” and “bifurcation fallacy.” This line of reasoning fails by limiting the options to two when there are in fact more options to choose from. Learn Something New Every Day. ), and I need one on video...basically, I need a video of a time when equivocation was present in some form of the media. Georgia recount in Fulton County delayed by Dominion server crash: Report, Carter Page seeking 'real justice' from $75M lawsuit against James Comey, Andrew McCabe, the FBI, and others, FBI requests group's election fraud data that shows 'hundreds of thousands' of fraudulent ballots, Wisconsin confirms Biden win following recount, Trump floats appointing a ‘special prosecutor’ in addition to Durham to investigate Trump-Russia investigators, New: FBI requests files of people voting ‘in multiple states’, Trump says DOJ and FBI are 'missing in action' amid voter fraud allegations during first interview since election, 'We have the greatest case ever': Trump alleges widespread voter fraud without providing new evidence, Dozens gather near New Jersey governor's home to protest coronavirus restrictions, Will Trump run again after losing? As such, in the following article you will learn more about these concepts, and see how you can respond to their use as effectively as possible. Furthermore, in some cases, you can ask the person using the fallacy to clarify the exact meanings of the term, in order to help them identify the issue in their reasoning. The equivocation fallacy is associated with a number of related concepts, which are briefly explained below. For example, a sound syllogism with three categorical terms is the following: The three categorical terms in this case are ‘birds’, ‘chickens’, and ‘eggs’.