A Pragmatic Synthesis

Part of the Applied Logic Series book series (APLS, volume 1)


In this Chapter, several issues concerning the class of fallacies arising from ambiguity, as a whole class, are addressed. A definition of ambiguity, a test for ambiguity, and a classification of types of ambiguity are proposed. Although the literature shows that ambiguity is difficult to define precisely, and has not been so defined in the past (in any clearly agreed-upon way), nevertheless the analysis of this class of fallacies requires some sort of working conception of what ambiguity is.


Critical Discussion Lexical Ambiguity Ambiguous Term Single Argument Surface Vehicle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 1.
    See Chapter 1, Section 10.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Atlas [1989] has also criticized these definitions and test of ambiguity in considerable detail.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    This technique can commonly be found in any textbook on transformational grammar. Analyses of many cases can be found in Cresswell [1973].Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Another example commonly given is the word ‘pike’, which could mean a type of fish or a type of weapon.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See Chapter 1, Section 4.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Van Eemeren and Grootendorst [1984; 1992].Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Or essentially the same kind of problem occurs where the sentence, as a whole, is ambiguous.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    See Chapter 2, Section 1.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Van Eemeren and Grootendorst [1984; 1992].Google Scholar
  10. 1.
    See Walton [1991 b].Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    See also Walton [1992d; 1995].Google Scholar
  12. 1.
    See especially Topica 106a right through almost to the end of Book I, where a very detailed treatment of this subject is given.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of WinnipegCanada

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