Originally posted by ivanhoe
The Fallacy of Vagueness or/and Ambiguity.
This fallacy has come up in another thread. I invite Bbarr to explain what this fallacy in general means.
Other debators are of course welcome to join in and give their thoughts.
Uh, Ivanhoe, these are two different fallacies. 'Vagueness', in this context, means employing a term that fails to have precise application conditions. 'Ambiguity', in this context, means employing a term with more than one meaning. Now, just employing a term that is vague does not constitute a fallacy. For instance:
All bachelors are male
Royal Chicken is a bachelor
Hence, Royal Chicken is male
Now, even the term 'bachelor' is vague. We take it to mean unmarried male, but that can't be quite right. Infant boys are not really bachelors. So, perhaps we can revise our definition so that 'bachelor' means unmarried male of marriageable age. But wait, Catholic priests often satisfy these conditions, and they aren't really bachelors either. The term 'bachelor' has something to do with being available or willing to engage in certain behaviors. But how available and how willing must one be? There is no way other than by stipulation to settle this question, because our concept BACHELOR just isn't that fine grained. The point is that even with the simplest term like 'bachelor' there is vagueness. Nevertheless, the above argument is does not suffer from this vagueness. The vagueness at the boundaries of the application conditions of 'bachelor' do not give us any reason to doubt the argument above because the bachelor being mentioned is so very clearly a bachelor.
Is this clear so far?