Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter focuses on one of the common fallacies in Western philosophy called ‘equivocation’. Patrick Hurley writes that the fallacy of equivocation “occurs when the conclusion of an argument depends on the fact that the word or phrase is used, either explicitly or implicitly, in two different senses in the argument”. This fallacy happens often within discussions and debates concerning the alleged tension between science and religion. The best way to avoid this fallacy is to take care to ensure that key terms, especially ones with multiple meanings, in our arguments are being used consistently; that is, that the words retain the same meaning throughout the argument. It is also important, for the sake of lucidity, to ensure that it is clear which meaning we intend to be using throughout our argument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBad Arguments
Subtitle of host publication50 Common Fallacies and How to Avoid Them
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781119165811
ISBN (Print)9781119165781
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Argument
  • Equivocation fallacy
  • Patrick Hurley
  • Western philosophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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