The Presumptions of Meaning: Hamblin and Equivocation
Universidade Nova de Lisboa
November 1, 2011
Informal Logic, Vol. 31, No. 4, pp. 368-394, 2011
The force and the deceptive nature of the fallacy of equivocation lies in its dialectical nature. The speaker redefines a word in order to classify a fragment of reality, while the hearer draws a conclusion based on the ordinary meaning of such a classification. This difference between the interlocutors’ meanings is grounded on a crucial epistemic gap: how is it possible to know our hearer’s mind, and his knowledge of the words we used? Building on Hamblin’s account of equivocation, the speaker’s meaning and the manipulative strategies based on redefinitions can be explained as the conclusion of an implicit reasoning based on a presumption of ordinary meaning.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: interpretation, dialectical strategies, persuasion, argumentation schemes, burden of proof, equivocation, Hamblin, presumption, redefinitionAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 28, 2011
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