Logical Gal and Equivocal Terms

11 Apr

Equivocal Earl


I have difficulty in spotting equivocal terms in certain contexts!  I doubt if I’m the only one who struggles this way.  Sure, it’s pretty obvious when someone is using the term ‘pitcher’.  The two completely different concepts referred to by that term are a container for liquids and a ball thrower.

Yesterday, I couldn’t even pinpoint the different concepts when the radio show host identified the word ‘public’ as the word being used equivocally.

Public funds for public education!

…was the talking point of an anti-choice politician.  I could only see it once  my mentor parsed out that the 1st sense of the word public meant money from everyone and the 2nd sense of public was ‘government-sponsored schools’.

The drawing below is a good example of these equivocal terms in use!

Public education for an educated public

This rhetorically-effective slogan reminds me of another employed by those biased against the supernatural:

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary explanations!


Question: Can you explain the different concepts used in this example of the ‘ole switcheroo’ fallacy  of equivocation?

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