FALLACY PAGE

— Amphiboly —

Fallacy definition (short name: amphiboly)

Definition

From Stephen’s Guide :

An amphiboly occurs when the construction of a sentence allows it to have two different meanings.

Canonical examples

Last night I shot a burglar in my pyjamas.

The Oracle of Delphi told Croseus that if he pursued the war he would destroy a mighty kingdom.

(What the Oracle did not mention was that the kingdom he destroyed would be his own. Adapted from Heroditus, The Histories.)

You can’t put too much water in a nuclear reactor.

Implies that you should use lots or very little water in a reactor.

Proof

Identify the ambiguous phrase and show the two possible interpretations.

References

Stephen’s Guide
Wikipedia notice

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