A sentence that begins as all are not may be

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from the use of the word 'not'. A sentence that begins as 'All … are not …" may be understood to mean (I) none are or (ii) some are not; e.g. 'All politicians are not corrupt' may mean 1. No politician is corrupt or 2. Some politicians are not corrupt The two possible interpretations become a source of confusion due to ambiguity and this renders it inappropriate from the logical point of view to draw any conclusion because of lack of certainty in the interpretation of the phrase which means that no conclusion should be drawn. However, it is important to note that the fallacy of amphiboli is committed when the amphibolors premise is given the interpretation, which makes it true, and a conclusion is drawn from it which makes it false. e.g. All politicians are not corrupt so James who is a politician cannot be said to be corrupt!! What is meant by the amphibolous proposition is that some politicians are not corrupt, but the conclusion is drawn as if the phrase means that no politician is corrupt. The grammatical error can also result from dangling participles i.e. when a comma is not put in its proper place. It should be noted at this point that the divisions and categorisation of fallacies is usually never rigid because the gist of understanding fallacies rests in the identification of the error in reasoning and how the error can be addressed. In this case, more than the fallacy may be committed and identified in one instance of reasoning. As the great logician De Morgan reiterated, we cannot pretend to be able to exhaustively classify the various ways in which mistakes can be made in reasoning. REQUIRED READING 1. COPT, I. Introduction to Logic. New York: Mcmillan Publishing Company, 1990. 2. Popkin, R and Stroll, A. Philosophy Made Simple. London: Allen, 1969. 3. Wambari, K. Reading In Introduction To Critical Thinking, Kijabe: A.I.C. Kijabe Printing Press.
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