Thursday, October 20, 2005

Word for the day: Amphibology
am·phi·bol·o·gy (ăm'fə-bŏl'ə-jē) pronunciation
n., pl. -gies.
An ambiguous or equivocal statement.

A fallacy where a word has at least two meanings, and the participants in a conversation are using different meanings without realizing it.
This came from comment #74 to this volokh post, part of a long rambling thing about gay marriage. Usually volokh conspiracy has a very high signal to noise ratio, and that's been degraded in this discussion.
Amphibilogical fallacies come up a lot in certain circles, so it's good to know the term for it - I still don't realy have a handle on it. E.g "capitalism", "anarchy."
Guest Volohkian Maggie has, at great length, been making an argument about how same sex marriage is bad for culture, and I'm gradually getting her point, which doesn't mean agreement. She may have a point - it's quite possible that the drive to recognition of same sex marriages has costs, and is part of a larger breakdown of family structure.
That, for me, would not outweigh the advantages of recognition for same-sex or inter-racial marriages, but known costs are preferable to hidden costs. It's something I could spend more time thinking about, if all I had to do was sit around and think about things. And that's about 80% of what I do. But I need to catch up on the other 20% for awhile, which right now involves taking a bath and going over today's to do list. I hope to come back to the same-sex marriage debate at some point after mulling it for a bit.

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