Probably Jeremy Price opposes new laws protecting the environment

This remains inductively forceful, and it is no less inductively forceful than the previous version. But the inductive soundness of this argument is far from certain, because P2 is far from certain. This reconstruction thus makes the weakness of the original argument perfectly clear. It does so by removing the distraction created by the word 'conservative' (even if you do think that P2 is true, you have to admit that this reconstruction centres our attention on the real issue).

Since many of the most rhetorically highly charged words in public discourse are also vague, eliminating them from our argument-reconstructions achieves two things: it clarifies the argument, and, by eliminating emotionally provocative words, enables us to focus without distraction upon the logic of the argument.

The best thing to do with ambiguous or vague language, then, is simply to replace it with language which is not vague or ambiguous. The aim is to employ language which will express the intended propositions without ambiguity or vagueness. But this is not always possible. Where a sentence is ambiguous, we cannot always tell which of the different possible interpretations was intended by the arguer, even if we apply the Principle of Charity. In such a case we can assess each of the possible versions of the argument, but we may have to confess that we cannot tell which version the arguer intended. And - especially where the language used by the arguer is vague rather than ambiguous - we have to admit that the arguer's thinking may simply have been vague or confused, not just his or her language. Indeed, where vague words such as those listed above play a role in an argument, this is very often the case. In constructing your own arguments, such words are best simply avoided. They tend to obscure the issue rather than clarify it. However, not all vague language can be removed. We will return to this in the next chapter.

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