The Fallacy of Shifting GroundA Tract Book EssayByAnthony J. Fejfar, B.A. (Phil.), J.D., Esq., Coif © Copyright 2007 by Anthony J. Fejfar One of the more interesting, and often unnoticed forms of arguing falsely, or fallaciously, the the Fallacy of Shifting Ground. The whole idea is not very complicated,it works like this: I start out an argument having the key word defined implicitly or explicitly as Definition A, during the middle of the argument I then, without really lettinganyone know, shift the key word definition to Definition B, and continue the argument.Let me give an example. I’ll make up an interesting word, “Theosphany.” Now, as far as I know, Theosphany doesn’t really even have a definition, but I’ll make one up. Let usassume for the sake of argument that the word Theosphany means political theology.Here is the situation. I am on a law faculty and one of the faculty members believes in liberation theology. At a faculty meeting, Stan Smith attacks the professor,Joe Farmer, and accuse him of Theosphany. Stan Smith tells everyone that Theosphanyis one of the most terrible crimes there is, and additionally, that Theosphany is a serioussin.Joe Farmer tries to defend himself. He asks, “Why do you think that I havecommitted Theosphany?” “Well,” Stan Smith says, “you believe in Liberation Theology,that is Theosphany.” Now, here comes the shift in ground.