Yes, it is, and it's the unmarked, or default meaning that's interpreted--the meaning first thought of:
Originally Posted by Pedroski
Ex: The chicken is ready to eat.
default: dinner is readyEx: She left him holding the baby.
marked: it's hungry; go out to the barn and feed it
default: he was holding the babyThe semantic subject of holding the baby refers back to the closest noun (in our example, him, not She) unless, that is, the semantic cues are otherwise:
marked: she was holding the baby
Ex: She left him holding her head up high.
default: she was holding her head up highAristotle's question was, Who is holding the baby, she or him? Without contextual cues, 'him' is the default reading, the first interpretation available. We could of course 'force' the meaning she was holding the baby, but wouldn't spoken cues like, intonation or a comma (See engee30's post above) make that more clear, thereby reducing the ambiguity?
marked: not hers, but some other woman's head
The reason behind my post (3#), if Aristotle's question is related to tree diagramming, then, yes, saying the sentence is ambiguous is helpful (See cat's_eyes' post #2)--Aristotle will be able to draw two trees. If, however, people reading this thread are interested in which of the two meanings is more obvious, and the reason why that is, then talking about its default meaning would be just as helpful.