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On Sophistical Refutations   


For names are finite and so is the sum-total of formulae, while things

are infinite in number. Inevitably, then, the same formulae, and a

single name, have a number of meanings. Accordingly just as, in

counting, those who are not clever in manipulating their counters

are taken in by the experts, in the same way in arguments too those

who are not well acquainted with the force of names misreason both

in their own discussions and when they listen to others. For this

reason, then, and for others to be mentioned later, there exists

both reasoning and refutation that is apparent but not real. Now for

some people it is better worth while to seem to be wise, than to be

wise without seeming to be (for the art of the sophist is the

semblance of wisdom without the reality, and the sophist is one who

makes money from an apparent but unreal wisdom); for them, then, it is

clearly essential also to seem to accomplish the task of a wise man

rather than to accomplish it without seeming to do so. To reduce it to

a single point of contrast it is the business of one who knows a

thing, himself to avoid fallacies in the subjects which he knows and

to be able to show up the man who makes them; and of these

accomplishments the one depends on the faculty to render an answer,

and the other upon the securing of one. Those, then, who would be

sophists are bound to study the class of arguments aforesaid: for it

is worth their while: for a faculty of this kind will make a man

seem to be wise, and this is the purpose they happen to have in view.

Clearly, then, there exists a class of arguments of this kind, and

it is at this kind of ability that those aim whom we call sophists.

Let us now go on to discuss how many kinds there are of sophistical

arguments, and how many in number are the elements of which this

faculty is composed, and how many branches there happen to be of

this inquiry, and the other factors that contribute to this art.



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