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On Sophistical Refutations   


Those that depend on the assumption of the original point to be

proved, occur in the same way, and in as many ways, as it is

possible to beg the original point; they appear to refute because

men lack the power to keep their eyes at once upon what is the same

and what is different.

The refutation which depends upon the consequent arises because

people suppose that the relation of consequence is convertible. For

whenever, suppose A is, B necessarily is, they then suppose also

that if B is, A necessarily is. This is also the source of the

deceptions that attend opinions based on sense-perception. For

people often suppose bile to be honey because honey is attended by a

yellow colour: also, since after rain the ground is wet in

consequence, we suppose that if the ground is wet, it has been

raining; whereas that does not necessarily follow. In rhetoric

proofs from signs are based on consequences. For when rhetoricians

wish to show that a man is an adulterer, they take hold of some

consequence of an adulterous life, viz. that the man is smartly

dressed, or that he is observed to wander about at night. There are,

however, many people of whom these things are true, while the charge

in question is untrue. It happens like this also in real reasoning;

e.g. Melissus' argument, that the universe is eternal, assumes that

the universe has not come to be (for from what is not nothing could

possibly come to be) and that what has come to be has done so from a

first beginning. If, therefore, the universe has not come to be, it

has no first beginning, and is therefore eternal. But this does not

necessarily follow: for even if what has come to be always has a first

beginning, it does not also follow that what has a first beginning has

come to be; any more than it follows that if a man in a fever be

hot, a man who is hot must be in a fever.

The refutation which depends upon treating as cause what is not a

cause, occurs whenever what is not a cause is inserted in the

argument, as though the refutation depended upon it. This kind of

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