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On Sophistical Refutations   


thing happens in arguments that reason ad impossible: for in these

we are bound to demolish one of the premisses. If, then, the false

cause be reckoned in among the questions that are necessary to

establish the resulting impossibility, it will often be thought that

the refutation depends upon it, e.g. in the proof that the 'soul'

and 'life' are not the same: for if coming-to-be be contrary to

perishing, then a particular form of perishing will have a

particular form of coming-to-be as its contrary: now death is a

particular form of perishing and is contrary to life: life, therefore,

is a coming to-be, and to live is to come-to-be. But this is

impossible: accordingly, the 'soul' and 'life' are not the same. Now

this is not proved: for the impossibility results all the same, even

if one does not say that life is the same as the soul, but merely says

that life is contrary to death, which is a form of perishing, and that

perishing has 'coming-to-be' as its contrary. Arguments of that

kind, then, though not inconclusive absolutely, are inconclusive in

relation to the proposed conclusion. Also even the questioners

themselves often fail quite as much to see a point of that kind.

Such, then, are the arguments that depend upon the consequent and

upon false cause. Those that depend upon the making of two questions

into one occur whenever the plurality is undetected and a single

answer is returned as if to a single question. Now, in some cases,

it is easy to see that there is more than one, and that an answer is

not to be given, e.g. 'Does the earth consist of sea, or the sky?' But

in some cases it is less easy, and then people treat the question as

one, and either confess their defeat by failing to answer the

question, or are exposed to an apparent refutation. Thus 'Is A and

is B a man?' 'Yes.' 'Then if any one hits A and B, he will strike a

man' (singular),'not men' (plural). Or again, where part is good and

part bad, 'is the whole good or bad?' For whichever he says, it is

possible that he might be thought to expose himself to an apparent

refutation or to make an apparently false statement: for to say that

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