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On Sophistical Refutations   

something is good which is not good, or not good which is good, is

to make a false statement. Sometimes, however, additional premisses

may actually give rise to a genuine refutation; e.g. suppose a man

were to grant that the descriptions 'white' and 'naked' and 'blind'

apply to one thing and to a number of things in a like sense. For if

'blind' describes a thing that cannot see though nature designed it to

see, it will also describe things that cannot see though nature

designed them to do so. Whenever, then, one thing can see while

another cannot, they will either both be able to see or else both be

blind; which is impossible.


The right way, then, is either to divide apparent proofs and

refutations as above, or else to refer them all to ignorance of what

'refutation' is, and make that our starting-point: for it is

possible to analyse all the aforesaid modes of fallacy into breaches

of the definition of a refutation. In the first place, we may see if

they are inconclusive: for the conclusion ought to result from the

premisses laid down, so as to compel us necessarily to state it and

not merely to seem to compel us. Next we should also take the

definition bit by bit, and try the fallacy thereby. For of the

fallacies that consist in language, some depend upon a double meaning,

e.g. ambiguity of words and of phrases, and the fallacy of like verbal

forms (for we habitually speak of everything as though it were a

particular substance)-while fallacies of combination and division

and accent arise because the phrase in question or the term as altered

is not the same as was intended. Even this, however, should be the

same, just as the thing signified should be as well, if a refutation

or proof is to be effected; e.g. if the point concerns a doublet, then

you should draw the conclusion of a 'doublet', not of a 'cloak'. For

the former conclusion also would be true, but it has not been

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