
On Sophistical Refutations
was the function of the art of examination. Now the art of examining
is a branch of dialectic: and this may prove a false conclusion
because of the ignorance of the answerer. Sophistic refutations on the
other hand, even though they prove the contradictory of his thesis, do
not make clear whether he is ignorant: for sophists entangle the
scientist as well with these arguments.
That we know them by the same line of inquiry is clear: for the same
considerations which make it appear to an audience that the points
required for the proof were asked in the questions and that the
conclusion was proved, would make the answerer think so as well, so
that false proof will occur through all or some of these means: for
what a man has not been asked but thinks he has granted, he would also
grant if he were asked. Of course, in some cases the moment we add the
missing question, we also show up its falsity, e.g. in fallacies
that depend on language and on solecism. If then, fallacious proofs of
the contradictory of a thesis depend on their appearing to refute,
it is clear that the considerations on which both proofs of false
conclusions and an apparent refutation depend must be the same in
number. Now an apparent refutation depends upon the elements
involved in a genuine one: for the failure of one or other of these
must make the refutation merely apparent, e.g. that which depends on
the failure of the conclusion to follow from the argument (the
argument ad impossible) and that which treats two questions as one and
so depends upon a flaw in the premiss, and that which depends on the
substitution of an accident for an essential attribute, anda branch
of the lastthat which depends upon the consequent: more over, the
conclusion may follow not in fact but only verbally: then, instead
of proving the contradictory universally and in the same respect and
relation and manner, the fallacy may be dependent on some limit of
extent or on one or other of these qualifications: moreover, there
is the assumption of the original point to be proved, in violation
of the clause 'without reckoning in the original point'. Thus we
