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On Sophistical Refutations   


It is no true distinction between arguments which some people draw

when they say that some arguments are directed against the expression,

and others against the thought expressed: for it is absurd to

suppose that some arguments are directed against the expression and

others against the thought, and that they are not the same. For what

is failure to direct an argument against the thought except what

occurs whenever a man does not in using the expression think it to

be used in his question in the same sense in which the person

questioned granted it? And this is the same thing as to direct the

argument against the expression. On the other hand, it is directed

against the thought whenever a man uses the expression in the same

sense which the answerer had in mind when he granted it. If now any

(i.e. both the questioner and the person questioned), in dealing

with an expression with more than one meaning, were to suppose it to

have one meaning-as e.g. it may be that 'Being' and 'One' have many

meanings, and yet both the answerer answers and the questioner puts

his question supposing it to be one, and the argument is to the effect

that 'All things are one'-will this discussion be directed any more

against the expression than against the thought of the person

questioned? If, on the other hand, one of them supposes the expression

to have many meanings, it is clear that such a discussion will not

be directed against the thought. Such being the meanings of the

phrases in question, they clearly cannot describe two separate classes

of argument. For, in the first place, it is possible for any such

argument as bears more than one meaning to be directed against the

expression and against the thought, and next it is possible for any

argument whatsoever; for the fact of being directed against the

thought consists not in the nature of the argument, but in the special

attitude of the answerer towards the points he concedes. Next, all

of them may be directed to the expression. For 'to be directed against

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