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On Sophistical Refutations   


against the thought of the former or not?

Moreover, if the expression bears many senses, while the answerer

does not understand or suppose it to have them, surely the

questioner here has directed his argument against his thought! Or

how else ought he to put his question except by suggesting a

distinction-suppose one's question to be speaking of the silent

possible or not?'-as follows, 'Is the answer "No" in one sense, but

"Yes" in another?' If, then, any one were to answer that it was not

possible in any sense and the other were to argue that it was, has not

his argument been directed against the thought of the answerer? Yet

his argument is supposed to be one of those that depend on the

expression. There is not, then, any definite kind of arguments that is

directed against the thought. Some arguments are, indeed, directed

against the expression: but these are not all even apparent

refutations, let alone all refutations. For there are also apparent

refutations which do not depend upon language, e.g. those that

depend upon accident, and others.

If, however, any one claims that one should actually draw the

distinction, and say, 'By "speaking of the silent" I mean, in one

sense this and in the other sense that', surely to claim this is in

the first place absurd (for sometimes the questioner does not see

the ambiguity of his question, and he cannot possibly draw a

distinction which he does not think to be there): in the second place,

what else but this will didactic argument be? For it will make

manifest the state of the case to one who has never considered, and

does not know or suppose that there is any other meaning but one.

For what is there to prevent the same thing also happening to us in

cases where there is no double meaning? 'Are the units in four equal

to the twos? Observe that the twos are contained in four in one

sense in this way, in another sense in that'. Also, 'Is the

knowledge of contraries one or not? Observe that some contraries are

known, while others are unknown'. Thus the man who makes this claim

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