Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Aristotle
Pages of On Sophistical Refutations

Previous | Next

On Sophistical Refutations   

seems to be unaware of the difference between didactic and dialectical

argument, and of the fact that while he who argues didactically should

not ask questions but make things clear himself, the other should

merely ask questions.


Moreover, to claim a 'Yes' or 'No' answer is the business not of a

man who is showing something, but of one who is holding an

examination. For the art of examining is a branch of dialectic and has

in view not the man who has knowledge, but the ignorant pretender. He,

then, is a dialectician who regards the common principles with their

application to the particular matter in hand, while he who only

appears to do this is a sophist. Now for contentious and sophistical

reasoning: (1) one such is a merely apparent reasoning, on subjects on

which dialectical reasoning is the proper method of examination,

even though its conclusion be true: for it misleads us in regard to

the cause: also (2) there are those misreasonings which do not conform

to the line of inquiry proper to the particular subject, but are

generally thought to conform to the art in question. For false

diagrams of geometrical figures are not contentious (for the resulting

fallacies conform to the subject of the art)-any more than is any

false diagram that may be offered in proof of a truth-e.g.

Hippocrates' figure or the squaring of the circle by means of the

lunules. But Bryson's method of squaring the circle, even if the

circle is thereby squared, is still sophistical because it does not

conform to the subject in hand. So, then, any merely apparent

reasoning about these things is a contentious argument, and any

reasoning that merely appears to conform to the subject in hand,

even though it be genuine reasoning, is a contentious argument: for it

is merely apparent in its conformity to the subject-matter, so that it

is deceptive and plays foul. For just as a foul in a race is a

Previous | Next
Site Search