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On Sophistical Refutations   


his parents in everything, or disobey them in everything?'; and to

secure that 'A number multiplied by a large number is a large number',

ask 'Should one agree that it is a large number or a small one?' For

then, if compelled to choose, one will be more inclined to think it

a large one: for the placing of their contraries close beside them

makes things look big to men, both relatively and absolutely, and

worse and better.

A strong appearance of having been refuted is often produced by

the most highly sophistical of all the unfair tricks of questioners,

when without proving anything, instead of putting their final

proposition as a question, they state it as a conclusion, as though

they had proved that 'Therefore so-and-so is not true'

It is also a sophistical trick, when a paradox has been laid down,

first to propose at the start some view that is generally accepted,

and then claim that the answerer shall answer what he thinks about it,

and to put one's question on matters of that kind in the form 'Do

you think that...?' For then, if the question be taken as one of the

premisses of one's argument, either a refutation or a paradox is bound

to result; if he grants the view, a refutation; if he refuses to grant

it or even to admit it as the received opinion, a paradox; if he

refuses to grant it, but admits that it is the received opinion,

something very like a refutation, results.

Moreover, just as in rhetorical discourses, so also in those aimed

at refutation, you should examine the discrepancies of the

answerer's position either with his own statements, or with those of

persons whom he admits to say and do aright, moreover with those of

people who are generally supposed to bear that kind of character, or

who are like them, or with those of the majority or of all men. Also

just as answerers, too, often, when they are in process of being

confuted, draw a distinction, if their confutation is just about to

take place, so questioners also should resort to this from time to

time to counter objectors, pointing out, supposing that against one

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