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On Sophistical Refutations   


useful for one's own personal researches; for the man who is easily

committed to a fallacy by some one else, and does not perceive it,

is likely to incur this fate of himself also on many occasions.

Thirdly and lastly, they further contribute to one's reputation,

viz. the reputation of being well trained in everything, and not

inexperienced in anything: for that a party to arguments should find

fault with them, if he cannot definitely point out their weakness,

creates a suspicion, making it seem as though it were not the truth of

the matter but merely inexperience that put him out of temper.

Answerers may clearly see how to meet arguments of this kind, if our

previous account was right of the sources whence fallacies came, and

also our distinctions adequate of the forms of dishonesty in putting

questions. But it is not the same thing take an argument in one's hand

and then to see and solve its faults, as it is to be able to meet it

quickly while being subjected to questions: for what we know, we often

do not know in a different context. Moreover, just as in other

things speed is enhanced by training, so it is with arguments too,

so that supposing we are unpractised, even though a point be clear

to us, we are often too late for the right moment. Sometimes too it

happens as with diagrams; for there we can sometimes analyse the

figure, but not construct it again: so too in refutations, though we

know the thing on which the connexion of the argument depends, we

still are at a loss to split the argument apart.



17



First then, just as we say that we ought sometimes to choose to

prove something in the general estimation rather than in truth, so

also we have sometimes to solve arguments rather in the general

estimation than according to the truth. For it is a general rule in

fighting contentious persons, to treat them not as refuting, but as

merely appearing to refute: for we say that they don't really prove

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