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On Sophistical Refutations   


single answer to two questions, it is evident that it is not proper to

give a simple answer to any ambiguous question, not even if the

predicate be true of all the subjects, as some claim that one

should. For this is exactly as though he had asked 'Are Coriscus and

Callias at home or not at home?', supposing them to be both in or both

out: for in both cases there is a number of propositions: for though

the simple answer be true, that does not make the question one. For it

is possible for it to be true to answer even countless different

questions when put to one, all together with either a 'Yes' or a 'No':

but still one should not answer them with a single answer: for that is

the death of discussion. Rather, the case is like as though

different things has actually had the same name applied to them. If

then, one should not give a single answer to two questions, it is

evident that we should not say simply 'Yes' or 'No' in the case of

ambiguous terms either: for the remark is simply a remark, not an

answer at all, although among disputants such remarks are loosely

deemed to be answers, because they do not see what the consequence is.

As we said, then, inasmuch as certain refutations are generally

taken for such, though not such really, in the same way also certain

solutions will be generally taken for solutions, though not really

such. Now these, we say, must sometimes be advanced rather than the

true solutions in contentious reasonings and in the encounter with

ambiguity. The proper answer in saying what one thinks is to say

'Granted'; for in that way the likelihood of being refuted on a side

issue is minimized. If, on the other hand, one is compelled to say

something paradoxical, one should then be most careful to add that 'it

seems' so: for in that way one avoids the impression of being either

refuted or paradoxical. Since it is clear what is meant by 'begging

the original question', and people think that they must at all costs

overthrow the premisses that lie near the conclusion, and plead in

excuse for refusing to grant him some of them that he is begging the

original question, so whenever any one claims from us a point such

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