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

Previous | Next

On Sophistical Refutations   

demolishing them, whereas one solves merely apparent arguments by

drawing distinctions. Again, inasmuch as of arguments that are

properly reasoned some have a true and others a false conclusion,

those that are false in respect of their conclusion it is possible

to solve in two ways; for it is possible both by demolishing one of

the premisses asked, and by showing that the conclusion is not the

real state of the case: those, on the other hand, that are false in

respect of the premisses can be solved only by a demolition of one

of them; for the conclusion is true. So that those who wish to solve

an argument should in the first place look and see if it is properly

reasoned, or is unreasoned; and next, whether the conclusion be true

or false, in order that we may effect the solution either by drawing

some distinction or by demolishing something, and demolishing it

either in this way or in that, as was laid down before. There is a

very great deal of difference between solving an argument when being

subjected to questions and when not: for to foresee traps is

difficult, whereas to see them at one's leisure is easier.


Of the refutations, then, that depend upon ambiguity and amphiboly

some contain some question with more than one meaning, while others

contain a conclusion bearing a number of senses: e.g. in the proof

that 'speaking of the silent' is possible, the conclusion has a double

meaning, while in the proof that 'he who knows does not understand

what he knows' one of the questions contains an amphiboly. Also the

double-edged saying is true in one context but not in another: it

means something that is and something that is not.

Whenever, then, the many senses lie in the conclusion no

refutation takes place unless the sophist secures as well the

contradiction of the conclusion he means to prove; e.g. in the proof

that 'seeing of the blind' is possible: for without the

Previous | Next
Site Search