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On Sophistical Refutations   

expression; e.g. in the following argument: 'Is it possible to be

doing and to have done the same thing at the same time?' 'No.' 'But,

you see, it is surely possible to be seeing and to have seen the

same thing at the same time, and in the same aspect.' Again, 'Is any

mode of passivity a mode of activity?' 'No.' 'Then "he is cut", "he is

burnt", "he is struck by some sensible object" are alike in expression

and all denote some form of passivity, while again "to say", "to run",

"to see" are like one like one another in expression: but, you see,

"to see" is surely a form of being struck by a sensible object;

therefore it is at the same time a form of passivity and of activity.'

Suppose, however, that in that case any one, after granting that it is

not possible to do and to have done the same thing in the same time,

were to say that it is possible to see and to have seen it, still he

has not yet been refuted, suppose him to say that 'to see' is not a

form of 'doing' (activity) but of 'passivity': for this question is

required as well, though he is supposed by the listener to have

already granted it, when he granted that 'to cut' is a form of

present, and 'to have cut' a form of past, activity, and so on with

the other things that have a like expression. For the listener adds

the rest by himself, thinking the meaning to be alike: whereas

really the meaning is not alike, though it appears to be so because of

the expression. The same thing happens here as happens in cases of

ambiguity: for in dealing with ambiguous expressions the tyro in

argument supposes the sophist to have negated the fact which he (the

tyro) affirmed, and not merely the name: whereas there still wants the

question whether in using the ambiguous term he had a single meaning

in view: for if he grants that that was so, the refutation will be


Like the above are also the following arguments. It is asked if a

man has lost what he once had and afterwards has not: for a man will

no longer have ten dice even though he has only lost one die. No:

rather it is that he has lost what he had before and has not now;

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