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On Sophistical Refutations   


but there is no necessity for him to have lost as much or as many

things as he has not now. So then, he asks the questions as to what he

has, and draws the conclusion as to the whole number that he has:

for ten is a number. If then he had asked to begin with, whether a man

no longer having the number of things he once had has lost the whole

number, no one would have granted it, but would have said 'Either

the whole number or one of them'. Also there is the argument that 'a

man may give what he has not got': for he has not got only one die.

No: rather it is that he has given not what he had not got, but in a

manner in which he had not got it, viz. just the one. For the word

'only' does not signify a particular substance or quality or number,

but a manner relation, e.g. that it is not coupled with any other.

It is therefore just as if he had asked 'Could a man give what he

has not got?' and, on being given the answer 'No', were to ask if a

man could give a thing quickly when he had not got it quickly, and, on

this being granted, were to conclude that 'a man could give what he

had not got'. It is quite evident that he has not proved his point:

for to 'give quickly' is not to give a thing, but to give in a certain

manner; and a man could certainly give a thing in a manner in which he

has not got it, e.g. he might have got it with pleasure and give it

with pain.

Like these are also all arguments of the following kind: 'Could a

man strike a blow with a hand which he has not got, or see with an eye

which he has not got?' For he has not got only one eye. Some people

solve this case, where a man has more than one eye, or more than one

of anything else, by saying also that he has only one. Others also

solve it as they solve the refutation of the view that 'what a man

has, he has received': for A gave only one vote; and certainly B, they

say, has only one vote from A. Others, again, proceed by demolishing

straight away the proposition asked, and admitting that it is quite

possible to have what one has not received; e.g. to have received

sweet wine, but then, owing to its going bad in the course of receipt,

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