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On Sophistical Refutations   

is conceivably possible to find a real ambiguity in the phrase

"Something of evils is good".' Perhaps, but not with regard to the

phrase in question. It would occur more nearly, suppose that 'A

servant is good of the wicked'; though perhaps it is not quite found

even there: for a thing may be 'good' and be 'X's' without being at

the same time 'X's good'. Nor is the saying that 'Man is of the

animals' a phrase with a number of meanings: for a phrase does not

become possessed of a number of meanings merely suppose we express

it elliptically: for we express 'Give me the Iliad' by quoting half

a line of it, e.g. 'Give me "Sing, goddess, of the wrath..."'


Those arguments which depend upon an expression that is valid of a

particular thing, or in a particular respect, or place, or manner,

or relation, and not valid absolutely, should be solved by considering

the conclusion in relation to its contradictory, to see if any of

these things can possibly have happened to it. For it is impossible

for contraries and opposites and an affirmative and a negative to

belong to the same thing absolutely; there is, however, nothing to

prevent each from belonging in a particular respect or relation or

manner, or to prevent one of them from belonging in a particular

respect and the other absolutely. So that if this one belongs

absolutely and that one in a particular respect, there is as yet no

refutation. This is a feature one has to find in the conclusion by

examining it in comparison with its contradictory.

All arguments of the following kind have this feature: 'Is it

possible for what is-not to be? "No." But, you see, it is something,

despite its not being.' Likewise also, Being will not be; for it

will not he some particular form of being. Is it possible for the same

man at the same time to be a keeper and a breaker of his oath?' 'Can

the same man at the same time both obey and disobey the same man?'

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