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On Sophistical Refutations   



no harm despite the fact that the question is not simple, so it is

in these cases of double questions too. Whenever, then, the several

attributes belong to the one subject, or the one to the many, the

man who gives a simple answer encounters no obstacle even though he

has committed this mistake: but whenever an attribute belongs to one

subject but not to the other, or there is a question of a number of

attributes belonging to a number of subjects and in one sense both

belong to both, while in another sense, again, they do not, then there

is trouble, so that one must beware of this. Thus (e.g.) in the

following arguments: Supposing to be good and B evil, you will, if you

give a single answer about both, be compelled to say that it is true

to call these good, and that it is true to call them evil and likewise

to call them neither good nor evil (for each of them has not each

character), so that the same thing will be both good and evil and

neither good nor evil. Also, since everything is the same as itself

and different from anything else, inasmuch as the man who answers

double questions simply can be made to say that several things are

'the same' not as other things but 'as themselves', and also that they

are different from themselves, it follows that the same things must be

both the same as and different from themselves. Moreover, if what is

good becomes evil while what is evil is good, then they must both

become two. So of two unequal things each being equal to itself, it

will follow that they are both equal and unequal to themselves.

Now these refutations fall into the province of other solutions as

well: for 'both' and 'all' have more than one meaning, so that the

resulting affirmation and denial of the same thing does not occur,

except verbally: and this is not what we meant by a refutation. But it

is clear that if there be not put a single question on a number of

points, but the answerer has affirmed or denied one attribute only

of one subject only, the absurdity will not come to pass.



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