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On Sophistical Refutations   



With regard to solecisms, we have previously said what it is that

appears to bring them about; the method of their solution will be

clear in the course of the arguments themselves. Solecism is the

result aimed at in all arguments of the following kind: 'Is a thing

truly that which you truly call it?' 'Yes'. 'But, speaking of a stone,

you call him real: therefore of a stone it follows that "him is

real".' No: rather, talking of a stone means not saying which' but

'whom', and not 'that' but 'him'. If, then, any one were to ask, 'Is a

stone him whom you truly call him?' he would be generally thought

not to be speaking good Greek, any more than if he were to ask, 'Is he

what you call her?' Speak in this way of a 'stick' or any neuter word,

and the difference does not break out. For this reason, also, no

solecism is incurred, suppose any one asks, 'Is a thing what you say

it to be?' 'Yes'. 'But, speaking of a stick, you call it real:

therefore, of a stick it follows that it is real.' 'Stone', however,

and 'he' have masculine designations. Now suppose some one were to

ask, 'Can "he" be a she" (a female)?', and then again, 'Well, but is

not he Coriscus?' and then were to say, 'Then he is a "she",' he has

not proved the solecism, even if the name 'Coriscus' does signify a

'she', if, on the other hand, the answerer does not grant this: this

point must be put as an additional question: while if neither is it

the fact nor does he grant it, then the sophist has not proved his

case either in fact or as against the person he has been

questioning. In like manner, then, in the above instance as well it

must be definitely put that 'he' means the stone. If, however, this

neither is so nor is granted, the conclusion must not be stated:

though it follows apparently, because the case (the accusative),

that is really unlike, appears to be like the nominative. 'Is it

true to say that this object is what you call it by name?' 'Yes'. 'But

you call it by the name of a shield: this object therefore is "of a

shield".' No: not necessarily, because the meaning of 'this object' is

not 'of a shield' but 'a shield': 'of a shield' would be the meaning

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