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On Sophistical Refutations   



man got the cart down from the stand'; and 'Where are you bound?'

'To the yard arm'; and 'Which cow will calve afore?' 'Neither, but

both behind;' and 'Is the North wind clear?' 'No, indeed; for it has

murdered the beggar and the merchant." Is he a Good enough-King?' 'No,

indeed; a Rob-son': and so with the great majority of the rest as

well), while others appear to elude the most expert (and it is a

symptom of this that they often fight about their terms, e.g.

whether the meaning of 'Being' and 'One' is the same in all their

applications or different; for some think that 'Being' and 'One'

mean the same; while others solve the argument of Zeno and

Parmenides by asserting that 'One' and 'Being' are used in a number of

senses), likewise also as regards fallacies of Accident and each of

the other types, some of the arguments will be easier to see while

others are more difficult; also to grasp to which class a fallacy

belongs, and whether it is a refutation or not a refutation, is not

equally easy in all cases.

An incisive argument is one which produces the greatest

perplexity: for this is the one with the sharpest fang. Now perplexity

is twofold, one which occurs in reasoned arguments, respecting which

of the propositions asked one is to demolish, and the other in

contentious arguments, respecting the manner in which one is to assent

to what is propounded. Therefore it is in syllogistic arguments that

the more incisive ones produce the keenest heart-searching. Now a

syllogistic argument is most incisive if from premisses that are as

generally accepted as possible it demolishes a conclusion that is

accepted as generally as possible. For the one argument, if the

contradictory is changed about, makes all the resulting syllogisms

alike in character: for always from premisses that are generally

accepted it will prove a conclusion, negative or positive as the

case may be, that is just as generally accepted; and therefore one

is bound to feel perplexed. An argument, then, of this kind is the

most incisive, viz. the one that puts its conclusion on all fours with

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