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On Sophistical Refutations   


As to the number, then, and kind of sources whence fallacies arise

in discussion, and how we are to show that our opponent is

committing a fallacy and make him utter paradoxes; moreover, by the

use of what materials solescism is brought about, and how to

question and what is the way to arrange the questions; moreover, as to

the question what use is served by all arguments of this kind, and

concerning the answerer's part, both as a whole in general, and in

particular how to solve arguments and solecisms-on all these things

let the foregoing discussion suffice. It remains to recall our

original proposal and to bring our discussion to a close with a few

words upon it.

Our programme was, then, to discover some faculty of reasoning about

any theme put before us from the most generally accepted premisses

that there are. For that is the essential task of the art of

discussion (dialectic) and of examination (peirastic). Inasmuch,

however, as it is annexed to it, on account of the near presence of

the art of sophistry (sophistic), not only to be able to conduct an

examination dialectically but also with a show of knowledge, we

therefore proposed for our treatise not only the aforesaid aim of

being able to exact an account of any view, but also the aim of

ensuring that in standing up to an argument we shall defend our thesis

in the same manner by means of views as generally held as possible.

The reason of this we have explained; for this, too, was why

Socrates used to ask questions and not to answer them; for he used

to confess that he did not know. We have made clear, in the course

of what precedes, the number both of the points with reference to

which, and of the materials from which, this will be accomplished, and

also from what sources we can become well supplied with these: we have

shown, moreover, how to question or arrange the questioning as a

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