Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Aristotle
Pages of On Sophistical Refutations

Previous | Next

On Sophistical Refutations   

whole, and the problems concerning the answers and solutions to be

used against the reasonings of the questioner. We have also cleared up

the problems concerning all other matters that belong to the same

inquiry into arguments. In addition to this we have been through the

subject of Fallacies, as we have already stated above.

That our programme, then, has been adequately completed is clear.

But we must not omit to notice what has happened in regard to this

inquiry. For in the case of all discoveries the results of previous

labours that have been handed down from others have been advanced

bit by bit by those who have taken them on, whereas the original

discoveries generally make advance that is small at first though

much more useful than the development which later springs out of them.

For it may be that in everything, as the saying is, 'the first start

is the main part': and for this reason also it is the most

difficult; for in proportion as it is most potent in its influence, so

it is smallest in its compass and therefore most difficult to see:

whereas when this is once discovered, it is easier to add and

develop the remainder in connexion with it. This is in fact what has

happened in regard to rhetorical speeches and to practically all the

other arts: for those who discovered the beginnings of them advanced

them in all only a little way, whereas the celebrities of to-day are

the heirs (so to speak) of a long succession of men who have

advanced them bit by bit, and so have developed them to their

present form, Tisias coming next after the first founders, then

Thrasymachus after Tisias, and Theodorus next to him, while several

people have made their several contributions to it: and therefore it

is not to be wondered at that the art has attained considerable

dimensions. Of this inquiry, on the other hand, it was not the case

that part of the work had been thoroughly done before, while part

had not. Nothing existed at all. For the training given by the paid

professors of contentious arguments was like the treatment of the

matter by Gorgias. For they used to hand out speeches to be learned by

Previous | Next
Site Search