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On Sophistical Refutations   



1



LET us now discuss sophistic refutations, i.e. what appear to be

refutations but are really fallacies instead. We will begin in the

natural order with the first.

That some reasonings are genuine, while others seem to be so but are

not, is evident. This happens with arguments, as also elsewhere,

through a certain likeness between the genuine and the sham. For

physically some people are in a vigorous condition, while others

merely seem to be so by blowing and rigging themselves out as the

tribesmen do their victims for sacrifice; and some people are

beautiful thanks to their beauty, while others seem to be so, by

dint of embellishing themselves. So it is, too, with inanimate things;

for of these, too, some are really silver and others gold, while

others are not and merely seem to be such to our sense; e.g. things

made of litharge and tin seem to be of silver, while those made of

yellow metal look golden. In the same way both reasoning and

refutation are sometimes genuine, sometimes not, though inexperience

may make them appear so: for inexperienced people obtain only, as it

were, a distant view of these things. For reasoning rests on certain

statements such that they involve necessarily the assertion of

something other than what has been stated, through what has been

stated: refutation is reasoning involving the contradictory of the

given conclusion. Now some of them do not really achieve this,

though they seem to do so for a number of reasons; and of these the

most prolific and usual domain is the argument that turns upon names

only. It is impossible in a discussion to bring in the actual things

discussed: we use their names as symbols instead of them; and

therefore we suppose that what follows in the names, follows in the

things as well, just as people who calculate suppose in regard to

their counters. But the two cases (names and things) are not alike.

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