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On Sophistical Refutations   

Of arguments in dialogue form there are four classes:

Didactic, Dialectical, Examination-arguments, and Contentious

arguments. Didactic arguments are those that reason from the

principles appropriate to each subject and not from the opinions

held by the answerer (for the learner should take things on trust):

dialectical arguments are those that reason from premisses generally

accepted, to the contradictory of a given thesis:

examination-arguments are those that reason from premisses which are

accepted by the answerer and which any one who pretends to possess

knowledge of the subject is bound to know-in what manner, has been

defined in another treatise: contentious arguments are those that

reason or appear to reason to a conclusion from premisses that

appear to be generally accepted but are not so. The subject, then,

of demonstrative arguments has been discussed in the Analytics,

while that of dialectic arguments and examination-arguments has been

discussed elsewhere: let us now proceed to speak of the arguments used

in competitions and contests.


First we must grasp the number of aims entertained by those who

argue as competitors and rivals to the death. These are five in

number, refutation, fallacy, paradox, solecism, and fifthly to

reduce the opponent in the discussion to babbling-i.e. to constrain

him to repeat himself a number of times: or it is to produce the

appearance of each of these things without the reality. For they

choose if possible plainly to refute the other party, or as the second

best to show that he is committing some fallacy, or as a third best to

lead him into paradox, or fourthly to reduce him to solecism, i.e.

to make the answerer, in consequence of the argument, to use an

ungrammatical expression; or, as a last resort, to make him repeat


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