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On Sophistical Refutations   


ignorance of what a refutation is, some of them because the

contradiction, which is the distinctive mark of a refutation, is

merely apparent, and the rest failing to conform to the definition

of a proof.



7



The deception comes about in the case of arguments that depend on

ambiguity of words and of phrases because we are unable to divide

the ambiguous term (for some terms it is not easy to divide, e.g.

'unity', 'being', and 'sameness'), while in those that depend on

combination and division, it is because we suppose that it makes no

difference whether the phrase be combined or divided, as is indeed the

case with most phrases. Likewise also with those that depend on

accent: for the lowering or raising of the voice upon a phrase is

thought not to alter its meaning-with any phrase, or not with many.

With those that depend on the of expression it is because of the

likeness of expression. For it is hard to distinguish what kind of

things are signified by the same and what by different kinds of

expression: for a man who can do this is practically next door to

the understanding of the truth. A special reason why a man is liable

to be hurried into assent to the fallacy is that we suppose every

predicate of everything to be an individual thing, and we understand

it as being one with the thing: and we therefore treat it as a

substance: for it is to that which is one with a thing or substance,

as also to substance itself, that 'individually' and 'being' are

deemed to belong in the fullest sense. For this reason, too, this type

of fallacy is to be ranked among those that depend on language; in the

first place, because the deception is effected the more readily when

we are inquiring into a problem in company with others than when we do

so by ourselves (for an inquiry with another person is carried on by

means of speech, whereas an inquiry by oneself is carried on quite

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