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Aristotle - The Organon - index for DE SOPHISTICIS ELENCHIS Section 3 Part 17

Refutation by fraudulent artifice, equivocation, amphiboly

  
Paragraph 1 First then, just as we say that we ought sometimes to choose to prove something in the general estimation rather than in truth, so also we have sometimes to solve arguments rather in the general estimation than according to the truth.
Paragraph 2 If any one is going to suppose that an argument which turns upon ambiguity is a refutation, it will be impossible for an answerer to escape being refuted in a sense:
Paragraph 3 All the same, since if a man does not distinguish the senses of an amphiboly, it is not clear whether he has been confuted or has not been confuted, and since in arguments the right to distinguish them is granted, it is evident that to grant the question simply without drawing any distinction is a mistake, so that, even if not the man himself, at any rate his argument looks as though it had been refuted.
Paragraph 4 If people never made two questions into one question, the fallacy that turns upon ambiguity and amphiboly would not have existed either, but either genuine refutation or none.
Paragraph 5 As we said, then, inasmuch as certain refutations are generally taken for such, though not such really, in the same way also certain solutions will be generally taken for solutions, though not really such.
Paragraph 6 If one is debarred from these defences one must pass to the argument that the conclusion has not been properly shown, approaching it in the light of the aforesaid distinction between the different kinds of fallacy.
Paragraph 7 In the case, then, of names that are used literally one is bound to answer either simply or by drawing a distinction:
Paragraph 8 Whenever of two things it is generally thought that if the one is true the other is true of necessity, whereas, if the other is true, the first is not true of necessity, one should, if asked which of them is true, grant the smaller one:
Paragraph 9 Since, again, in regard to some of the views they express, most people would say that any one who did not admit them was telling a falsehood, while they would not say this in regard to some, e.g. to any matters whereon opinion is divided (for most people have no distinct view whether the soul of animals is destructible or immortal), accordingly (1) it is uncertain in which of two senses the premiss proposed is usually meant-whether as maxims are (for people call by the name of 'maxims' both true opinions and general assertions) or like the doctrine 'the diagonal of a square is incommensurate with its side':
Paragraph 10 Moreover, whenever one foresees any question coming, one should put in one's objection and have one's say beforehand:


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