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Aristotle - The Organon DE SOPHISTICIS ELENCHIS Section 3 Part 23

Summary on answers for arguments depending on language

1. It is a general rule in dealing with arguments that depend on language that the solution always follows the opposite of the point on which the argument turns: e.g. if the argument depends upon combination, then the solution consists in division; if upon division, then in combination. Again, if it depends on an acute accent, the solution is a grave accent; if on a grave accent, it is an acute. If it depends on ambiguity, one can solve it by using the opposite term; e.g. if you find yourself calling something inanimate, despite your previous denial that it was so, show in what sense it is alive: if, on the other hand, one has declared it to be inanimate and the sophist has proved it to be animate, say how it is inanimate. Likewise also in a case of amphiboly. If the argument depends on likeness of expression, the opposite will be the solution. 'Could a man give what he has not got?' 'No, not what he has not got'; but he could give it in a way in which he has not got it, e.g. one die by itself. 'Does a man know either by learning or by discovery each thing that he knows, singly? but not the things that he knows, collectively.' Also a man treads, perhaps, on any thing he walks through, but not on the time he walks through. Likewise also in the case of the other examples.


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