Aristotle on False Reasoning: Language and the World in the Sophistical Refutations (Suny Series in Ancient Greek Philosophy)
Scott G. Schreiber
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Presenting the first book-length study in English of Aristotle s Sophistical Refutations, this work takes a fresh look at this seminal text on false reasoning. Through a careful and critical analysis of Aristotle s examples of sophistical reasoning, Scott G. Schreiber explores Aristotle s rationale for his taxonomy of twelve fallacy types. Contrary to certain modern attempts to reduce all fallacious reasoning to either errors of logical form or linguistic imprecision, Aristotle insists that, as important as form and language are, certain types of false reasoning derive their persuasiveness from mistaken beliefs about the nature of language and the nature of the world."
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writing can be simultaneous with actually not writing). He then refutes the original claim by repeating the concession verbatim, but with the same sequence of words differently pronounced to produce a different combination — “so it is possible to-write-when-not-writing” — where the possibility applies to the entire predicate of “writing-when-not-writing.” In this way, the fallacy can arise orally, but it does so by using a different signifying sentence, although composed of the same words.
argument of Melissus seems to be: (1) The universe is ungenerated. (2) What has been generated has a beginning. _____________ (3) The universe does not have a beginning. Aristotle notes that the truth of (2) does not imply its converse. The fact that all generated things have beginnings does not entail that all things with beginnings have been generated, any more than the fact that all persons with fever are hot entails that all hot persons are fevered. But this appears to be a simple case of
signifier makes reference to multiple individuals under one universal signifier. When this multivocity results in fallacious reasoning, we might label this a linguistic fallacy of double meaning due to “Multiple Reference.” Taking into account all of the preceding conclusions, I offer on the following page a schema more accurately reflecting Aristotle’s classification of false reasoning. One final comment is in order. With the exception of the fallacies of Accent and Composition/Division, all of
thereby attributing to those men bad will or the intent to deceive. I conclude that 176 APPENDIX 1 it is dangerous to attach too much signiﬁcance to Aristotle’s choice of one of his terms for fallacy over another, unless the context absolutely requires some distinction. Appendix 1 177 Appendix 2 Words and Counters—Platonic Antecedents Aristotle’s comparison (S.E. 1, 165a6–17) of the use of words in dialectic to the use of counters in arithmetic, and his concern with the vulnerability of