Sophistic & Logic
This trick consists in stating a false syllogism. Your opponent makes a proposition, and by false inference and distortion of his ideas you force from it other propositions which it does not contain and he does not in the least mean; nay, which are absurd or dangerous. It then looks as if his proposition gave rise to others which are inconsistent either with themselves or with some acknowledged truth, and so it appears to be in directly refuted. This is the diversion, and it is another application of the fallacy non causae ut causae.
Sophistic & Logic
Contradiction and contention irritate a man into exaggerating his statement. By contradicting your opponent you may drive him into extending beyond its proper limits a statement which, at all events within those limits and in itself, is true; and when you refute this exaggerated form of it, you look as though you had also refuted his original statement. Contrarily, you must take care not to allow yourself to be misled by contradiction into exaggerating or extending a statement of your own. It will often happen that your opponent will himself directly try to extend your statement further than you meant it; here you must at once stop him, and bring him back to the limits which you set up: "That's what I said, and no more".
Sophistic & Logic
- This stratagem is related to the 4th strategem "Conceal Your Game".
Or you may put questions in an order different from that which the conclusion to be drawn from them requires, and transpose them, so as not to let him know at what you are aiming. He can then take no precautions. You may also use his answers for different or even opposite conclusions, according to their character. This is akin to the trick of masking your procedure.
Sophistic & Logic
This stratagem has this form :
- A says X.
- B attacks Y (Y is a voluntary misunderstanding of X)
- Thefore X is false/incorrect.
The Homonymy. - This trick is to extend a proposition to something which has little or nothing in common with the matter in question but the similarity of the word; then to refute it triumphantly, and so claim credit for having refuted the original statement.
It may be noted here that synonyms are two words for the same conception; homonyms, two conceptions which are covered by the same word. (See Aristotle, Topica, bk. i., c. 13.) "Deep," "cutting," "high," used at one moment of bodies, at another of tones, are homonyms; "honourable" and "honest" are synonyms.
This is a trick which may be regarded as identical with the sophism ex homonymia; although, if the sophism is obvious, it will deceive no one.
Every light can be extinguished. The intellect is a light. Therefore it can, be extinguished.
Here it is at once clear that there are four terms in the syllogism, "light" being used both in a real and in a metaphorical sense. But if the sophism takes a subtle form, it is, of course, apt to mislead, especially where the conceptions which are covered by the same word are related, and inclined to be interchangeable. It is never subtle enough to deceive, if it is used intentionally; and therefore cases of it must be collected from actual and individual experience.
It would be a very good thing if every trick could receive some short and obviously appropriate name, so that when a man used this or that particular trick, he could be at once reproached for it.
I will give two examples of the homonymy.
Example 1 - A.: "You are not yet initiated into the mysteries of the Kantian philosophy."
B.: "Oh, if it's mysteries you're talking of, I'll have nothing to do with them."
Example 2. - I condemned the principle involved in the word honour as a foolish one; for, according to it, a man loses his honour by receiving all insult, which he cannot wipe out unless he replies with a still greater insult, or by shedding his adversary's blood or his own. I contended that a man's true honour cannot be outraged by what he suffers, but only and alone by what he does; for there is no saying what may befall any one of us. My opponent immediately attacked the reason I had given, and triumphantly proved to me that when a tradesman was falsely accused of misrepresentation, dishonesty, or neglect in his business, it was an attack upon his honour, which in this case was outraged solely by what he suffered, and that he could only retrieve it by punishing his aggressor and making him retract.
Here, by a homonymy, he was foisting civic honour, which is otherwise called good name, and which may be outraged by libel and slander, on to the conception of knightly honour, also called point d'honneur, which may be outraged by insult. And since an attack on the former cannot be disregarded, but must be repelled by public disproof, so, with the same justification, an attack on the latter must not be disregarded either, but it must be defeated by still greater insult and a duel. Here we have a confusion of two essentially different things through the homonymy in the word honour, and a consequent alteration of the point in dispute.
Sophistic & Logic
This stratagem relies on the "petitio principii" fallacy, used here as an argument against the opponent.
If your opponent requires you to admit something from which the point in dispute will immediately follow, you must refuse to do so, declaring that it is a petitio principii. For he and the audience will regard a proposition which is near akin to the point in dispute as identical with it, and in this way you deprive him of his best argument.
The Art of Controversy - Schopenhauer
- 01 - Extension
- 02 - Homonymy
- 03 - Generalize your Opponent's Specific Statements
- 04 - Conceal your game
- 05 - False propositions
- 06 - Postulate What Has To Be Proved
- 07 - Yield Admissions through questions
- 08 - Make Your Opponent Angry
- 09 - Questions in Detouring Order
- 10 - Take Advantage of The Nay-Sayer
- 11 - Generalize Admissions of Specific Cases
- 12 - Choose Metaphors Favourable to Your Proposition
- 13 - Agree to Reject the Counter-Proposition
- 14 - Claim Victory Despite Defeat
- 15 - Use Seemingly Absurd Propositions
- 16 - Arguments Ad Hominem
- 17 - Defense Through Subtle Distinction
- 18 - Interrupt, Break, Divert the Dispute
- 19 - Generalize the Matter, Then Argue Against it
- 20 - Draw Conclusions Yourself
- 21 - Meet him With a Counter-Argument as Bad as His
- 22 - Petitio Principii
- 23 - Make Him Exaggerate his Statement
- 24 - State a False Syllogism
- 25 - Find One Instance to The Contrary
- 26 - Turn The Tables
- 27 - Anger Indicates a Weak Point
- 28 - Persuade the Audience, Not The Opponent
- 29 - Diversion
- 30 - Appeal to Authority Rather Than Reason
- 31 - This is Beyond Me
- 32 - Put His Thesis Into Some Odious Category
- 33 - It Applies in Theory, But Not in Practice
- 34 - Don't Let Him Off The Hook
- 35 - Will is More Effective Than Insight
- 36 - Bewilder Your opponent by Mere Bombast
- 37 - A Faulty Proof Refutes His Whole Position
- 38 - The Ultimate Stratagem
- Intro I - Logic And Dialectic
- Intro II - Controversial Dialectic
- Intro III - The Basis Of All Dialectic