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[4] Further, when the opponent can do nothing else but answer the question by a sophistical solution; for if he answers, “Partly yes, and partly no,” “Some are, but some are not,” “In one sense it is so, in another not,” the hearers cry out against him as being in a difficulty.1 In other cases interrogation should not be attempted; for if the adversary raises an objection, the interrogator seems to be defeated; for it is impossible to ask a number of questions, owing to the hearer's weakness. Wherefore also we should compress our enthymemes as much as possible.

1 For the first of the quibbles Sandys refers to Aristoph. Ach. 396, where Cephisophon, being asked if Euripides was indoors, replies, “Yes and no, if you understand me”; and he gives the explanation, his mind is outside, collecting scraps of poetry, while he himself is upstairs ( ἀναβάδην, unless it means “with his legs up”) composing a tragedy. The reference in the second instance is to the adversary being reduced to such a position that he cannot answer without having recourse to sophistical divisions and distinctions, which seem to imply uncertainty. Aristotle himself is fond of such “cautiously limited judgements” (Gomperz). The translation is that of the reading ἀποροῦντος, a conjecture of Spengel's. The audience will be ready to express its disapproval of his shuffling answers, which are evidence of his perplexity. The ordinary reading ἀποροῦντες attributes the “perplexity” to the hearers. Or, “the hearers, thinking he is puzzled, applaud us [the interrogator]” (Jebb).

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