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[11] Again, where the question is one of duty: who ever consults a soothsayer as to how he should demean himself towards his parents, his brothers, or his friends? or as to how he should use his wealth, his office, or his power? Such matters are usually referred to sages, not to diviners.

"Furthermore, can any of the questions of dialectic or of physics be solved by divination? For example, is there one world, or are there many worlds? What are the primary elements from which all things are derived? Such problems belong to the science of physics. Again, suppose one should wish to know how to resolve the 'liar' fallacy,1 which the Greeks call 'ψευδόμενον;' or how to meet the 'heap' fallacy, known in Greek as sorites (which, [p. 383] if a Latin equivalent were needed, could be represented by the word acervalis, but none is needed; for, just as the word 'philosophy' and many other words are of Greek origin and are in general use as Latin words, so it is with sorites),2 —in both these cases the logician, and not the diviner, would speak.

"Assume, next, that the inquiry is as to the best form of government, or as to what laws or what customs are beneficial and what are harmful, will you call soothsayers out of Etruria to settle the question, or will you accept the decision of men of eminence chosen for their knowledge of statecraft?

1 The form of this fallacy best known was this: “Epimenides calls the Cretans liars, but he is himself a Cretan; does he then lie or tell the truth?” Cf. Cic. Acad. ii. 29. 95; Gellius xviii. 2. 10.

2 The original form of this fallacy began with the question “Does one grain make a heap?” The answer was “no.” One grain after another was added until there were, say, n grains, when it would be admitted that n + 1 grains made a heap. Hence the difference between n + 1 and n grains, or one grain, made a heap, which was contrary to the first answer. Cf. Reid's A cad. ii. 16. 49 note.

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