Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE ART OF SOPHISTRY. - The English Works, vol. VI (Dialogue, Behemoth, Rhetoric)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
THE ART OF SOPHISTRY. - Thomas Hobbes, The English Works, vol. VI (Dialogue, Behemoth, Rhetoric) 
The English Works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury; Now First Collected and Edited by Sir William Molesworth, Bart., (London: Bohn, 1839-45). 11 vols. Vol. 6.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
THE ART OF SOPHISTRY.
Although the rules of Sophistry be needless for them that be perfect in logic; yet because the knowledge of them bringeth some profit to the young beginners, both for the ready answering of the subtle arguments, and the better practising of logic and rhetoric, we have thought good to turn it into the English tongue.
Sophistry is the feigned art of elenches, or coloured reasons.
A coloured reason, or elench, is a show of reason to deceive withal. It is either when the deceit lieth in the words; or in the default of logic, called a sophism.
In words, is either when the deceit lieth in one word; or in words joined together. If it were, it should be, whosoever.
In one word, is either the darkness of a word; or, the doubtfulness of a word.
The darkness of a word, or an insolence, deceiveth, when by a reason the meaning is not understood, whether the strangeness be through the oldness, newness, or swelling vanity of the words; and of the last sort is that spoken of in 2 Peter ii. 18.
By this fallacy the Papists conclude, the Fathers to be on their side for deserving by good works.
Where merits is an old word, put for any works done under the hope of reward, whether it come by desert or freedom of promise.
Doubtfulness of a word, likeness of name, is either called homonymia; or by a trope or fineness of speech.
The likeness of name, or homonymia, is when one word is given to signify divers things: as,
Where faith doth note out both a justifying faith, and a dead faith.
Doubtfulness by a trope, is when a word is taken properly, which is meant figuratively or contrarily: As,
Where by body is meant the sign or sacrament of his body.
Unto the first, a perfect logician would answer, that the proposition is not an axiom necessarily true, according to the rule of truth, because of the doubtfulness of the old and new signification of merit. And if the word be far worn out of use, that it be not understood, then the answer must be, I understand it not, or put your axiom in plain words.
To the second he would answer, that the proposition or first part is not according to the rule of righteousness, because the proper subject and adjunct are not joined together: which hath justifying faith, or believing sincerely, shall be saved; and then the assumption being in the same sense inferred is false.
Unto the third he would answer, that the assumption is not necessarily true; because if the word body be taken properly, it is not then true that is set down; but if it be taken figuratively, it is true, and therefore would bid him make the assumption necessarily true, and then say, Christ saith in proper words, it is my body; and then it is false.
Hitherto of the fallacies in single words. Now of those that are joined together.
It is either amphibolia, or the doubtfulness of speech: or exposition, or unapt setting down of the reason.
The first is, when there is doubtfulness in the frame of speech; as thus, if any obey not our word by a letter, note him: where some refer by a letter, to the first part of the sentence, and some to the latter; where the signification of the word and right pointing doth show that it must be referred to the first.
The answer is, that the right and wise placing of the sentence is perverted.
Unapt setting down of the reason, is when the parts of the question and the reasons entreated, are not set down in fit words: as,
Here the answer according to logic, is that the assumption doth not take the argument out of the proposition, but putteth in another thing; and so it is no right frame of concluding, as appeareth by the definition of the assumption.
Hitherto of the deceits of reason, which lie in words. Now of the default of logic, called sophism.
It is either general or special. The general are those which cannot be referred to any part of logic. They are either begging of the question, called the petition of the principle; or bragging of no proof.
Begging of the question, is when nothing is brought to prove but the question, or that which is doubtful: as,
Here the proposition in effect is nothing but a question.
Where the argument they bring is as doubtful, and needeth as much proof, as the question.
The answer is this, out of the definition of the syllogism; that there is no new argument invented; therefore it cannot be a certain frame of concluding.
Bragging of no proof, is when that which is brought is too much, called redounding.
It is either impertinent to another matter, called heterogenium; or a vain repetition, called tautologia.
Impertinent, or not to the purpose, is when anything is brought for a proof, which is nothing near to the matter in hand; whereunto the common proverb giveth answer, I ask you of cheese, you answer me of chalk.
A vain repetition, is when the same thing in effect, though not in words, is repeated; as they that after a long time of prayer say, Let us pray. And this fallacy our Saviour Christ (Matt. vi. 5) condemneth in prayer. And this is a fault in method.
Special are those, which may be referred to certain parts of logic, and they are of two sorts. Such as are referred to the spring of reasons, called invention; or to judgment.
Those referred to invention, are when anything is put for a reason, which is not; as no cause for a cause, no effect for an effect; and so of the rest.
In the distribution this is a proper fallacy, when anything simply or generally granted, thereby is inferred a certain respect or special not meant nor intended: as,
The right answer is, that the proposition is not necessarily true; for there may be a way to say there are not seven, and yet affirm an untruth.
Fallacies of judgment, are those that are referred to the judgment of one sentence, or of more.
Of one sentence, either to the proprieties of an axiom, or to the sorts.
To the proprieties, as when a true is put for a false, and contrarily: an affirmative for a negative, and contrarily. So some take the words of St. John, I do not say concerning it, that you shall not pray, for no denial; when as it doth deny to pray for that sin.
To the sorts, are referred either to the simple or compound.
The first, when the general is taken for the special, and contrarily. So the Papists, by this fallacy, do answer to that general saying of Paul; We are justified with faith without the works of the law: which they understand of works done before faith, when that was never called in doubt.
The fallacies which are referred to a compound axiom, are those which are referred either to a disjoined, or knitting axiom. To a disjoined axiom, when the parts indeed are not disjoined: as, Solomon was either a king, or did bear rule.
To a knitting axiom, is when the parts are not necessarily knit together; as, If Rome be on fire, the Pope’s chair is burnt.
And hitherto of the first sort of fallacies referred to judgment. Now followeth the second.
And they be either those that are referred to a syllogism; or to method. And they again are general, and special. General, which are referred to the general properties of a syllogism. It is either when all the parts are denied; or are particular. All parts denied: as,
And this must be answered, that it is not according to the definition of a negative syllogism, which must always have one affirmative.
All particular: as,
This is answered, by the definition of a special syllogism; which is, that hath one part general.
The special, are those which are simple or compound.
The simple is of two sorts. The first is more plain. The second less plain.
More plain, is when the assumption is denied, or the question is not particular: as,
Less plain, hath one fallacy in common, when the proposition is special: as,
The fallacy of the first kind, is when all the parts be affirmative: as,
The fallacy of the second kind is when the assumption is denied: as,
Hitherto of the fallacies referred to a simple syllogism. Now follow those which are referred to a compound; which are those which are referred either to the connexive, or to the disjoined.
Of the first sort, one is when the first part or antecedent is denied, that the second or consequent may be so likewise: as,
The second part is affirmed, that the first may be so also: as,
Of those referred to the disjoined, the first is when all the parts of the disjunction or proposition are not affirmed: as,
The second kind, is when the second part of the copulative negative axiom is denied, that the first may be so: as,
And thus much of the fallacies in a syllogism.
The fallacy in method is when, to deceive withal, the end is set in the beginning, the special before the general; good order be gone, confounded; and finally when darkness, length, and hardness, is laboured after.
end of vol. vi.