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sophism

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n sophism a deliberately invalid argument displaying ingenuity in reasoning in the hope of deceiving someone
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Sophism The doctrine or mode of reasoning practiced by a sophist; hence, any fallacy designed to deceive. "When a false argument puts on the appearance of a true one, then it is properly called a sophism, or “fallacy”.""Let us first rid ourselves of sophisms, those of depraved men, and those of heartless philosophers."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n sophism A false argumentation devised for the exercise of one's ingenuity or for the purpose of deceit; sometimes, a logically false argumentation; a fallacy. The word is especially applied to certain ancient tricks of reasoning, which before the systematization of logic and grammar had a real value, and were treated as important secrets. For the various kinds of sophism, see fallacy.
    • n sophism Syn. A sophism is an argument known to be unsound by him who uses it; a paralogism is an unsound argument used without knowledge of its unsoundness. Paralogism is a strictly technical word of logic; sophism is not. Sophistry applies to reasoning as sophism to a single argument. See fallacy.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Sophism sof′izm a specious fallacy.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. sophisme, L. sophisma, fr. Gr., fr. to make wise, to be become wise, to play the sophist, fr. wise
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. sophisme—Gr. sophismasophizein, to make wise—sophos, wise.

Usage

In literature:

Some rapid sophisms embarrassed Plato.
"Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 1 (of 3)" by Isaac D'Israeli
Then begins the poor animal to entangle himself in sophisms and to flounder in absurdity.
"Obiter Dicta Second Series" by Augustine Birrell
Her little sophism pleased me.
"Debts of Honor" by Maurus Jókai
This is a sophism largely current abroad, and not without its dupes even at home.
"The Continental Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 5, May, 1864" by Various
Buridan was exempted, and, in gratitude, invented the sophism.
"A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume I (of II)" by Augustus De Morgan
I can follow my reasonings, and I hear on the other side, the sophisms my double breathes in me.
"En Route" by J.-K. (Joris-Karl) Huysmans
The declaration is an awkward attempt to saturate sophism with truism; but the sophism is left largely in excess.
"A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume II (of II)" by Augustus de Morgan
A sophism, indeed, is the chivalry of the savage.
"The Quadroon" by Mayne Reid
Its sophisms at the time of the Revolution, 368.
"Critical and Historical Essays, Volume III (of 3)" by Thomas Babington Macaulay
Curst be thy sophisms!
"André" by William Dunlap
It is based on theological juggling and traditional sophisms.
"The Book of Khalid" by Ameen Rihani
These have since been shown to be miserable sophisms.
"Ireland as It Is" by Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
Marriage at eleven could by no stretch of sophism be called a voluntary act.
"Dreamers of the Ghetto" by I. Zangwill
This is an absurd sophism.
"The Sexual Question" by August Forel
Sophism: to speak confusedly; falsehood for truth.
"Thoughts on Art and Life" by Leonardo da Vinci
Every sophism and every falsehood is a damning argument against the Russian cause.
"The Great Events by Famous Historians, v. 13" by Various
On one occasion, brought to bay by a sophism, I answered unwisely, but made a good friend.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 90, April, 1865" by Various
Then I explained my magical sophisms by the hallucination of words!
"Ivory Apes and Peacocks" by James Huneker
The preceding passage seems to rest on a similar sophism.
"English Critical Essays" by Various
We have seen with how much energy G. F. Nicolai condemns the absurdity of war and the sophisms which serve for its support.
"The Forerunners" by Romain Rolland
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In science:

Zeno’s Paradoxes have interested philosophers of all times1 although until the middle of the XIX century they were frequently considered as mere sophisms.
The Aleph-zero or zero dichotomy
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