In Puritanical philosophy there is a method for arguing which is called "sophistry".

In this technique, the arguer uses a clever so called specific method in which they would use some key points of the other arguer and put them in a loop in a way that the guy gives up (usually because they have said some truths and they had some very tiny conflicts and overlaps with each other and these overlaps which the first arguer has used them in his own favor and defeats the second arguer in this way though this is not what the truth is. As far as I know, in AmE, people (specially youths or uneducated people) rarely have heard this word sophistry.

Now imagine someone is trying to use this technique in a debate with you. How a native speaker would say such a sentence in English:

  • What you do is called sophistry. Don't sophisticating so much.

I feel they do not work at least in modern American English and I'm sure there is an alternative is every day speech vocabulary. I would appreciate it if someone could let me know what is in common use these days which can indicate the matter in my question.

  • 1
    You might also be interested in the saying "The Devil can quote Scripture (that is, the Bible) for his own purpose", which means something like "Someone's own argument can be twisted to use against them." – stangdon Jan 11 '17 at 15:32
  • sophisticate is NOT a verb in English. Sophism and sophistry are two different things and all this is Greek not Puritanical philosophy whatever that is. To use specious reasoning. – Lambie Jan 11 '17 at 16:32
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    @Lambie - Actually, M-W says that sophisticate is a verb in English. Admittedly it doesn't mean what the OP wants, and I don't think I've ever heard it used. – stangdon Jan 11 '17 at 17:00
  • Ok, it is a verb but it is not related to sophistry. I never heard it used as a verb. A new one on me. – Lambie Jan 11 '17 at 17:14
  • @stangdon sophisticate is not a verb for all intents and purposes here. But, hey, whatever floats your boat. – Lambie Apr 8 at 20:54

The closest thing I can think of is to chop logic. As this site defines it, it means something like "Using the technical tools of logic in an unhelpful and pedantic manner by focusing on trivial details instead of directly addressing the main issue in a dispute."

It's used like

"Castor, you're chopping logic," he hissed...

As for the argument about commensurate lines, namely that all lines are measured by one and the same unit of measurement, this is merely chopping logic...

"Don't chop logic with me, Hester," he pleaded...

You are correct that sophisticate is not really used that way; it does not mean "to use sophistry".

  • What about "this is sophistry" @stangdon? Does it make any sense in the situation I painted Or "don't use sophistry"? Do they make sense in modern AmE? – A-friend Jan 11 '17 at 15:32
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    Yes, "This is sophistry" is perfectly fine. – stangdon Jan 11 '17 at 15:36

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