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As things, most false, have often passed for true,
So gravest truths will oft be disbelieved.

38 Vid. Topic. 1. i. c. 10.

99 Aristotle says, to “die justly.”



The topic of contraries serves either to prove or to refute; we prove that an attribute belongs to any subject, when the contrary attribute is found in a contrary subject; we confute this assertion, when we show that the contrary attribute does not belong to the contrary subject.

from the


The second topic is, "that of conjugate 2. That terms," meaning thereby, words derived from derived the same root.38 The qualities applicable to any nature of conjugate one of those terms ought also to apply to all the rest. Thus, to prove that every thing that is just is not, therefore, desirable; we may argue that every thing then, is desirable, that happens justly. Yet to be hanged " justly, is not desirable.


The third topic is "that of relatives:" thus, if 3. That there is justice in the doing of any thing, there from relamust be justice in the suffering of it; or if there tives. is justice in the commanding it, there must be justice in the execution; and conversely. Diomedon, the farmer of revenues, when reproached by his countrymen for the riches acquired by this traffic, replied, "If you were not ashamed to sell your revenues, why should I, to purchase them?" Yet this way of reasoning is often sophistical for a man has suffered justly, who has justly merited death; but perhaps you, the agent, are unjust, because it was not right in you to be his executioner. It is therefore necessary to



BOOK consider the different points separately; whether, not only the sufferer suffered justly, but whether the inflicter of the punishment justly inflicted it; and to select that case which suits your occasion; for it is very possible, that the two cases may lead to different results. Thus in the Alcmæon of Theodectes 40 ;

Was not your mother by the state abhorr'd?

Alcmæon answers, "The matter must be con-
sidered distinctively;" and Alphesibæa asking,
do mean?" he rejoins,-


-'Twas right that she should die,
Not right in me to kill her.

A similar distinction occurred in the trial concerning Demosthenes, and in that of the murderers of Nicanor "; and of the man lately slain at Thebes, the murderers were acquitted on the ground, that it could not be unjust to kill a person so deserving of death.

The fourth general topic, is "that of reason

40 Theodectes, both a poet and an orator. In the tragedy alluded to, Alcmæon killed his mother, Eriphylé, in punishment of her treachery to his father Amphiaraus. Being condemned for parricide, he fled to the river Phlegeus, and was interrogated by the daughter of Phlegeus, Amphesibæa, as stated in the text.

41 As the words stand in the text, it is said that Nicanor was declared "to have died justly, because those who killed him appeared justifiable in doing so." I suspect the words to be inverted, and that "the murderers were acquitted, because Nicanor appeared deserving of death." According to this sense, the case of Nicanor will accord with the other cases mentioned. It is possible, however, that Aristotle, after giving examples to show "that when the patient suffered justly, the agent was concluded to have acted justly,” may have introduced this example to shew the converse, "that when the agents appeared to have acted justly, the patient was concluded to have suffered justly." Whichever supposition we make, the text is either incorrect or imperfect.


or reason

to the less.

ing from the greater to the less." "If the CHA P. gods," for example, do not know all things, ought weak man to boast his omniscience?" 4. A fortiori, This is to reason from the gods, who are more ing from knowing, to man, who is less so: "and a man who the greater is capable of beating his own father, will he refrain his violent hands from any other, who may fall in the way of his anger?" This topic, from the greater to the less, may be employed either to prove or disprove, to affirm or deny; for that which is able to produce the greater effect may be proved capable of producing the lesser, and that which is unable to produce the lesser effect may be denied to be capable of producing the greater.

The fifth general topic is "that from parity 5. Topic of reason." Thus,

from parity of reason.

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Your father justly mourns his fallen sons,
And should not (Eneus mourn slain Meleager,
The glorious son of Greece!

Again, If Theseus did not commit wrong in the rape of Helen, neither did Paris: if the sons of Tyndarus escaped punishment for carrying off the daughters of Leucippus, so neither ought the elopement with Helen to be prosecuted with vengeance. Again, If Hector incurred not blame for killing his enemy Patroclus, why should Paris be reproached with the death of Achilles? 42 If other artizans and artists are not deemed useless in communities, why should

42 Hector vanquished Patroclus in equal and glorious combat ; Paris killed Achilles by artifice and skill in archery. These differences are not regarded in the general topic.


BOOK those studious of wisdom, and professors of the art of life? And again, If generals do not always lose their fame when worsted, why should orators and philosophers be disgraced by defeat? “If individual citizens are watchful over your glory, Athenians! so ought you, as a state, to be watchful over the general glory of Greece." A sixth general topic is drawn "from consistsistency in ency of conduct," and the propriety of acting

6. Topic from con

will and conduct.

at one time, as we would have acted at another. Thus, Iphicrates reasoned in defending his statue against Harmodius. "Had I asked this mark of honour, before the conflict sustained by me, would you have readily promised it, and can you now refuse it after my complete success? Is not this to retract, after actual benefit, the promise made in the mere expectation of it?" In the same manner, Philip reasoned with the Thebans: "You would have engaged to grant me a free passage through your country, before I defended you from the Phocians. With what face, therefore, can you refuse this demand, after I have actually done you this most important service ?"

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7. Topic, argumen

tum ad hominem, de

rived from

The seventh topic is personal, "arising from comparison between ourselves and our adversaries, and retorting their accusations." This topic compari- may be employed in two ways, first 42, as Iphicharacters. crates, when accused of treachery, argued against

son of

42 Aristotle says, Ev To Teνxp. Some of the ancient interpreters think Teucer the name of a tragedy, others that of a tragedian. The text, in either case, is imperfect; but we should read pow in the way in which Iphicrates, &c.

Aristophon: "Would you," he said,
phon, have betrayed the fleet entrusted to you,
for a bribe?" Being answered in the negative,
he rejoined, "Can it be believed, then, that
Iphicrates should be guilty of such baseness?"
This successful retort resulted entirely from the
comparison of characters suggested by it, and
the great inferiority of Aristophon. For such
an argument would have been ridiculous, if em-
ployed against Aristides, surnamed the Just.
The second way is, when a defender discredits
his accuser, by retorting his own accusations;
for an accuser ought to be the better man, espe-
cially in those particulars which form the matter
of his accusation. The defender, therefore, by
showing the contrary of this to be the case, may
always discredit and disgrace his adversary; for
it is the absurdity of impudence to arraign others
for the very same things of which we ourselves
have been guilty, or to exhort them to a con-
duct, which we have determined never, in our
own case, to pursue.


The eighth topic is derived from the definition. 8. Topic Thus, in repelling the charge of atheism against from the Socrates, who acknowledged himself to be under definition. the guidance of a dæmon, his scholars defined a dæmon to be either a god, or the production of a god. He who believed, therefore, in the works or productions of the gods, could not disbelieve their existence. Iphicrates reasoned in the same way, when taunted with the obscurity of his birth by some boastful descendant of Harmodius or Aristogeiton. Nobility," he said,

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"Aristo- CHAP. XXIII.

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