Topics, by Aristotle

Book II

1

Of problems some are universal, others particular. Universal problems are such as ‘Every pleasure is good’ and ‘No pleasure is good’; particular problems are such as ‘Some pleasure is good’ and ‘Some pleasure is not good’. The methods of establishing and overthrowing a view universally are common to both kinds of problems; for when we have shown that a predicate belongs in every case, we shall also have shown that it belongs in some cases. Likewise, also, if we show that it does not belong in any case, we shall also have shown that it does not belong in every case. First, then, we must speak of the methods of overthrowing a view universally, because such are common to both universal and particular problems, and because people more usually introduce theses asserting a predicate than denying it, while those who argue with them overthrow it. The conversion of an appropriate name which is drawn from the element ‘accident’ is an extremely precarious thing; for in the case of accidents and in no other it is possible for something to be true conditionally and not universally. Names drawn from the elements ‘definition’ and ‘property’ and ‘genus’ are bound to be convertible; e.g. if ‘to be an animal that walks on two feet is an attribute of S’, then it will be true by conversion to say that ‘S is an animal that walks on two feet’. Likewise, also, if drawn from the genus; for if ‘to be an animal is an attribute of S’, then ‘S is an animal’. The same is true also in the case of a property; for if ‘to be capable of learning grammar is an attribute of S’, then ‘S will be capable of learning grammar’. For none of these attributes can possibly belong or not belong in part; they must either belong or not belong absolutely. In the case of accidents, on the other hand, there is nothing to prevent an attribute (e.g. whiteness or justice) belonging in part, so that it is not enough to show that whiteness or justice is an attribute of a man in order to show that he is white or just; for it is open to dispute it and say that he is white or just in part only. Conversion, then, is not a necessary process in the case of accidents.

We must also define the errors that occur in problems. They are of two kinds, caused either by false statement or by transgression of the established diction. For those who make false statements, and say that an attribute belongs to thing which does not belong to it, commit error; and those who call objects by the names of other objects (e.g. calling a planetree a ‘man’) transgress the established terminology.

2

Now one commonplace rule is to look and see if a man has ascribed as an accident what belongs in some other way. This mistake is most commonly made in regard to the genera of things, e.g. if one were to say that white happens (accidit) to be a colour-for being a colour does not happen by accident to white, but colour is its genus. The assertor may of course define it so in so many words, saying (e.g.) that ‘Justice happens (accidit) to be a virtue’; but often even without such definition it is obvious that he has rendered the genus as an accident; e.g. suppose that one were to say that whiteness is coloured or that walking is in motion. For a predicate drawn from the genus is never ascribed to the species in an inflected form, but always the genera are predicated of their species literally; for the species take on both the name and the definition of their genera. A man therefore who says that white is ‘coloured’ has not rendered ‘coloured’ as its genus, seeing that he has used an inflected form, nor yet as its property or as its definition: for the definition and property of a thing belong to it and to nothing else, whereas many things besides white are coloured, e.g. a log, a stone, a man, and a horse. Clearly then he renders it as an accident.

Another rule is to examine all cases where a predicate has been either asserted or denied universally to belong to something. Look at them species by species, and not in their infinite multitude: for then the inquiry will proceed more directly and in fewer steps. You should look and begin with the most primary groups, and then proceed in order down to those that are not further divisible: e.g. if a man has said that the knowledge of opposites is the same, you should look and see whether it be so of relative opposites and of contraries and of terms signifying the privation or presence of certain states, and of contradictory terms. Then, if no clear result be reached so far in these cases, you should again divide these until you come to those that are not further divisible, and see (e.g.) whether it be so of just deeds and unjust, or of the double and the half, or of blindness and sight, or of being and not-being: for if in any case it be shown that the knowledge of them is not the same we shall have demolished the problem. Likewise, also, if the predicate belongs in no case. This rule is convertible for both destructive and constructive purposes: for if, when we have suggested a division, the predicate appears to hold in all or in a large number of cases, we may then claim that the other should actually assert it universally, or else bring a negative instance to show in what case it is not so: for if he does neither of these things, a refusal to assert it will make him look absurd.

Another rule is to make definitions both of an accident and of its subject, either of both separately or else of one of them, and then look and see if anything untrue has been assumed as true in the definitions. Thus (e.g.) to see if it is possible to wrong a god, ask what is ‘to wrong’? For if it be ‘to injure deliberately’, clearly it is not possible for a god to be wronged: for it is impossible that God should be injured. Again, to see if the good man is jealous, ask who is the ‘jealous’ man and what is ‘jealousy’. For if ‘jealousy’ is pain at the apparent success of some well-behaved person, clearly the good man is not jealous: for then he would be bad. Again, to see if the indignant man is jealous, ask who each of them is: for then it will be obvious whether the statement is true or false; e.g. if he is ‘jealous’ who grieves at the successes of the good, and he is ‘indignant’ who grieves at the successes of the evil, then clearly the indignant man would not be jealous. A man should substitute definitions also for the terms contained in his definitions, and not stop until he comes to a familiar term: for often if the definition be rendered whole, the point at issue is not cleared up, whereas if for one of the terms used in the definition a definition be stated, it becomes obvious.

Moreover, a man should make the problem into a proposition for himself, and then bring a negative instance against it: for the negative instance will be a ground of attack upon the assertion. This rule is very nearly the same as the rule to look into cases where a predicate has been attributed or denied universally: but it differs in the turn of the argument.

Moreover, you should define what kind of things should be called as most men call them, and what should not. For this is useful both for establishing and for overthrowing a view: e.g. you should say that we ought to use our terms to mean the same things as most people mean by them, but when we ask what kind of things are or are not of such and such a kind, we should not here go with the multitude: e.g. it is right to call ‘healthy’ whatever tends to produce health, as do most men: but in saying whether the object before us tends to produce health or not, we should adopt the language no longer of the multitude but of the doctor.

3

Moreover, if a term be used in several senses, and it has been laid down that it is or that it is not an attribute of S, you should show your case of one of its several senses, if you cannot show it of both. This rule is to be observed in cases where the difference of meaning is undetected; for supposing this to be obvious, then the other man will object that the point which he himself questioned has not been discussed, but only the other point. This commonplace rule is convertible for purposes both of establishing and of overthrowing a view. For if we want to establish a statement, we shall show that in one sense the attribute belongs, if we cannot show it of both senses: whereas if we are overthrowing a statement, we shall show that in one sense the attribute does not belong, if we cannot show it of both senses. Of course, in overthrowing a statement there is no need to start the discussion by securing any admission, either when the statement asserts or when it denies the attribute universally: for if we show that in any case whatever the attribute does not belong, we shall have demolished the universal assertion of it, and likewise also if we show that it belongs in a single case, we shall demolish the universal denial of it. Whereas in establishing a statement we ought to secure a preliminary admission that if it belongs in any case whatever, it belongs universally, supposing this claim to be a plausible one. For it is not enough to discuss a single instance in order to show that an attribute belongs universally; e.g. to argue that if the soul of man be immortal, then every soul is immortal, so that a previous admission must be secured that if any soul whatever be immortal, then every soul is immortal. This is not to be done in every case, but only whenever we are not easily able to quote any single argument applying to all cases in common, as (e.g.) the geometrician can argue that the triangle has its angles equal to two right angles.

If, again, the variety of meanings of a term be obvious, distinguish how many meanings it has before proceeding either to demolish or to establish it: e.g. supposing ‘the right’ to mean ‘the expedient’ or ‘the honourable’, you should try either to establish or to demolish both descriptions of the subject in question; e.g. by showing that it is honourable and expedient, or that it is neither honourable nor expedient. Supposing, however, that it is impossible to show both, you should show the one, adding an indication that it is true in the one sense and not in the other. The same rule applies also when the number of senses into which it is divided is more than two.

Again, consider those expressions whose meanings are many, but differ not by way of ambiguity of a term, but in some other way: e.g. ‘The science of many things is one’: here ‘many things’ may mean the end and the means to that end, as (e.g.) medicine is the science both of producing health and of dieting; or they may be both of them ends, as the science of contraries is said to be the same (for of contraries the one is no more an end than the other); or again they may be an essential and an accidental attribute, as (e.g.) the essential fact that the triangle has its angles equal to two right angles, and the accidental fact that the equilateral figure has them so: for it is because of the accident of the equilateral triangle happening to be a triangle that we know that it has its angles equal to two right angles. If, then, it is not possible in any sense of the term that the science of many things should be the same, it clearly is altogether impossible that it should be so; or, if it is possible in some sense, then clearly it is possible. Distinguish as many meanings as are required: e.g. if we want to establish a view, we should bring forward all such meanings as admit that view and should divide them only into those meanings which also are required for the establishment of our case: whereas if we want to overthrow a view, we should bring forward all that do not admit that view, and leave the rest aside. We must deal also in these cases as well with any uncertainty about the number of meanings involved. Further, that one thing is, or is not, ‘of’ another should be established by means of the same commonplace rules; e.g. that a particular science is of a particular thing, treated either as an end or as a means to its end, or as accidentally connected with it; or again that it is not ‘of’ it in any of the aforesaid ways. The same rule holds true also of desire and all other terms that have more than one object. For the ‘desire of X’ may mean the desire of it as an end (e.g. the desire of health) or as a means to an end (e.g. the desire of being doctored), or as a thing desired accidentally, as, in the case of wine, the sweet-toothed person desires it not because it is wine but because it is sweet. For essentially he desires the sweet, and only accidentally the wine: for if it be dry, he no longer desires it. His desire for it is therefore accidental. This rule is useful in dealing with relative terms: for cases of this kind are generally cases of relative terms.

4

Moreover, it is well to alter a term into one more familiar, e.g. to substitute ‘clear’ for ‘exact’ in describing a conception, and ‘being fussy’ for ‘being busy’: for when the expression is made more familiar, the thesis becomes easier to attack. This commonplace rule also is available for both purposes alike, both for establishing and for overthrowing a view.

In order to show that contrary attributes belong to the same thing, look at its genus; e.g. if we want to show that rightness and wrongness are possible in regard to perception, and to perceive is to judge, while it is possible to judge rightly or wrongly, then in regard to perception as well rightness and wrongness must be possible. In the present instance the proof proceeds from the genus and relates to the species: for ‘to judge’ is the genus of ‘to — perceive’; for the man who perceives judges in a certain way. But per contra it may proceed from the species to the genus: for all the attributes that belong to the species belong to the genus as well; e.g. if there is a bad and a good knowledge there is also a bad and a good disposition: for ‘disposition’ is the genus of knowledge. Now the former commonplace argument is fallacious for purposes of establishing a view, while the second is true. For there is no necessity that all the attributes that belong to the genus should belong also to the species; for ‘animal’ is flying and quadruped, but not so ‘man’. All the attributes, on the other hand, that belong to the species must of necessity belong also to the genus; for if ‘man’ is good, then animal also is good. On the other hand, for purposes of overthrowing a view, the former argument is true while the latter is fallacious; for all the attributes which do not belong to the genus do not belong to the species either; whereas all those that are wanting to the species are not of necessity wanting to the genus.

Since those things of which the genus is predicated must also of necessity have one of its species predicated of them, and since those things that are possessed of the genus in question, or are described by terms derived from that genus, must also of necessity be possessed of one of its species or be described by terms derived from one of its species (e.g. if to anything the term ‘scientific knowledge’ be applied, then also there will be applied to it the term ‘grammatical’ or ‘musical’ knowledge, or knowledge of one of the other sciences; and if any one possesses scientific knowledge or is described by a term derived from ‘science’, then he will also possess grammatical or musical knowledge or knowledge of one of the other sciences, or will be described by a term derived from one of them, e.g. as a ‘grammarian’ or a ‘musician’)-therefore if any expression be asserted that is in any way derived from the genus (e.g. that the soul is in motion), look and see whether it be possible for the soul to be moved with any of the species of motion; whether (e.g.) it can grow or be destroyed or come to be, and so forth with all the other species of motion. For if it be not moved in any of these ways, clearly it does not move at all. This commonplace rule is common for both purposes, both for overthrowing and for establishing a view: for if the soul moves with one of the species of motion, clearly it does move; while if it does not move with any of the species of motion, clearly it does not move.

If you are not well equipped with an argument against the assertion, look among the definitions, real or apparent, of the thing before you, and if one is not enough, draw upon several. For it will be easier to attack people when committed to a definition: for an attack is always more easily made on definitions.

Moreover, look and see in regard to the thing in question, what it is whose reality conditions the reality of the thing in question, or what it is whose reality necessarily follows if the thing in question be real: if you wish to establish a view inquire what there is on whose reality the reality of the thing in question will follow (for if the former be shown to be real, then the thing in question will also have been shown to be real); while if you want to overthrow a view, ask what it is that is real if the thing in question be real, for if we show that what follows from the thing in question is unreal, we shall have demolished the thing in question.

Moreover, look at the time involved, to see if there be any discrepancy anywhere: e.g. suppose a man to have stated that what is being nourished of necessity grows: for animals are always of necessity being nourished, but they do not always grow. Likewise, also, if he has said that knowing is remembering: for the one is concerned with past time, whereas the other has to do also with the present and the future. For we are said to know things present and future (e.g. that there will be an eclipse), whereas it is impossible to remember anything save what is in the past.

5

Moreover, there is the sophistic turn of argument, whereby we draw our opponent into the kind of statement against which we shall be well supplied with lines of argument. This process is sometimes a real necessity, sometimes an apparent necessity, sometimes neither an apparent nor a real necessity. It is really necessary whenever the answerer has denied any view that would be useful in attacking the thesis, and the questioner thereupon addresses his arguments to the support of this view, and when moreover the view in question happens to be one of a kind on which he has a good stock of lines of argument. Likewise, also, it is really necessary whenever he (the questioner) first, by an induction made by means of the view laid down, arrives at a certain statement and then tries to demolish that statement: for when once this has been demolished, the view originally laid down is demolished as well. It is an apparent necessity, when the point to which the discussion comes to be directed appears to be useful, and relevant to the thesis, without being really so; whether it be that the man who is standing up to the argument has refused to concede something, or whether he (the questioner) has first reached it by a plausible induction based upon the thesis and then tries to demolish it. The remaining case is when the point to which the discussion comes to be directed is neither really nor apparently necessary, and it is the answerer’s luck to be confuted on a mere side issue You should beware of the last of the aforesaid methods; for it appears to be wholly disconnected from, and foreign to, the art of dialectic. For this reason, moreover, the answerer should not lose his temper, but assent to those statements that are of no use in attacking the thesis, adding an indication whenever he assents although he does not agree with the view. For, as a rule, it increases the confusion of questioners if, after all propositions of this kind have been granted them, they can then draw no conclusion.

Moreover, any one who has made any statement whatever has in a certain sense made several statements, inasmuch as each statement has a number of necessary consequences: e.g. the man who said ‘X is a man’ has also said that it is an animal and that it is animate and a biped and capable of acquiring reason and knowledge, so that by the demolition of any single one of these consequences, of whatever kind, the original statement is demolished as well. But you should beware here too of making a change to a more difficult subject: for sometimes the consequence, and sometimes the original thesis, is the easier to demolish.

6

In regard to subjects which must have one and one only of two predicates, as (e.g.) a man must have either a disease or health, supposing we are well supplied as regards the one for arguing its presence or absence, we shall be well equipped as regards the remaining one as well. This rule is convertible for both purposes: for when we have shown that the one attribute belongs, we shall have shown that the remaining one does not belong; while if we show that the one does not belong, we shall have shown that the remaining one does belong. Clearly then the rule is useful for both purposes.

Moreover, you may devise a line of attack by reinterpreting a term in its literal meaning, with the implication that it is most fitting so to take it rather than in its established meaning: e.g. the expression ‘strong at heart’ will suggest not the courageous man, according to the use now established, but the man the state of whose heart is strong; just as also the expression ‘of a good hope’ may be taken to mean the man who hopes for good things. Likewise also ‘well-starred’ may be taken to mean the man whose star is good, as Xenocrates says ‘well-starred is he who has a noble soul’.’ For a man’s star is his soul.

Some things occur of necessity, others usually, others however it may chance; if therefore a necessary event has been asserted to occur usually, or if a usual event (or, failing such an event itself, its contrary) has been stated to occur of necessity, it always gives an opportunity for attack. For if a necessary event has been asserted to occur usually, clearly the speaker has denied an attribute to be universal which is universal, and so has made a mistake: and so he has if he has declared the usual attribute to be necessary: for then he declares it to belong universally when it does not so belong. Likewise also if he has declared the contrary of what is usual to be necessary. For the contrary of a usual attribute is always a comparatively rare attribute: e.g. if men are usually bad, they are comparatively seldom good, so that his mistake is even worse if he has declared them to be good of necessity. The same is true also if he has declared a mere matter of chance to happen of necessity or usually; for a chance event happens neither of necessity nor usually. If the thing happens usually, then even supposing his statement does not distinguish whether he meant that it happens usually or that it happens necessarily, it is open to you to discuss it on the assumption that he meant that it happens necessarily: e.g. if he has stated without any distinction that disinherited persons are bad, you may assume in discussing it that he means that they are so necessarily.

Moreover, look and see also if he has stated a thing to be an accident of itself, taking it to be a different thing because it has a different name, as Prodicus used to divide pleasures into joy and delight and good cheer: for all these are names of the same thing, to wit, Pleasure. If then any one says that joyfulness is an accidental attribute of cheerfulness, he would be declaring it to be an accidental attribute of itself.

7

Inasmuch as contraries can be conjoined with each other in six ways, and four of these conjunctions constitute a contrariety, we must grasp the subject of contraries, in order that it may help us both in demolishing and in establishing a view. Well then, that the modes of conjunction are six is clear: for either (1) each of the contrary verbs will be conjoined to each of the contrary objects; and this gives two modes: e.g. to do good to friends and to do evil to enemies, or per contra to do evil to friends and to do good to enemies. Or else (2) both verbs may be attached to one object; and this too gives two modes, e.g. to do good to friends and to do evil to friends, or to do good to enemies and to do evil to enemies. Or (3) a single verb may be attached to both objects: and this also gives two modes; e.g. to do good to friends and to do good to enemies, or to do evil to friends and evil to enemies.

The first two then of the aforesaid conjunctions do not constitute any contrariety; for the doing of good to friends is not contrary to the doing of evil to enemies: for both courses are desirable and belong to the same disposition. Nor is the doing of evil to friends contrary to the doing of good to enemies: for both of these are objectionable and belong to the same disposition: and one objectionable thing is not generally thought to be the contrary of another, unless the one be an expression denoting an excess, and the other an expression denoting a defect: for an excess is generally thought to belong to the class of objectionable things, and likewise also a defect. But the other four all constitute a contrariety. For to do good to friends is contrary to the doing of evil to friends: for it proceeds from the contrary disposition, and the one is desirable, and the other objectionable. The case is the same also in regard to the other conjunctions: for in each combination the one course is desirable, and the other objectionable, and the one belongs to a reasonable disposition and the other to a bad. Clearly, then, from what has been said, the same course has more than one contrary. For the doing of good to friends has as its contrary both the doing of good to enemies and the doing of evil to friends. Likewise, if we examine them in the same way, we shall find that the contraries of each of the others also are two in number. Select therefore whichever of the two contraries is useful in attacking the thesis.

Moreover, if the accident of a thing have a contrary, see whether it belongs to the subject to which the accident in question has been declared to belong: for if the latter belongs the former could not belong; for it is impossible that contrary predicates should belong at the same time to the same thing.

Or again, look and see if anything has been said about something, of such a kind that if it be true, contrary predicates must necessarily belong to the thing: e.g. if he has said that the ‘Ideas’ exist in us. For then the result will be that they are both in motion and at rest, and moreover that they are objects both of sensation and of thought. For according to the views of those who posit the existence of Ideas, those Ideas are at rest and are objects of thought; while if they exist in us, it is impossible that they should be unmoved: for when we move, it follows necessarily that all that is in us moves with us as well. Clearly also they are objects of sensation, if they exist in us: for it is through the sensation of sight that we recognize the Form present in each individual.

Again, if there be posited an accident which has a contrary, look and see if that which admits of the accident will admit of its contrary as well: for the same thing admits of contraries. Thus (e.g.) if he has asserted that hatred follows anger, hatred would in that case be in the ‘spirited faculty’: for that is where anger is. You should therefore look and see if its contrary, to wit, friendship, be also in the ‘spirited faculty’: for if not-if friendship is in the faculty of desire-then hatred could not follow anger. Likewise also if he has asserted that the faculty of desire is ignorant. For if it were capable of ignorance, it would be capable of knowledge as well: and this is not generally held-I mean that the faculty of desire is capable of knowledge. For purposes, then, of overthrowing a view, as has been said, this rule should be observed: but for purposes of establishing one, though the rule will not help you to assert that the accident actually belongs, it will help you to assert that it may possibly belong. For having shown that the thing in question will not admit of the contrary of the accident asserted, we shall have shown that the accident neither belongs nor can possibly belong; while on the other hand, if we show that the contrary belongs, or that the thing is capable of the contrary, we shall not indeed as yet have shown that the accident asserted does belong as well; our proof will merely have gone to this point, that it is possible for it to belong.

8

Seeing that the modes of opposition are four in number, you should look for arguments among the contradictories of your terms, converting the order of their sequence, both when demolishing and when establishing a view, and you should secure them by means of induction-such arguments (e.g.) as that man be an animal, what is not an animal is not a man’: and likewise also in other instances of contradictories. For in those cases the sequence is converse: for ‘animal’ follows upon ‘man but ‘not-animal’ does not follow upon ‘not-man’, but conversely ‘not-man’ upon ‘not-animal’. In all cases, therefore, a postulate of this sort should be made, (e.g.) that ‘If the honourable is pleasant, what is not pleasant is not honourable, while if the latter be untrue, so is the former’. Likewise, also, ‘If what is not pleasant be not honourable, then what is honourable is pleasant’. Clearly, then, the conversion of the sequence formed by contradiction of the terms of the thesis is a method convertible for both purposes.

Then look also at the case of the contraries of S and P in the thesis, and see if the contrary of the one follows upon the contrary of the other, either directly or conversely, both when you are demolishing and when you are establishing a view: secure arguments of this kind as well by means of induction, so far as may be required. Now the sequence is direct in a case such as that of courage and cowardice: for upon the one of them virtue follows, and vice upon the other; and upon the one it follows that it is desirable, while upon the other it follows that it is objectionable. The sequence, therefore, in the latter case also is direct; for the desirable is the contrary of the objectionable. Likewise also in other cases. The sequence is, on the other hand, converse in such a case as this: Health follows upon vigour, but disease does not follow upon debility; rather debility follows upon disease. In this case, then, clearly the sequence is converse. Converse sequence is, however, rare in the case of contraries; usually the sequence is direct. If, therefore, the contrary of the one term does not follow upon the contrary of the other either directly or conversely, clearly neither does the one term follow upon the other in the statement made: whereas if the one followed the other in the case of the contraries, it must of necessity do so as well in the original statement.

You should look also into cases of the privation or presence of a state in like manner to the case of contraries. Only, in the case of such privations the converse sequence does not occur: the sequence is always bound to be direct: e.g. as sensation follows sight, while absence of sensation follows blindness. For the opposition of sensation to absence of sensation is an opposition of the presence to the privation of a state: for the one of them is a state, and the other the privation of it.

The case of relative terms should also be studied in like manner to that of a state and its privation: for the sequence of these as well is direct; e.g. if 3/1 is a multiple, then 1/3 is a fraction: for 3/1 is relative to 1/3, and so is a multiple to a fraction. Again, if knowledge be a conceiving, then also the object of knowledge is an object of conception; and if sight be a sensation, then also the object of sight is an object of sensation. An objection may be made that there is no necessity for the sequence to take place, in the case of relative terms, in the way described: for the object of sensation is an object of knowledge, whereas sensation is not knowledge. The objection is, however, not generally received as really true; for many people deny that there is knowledge of objects of sensation. Moreover, the principle stated is just as useful for the contrary purpose, e.g. to show that the object of sensation is not an object of knowledge, on the ground that neither is sensation knowledge.

9

Again look at the case of the co-ordinates and inflected forms of the terms in the thesis, both in demolishing and in establishing it. By co-ordinates’ are meant terms such as the following: ‘Just deeds’ and the ‘just man’ are coordinates of ‘justice’, and ‘courageous deeds’ and the ‘courageous man’ are co-ordinates of courage. Likewise also things that tend to produce and to preserve anything are called co-ordinates of that which they tend to produce and to preserve, as e.g. ‘healthy habits’ are co-ordinates of ‘health’ and a ‘vigorous constitutional’ of a ‘vigorous constitution’ and so forth also in other cases. ‘Co-ordinate’, then, usually describes cases such as these, whereas ‘inflected forms’ are such as the following: ‘justly’, ‘courageously’, ‘healthily’, and such as are formed in this way. It is usually held that words when used in their inflected forms as well are co-ordinates, as (e.g.) ‘justly’ in relation to justice, and ‘courageously’ to courage; and then ‘co-ordinate’ describes all the members of the same kindred series, e.g. ‘justice’, ‘just’, of a man or an act, ‘justly’. Clearly, then, when any one member, whatever its kind, of the same kindred series is shown to be good or praiseworthy, then all the rest as well come to be shown to be so: e.g. if ‘justice’ be something praiseworthy, then so will ‘just’, of a man or thing, and ‘justly’ connote something praiseworthy. Then ‘justly’ will be rendered also ‘praiseworthily’, derived will by the same inflexion from ‘the praiseworthy’ whereby ‘justly’ is derived from ‘justice’.

Look not only in the case of the subject mentioned, but also in the case of its contrary, for the contrary predicate: e.g. argue that good is not necessarily pleasant; for neither is evil painful: or that, if the latter be the case, so is the former. Also, if justice be knowledge, then injustice is ignorance: and if ‘justly’ means ‘knowingly’ and ‘skilfully’, then ‘unjustly’ means ‘ignorantly’ and ‘unskilfully’: whereas if the latter be not true, neither is the former, as in the instance given just now: for ‘unjustly’ is more likely to seem equivalent to ‘skilfully’ than to ‘unskilfully’. This commonplace rule has been stated before in dealing with the sequence of contraries; for all we are claiming now is that the contrary of P shall follow the contrary of S.

Moreover, look at the modes of generation and destruction of a thing, and at the things which tend to produce or to destroy it, both in demolishing and in establishing a view. For those things whose modes of generation rank among good things, are themselves also good; and if they themselves be good, so also are their modes of generation. If, on the other hand, their modes of generation be evil, then they themselves also are evil. In regard to modes of destruction the converse is true: for if the modes of destruction rank as good things, then they themselves rank as evil things; whereas if the modes of destruction count as evil, they themselves count as good. The same argument applies also to things tending to produce and destroy: for things whose productive causes are good, themselves also rank as good; whereas if causes destructive of them are good, they themselves rank as evil.

10

Again, look at things which are like the subject in question, and see if they are in like case; e.g. if one branch of knowledge has more than one object, so also will one opinion; and if to possess sight be to see, then also to possess hearing will be to hear. Likewise also in the case of other things, both those which are and those which are generally held to be like. The rule in question is useful for both purposes; for if it be as stated in the case of some one like thing, it is so with the other like things as well, whereas if it be not so in the case of some one of them, neither is it so in the case of the others. Look and see also whether the cases are alike as regards a single thing and a number of things: for sometimes there is a discrepancy. Thus, if to ‘know’ a thing be to ‘think of’ it, then also to ‘know many things’ is to ‘be thinking of many things’; whereas this is not true; for it is possible to know many things but not to be thinking of them. If, then, the latter proposition be not true, neither was the former that dealt with a single thing, viz. that to ‘know’ a thing is to ‘think of’ it.

Moreover, argue from greater and less degrees. In regard to greater degrees there are four commonplace rules. One is: See whether a greater degree of the predicate follows a greater degree of the subject: e.g. if pleasure be good, see whether also a greater pleasure be a greater good: and if to do a wrong be evil, see whether also to do a greater wrong is a greater evil. Now this rule is of use for both purposes: for if an increase of the accident follows an increase of the subject, as we have said, clearly the accident belongs; while if it does not follow, the accident does not belong. You should establish this by induction. Another rule is: If one predicate be attributed to two subjects; then supposing it does not belong to the subject to which it is the more likely to belong, neither does it belong where it is less likely to belong; while if it does belong where it is less likely to belong, then it belongs as well where it is more likely. Again: If two predicates be attributed to one subject, then if the one which is more generally thought to belong does not belong, neither does the one that is less generally thought to belong; or, if the one that is less generally thought to belong does belong, so also does the other. Moreover: If two predicates be attributed to two subjects, then if the one which is more usually thought to belong to the one subject does not belong, neither does the remaining predicate belong to the remaining subject; or, if the one which is less usually thought to belong to the one subject does belong, so too does the remaining predicate to the remaining subject.

Moreover, you can argue from the fact that an attribute belongs, or is generally supposed to belong, in a like degree, in three ways, viz. those described in the last three rules given in regard to a greater degree.’ For supposing that one predicate belongs, or is supposed to belong, to two subjects in a like degree, then if it does not belong to the one, neither does it belong to the other; while if it belongs to the one, it belongs to the remaining one as well. Or, supposing two predicates to belong in a like degree to the same subject, then, if the one does not belong, neither does the remaining one; while if the one does belong, the remaining one belongs as well. The case is the same also if two predicates belong in a like degree to two subjects; for if the one predicate does not belong to the one subject, neither does the remaining predicate belong to the remaining subject, while if the one predicate does belong to the one subject, the remaining predicate belongs to the remaining subject as well.

11

You can argue, then, from greater or less or like degrees of truth in the aforesaid number of ways. Moreover, you should argue from the addition of one thing to another. If the addition of one thing to another makes that other good or white, whereas formerly it was not white or good, then the thing added will be white or good-it will possess the character it imparts to the whole as well. Moreover, if an addition of something to a given object intensifies the character which it had as given, then the thing added will itself as well be of that character. Likewise, also, in the case of other attributes. The rule is not applicable in all cases, but only in those in which the excess described as an ‘increased intensity’ is found to take place. The above rule is, however, not convertible for overthrowing a view. For if the thing added does not make the other good, it is not thereby made clear whether in itself it may not be good: for the addition of good to evil does not necessarily make the whole good, any more than the addition of white to black makes the whole white.

Again, any predicate of which we can speak of greater or less degrees belongs also absolutely: for greater or less degrees of good or of white will not be attributed to what is not good or white: for a bad thing will never be said to have a greater or less degree of goodness than another, but always of badness. This rule is not convertible, either, for the purpose of overthrowing a predication: for several predicates of which we cannot speak of a greater degree belong absolutely: for the term ‘man’ is not attributed in greater and less degrees, but a man is a man for all that.

You should examine in the same way predicates attributed in a given respect, and at a given time and place: for if the predicate be possible in some respect, it is possible also absolutely. Likewise, also, is what is predicated at a given time or place: for what is absolutely impossible is not possible either in any respect or at any place or time. An objection may be raised that in a given respect people may be good by nature, e.g. they may be generous or temperately inclined, while absolutely they are not good by nature, because no one is prudent by nature. Likewise, also, it is possible for a destructible thing to escape destruction at a given time, whereas it is not possible for it to escape absolutely. In the same way also it is a good thing at certain places to follow see and such a diet, e.g. in infected areas, though it is not a good thing absolutely. Moreover, in certain places it is possible to live singly and alone, but absolutely it is not possible to exist singly and alone. In the same way also it is in certain places honourable to sacrifice one’s father, e.g. among the Triballi, whereas, absolutely, it is not honourable. Or possibly this may indicate a relativity not to places but to persons: for it is all the same wherever they may be: for everywhere it will be held honourable among the Triballi themselves, just because they are Triballi. Again, at certain times it is a good thing to take medicines, e.g. when one is ill, but it is not so absolutely. Or possibly this again may indicate a relativity not to a certain time, but to a certain state of health: for it is all the same whenever it occurs, if only one be in that state. A thing is ‘absolutely’ so which without any addition you are prepared to say is honourable or the contrary. Thus (e.g.) you will deny that to sacrifice one’s father is honourable: it is honourable only to certain persons: it is not therefore honourable absolutely. On the other hand, to honour the gods you will declare to be honourable without adding anything, because that is honourable absolutely. So that whatever without any addition is generally accounted to be honourable or dishonourable or anything else of that kind, will be said to be so ‘absolutely’.

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Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 12:59