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Book I chapters 24-41

XXIV. Confirmation is that by means of which our speech proceeding in argument adds belief, and authority, and corroboration to our cause. As to this part there are certain fixed rules which will be divided among each separate class of causes. But it appears to be not an inconvenient course to disentangle what is not unlike a wood, or a vast promiscuous mass of materials all jumbled together; and after that to point out how it may be suitable to corroborate each separate kind of cause, after we have drawn all our principles of argumentation from this source. All statements are confirmed by some argument or other, either by that which is derived from persons, or by that which is deduced from circumstances. Now we consider that these different things belong to persons, a name, nature, a way of life, fortune, custom, affection, pursuits, intentions, actions, accidents, orations. A name is that which is given to each separate person, so that each is called by his own proper and fixed appellation. To define nature itself is difficult, but to enumerate those parts of it which we require for the laying down of these precepts is more easy.

And these refer partly to that portion of things which is divine, and partly to that which is mortal. Now of things which are mortal one part is classed among the race of men, and one among the race of brutes: and the race of men is distinguished by sex, whether they be male or female; and with respect to their nation, and country, and kindred, and age; with respect to their nation, whether a man be a Greek or a barbarian; with respect to their country, whether a man be an Athenian or a Lacedaemonian; with respect to their kindred, from what ancestors a man is descended, and who are his relations; with respect to his age, whether he is a boy, or a youth, or a full grown man, or an old man. Besides these things, those advantages or disadvantages which come to a man by nature, whether in respect of his mind or his body, are taken into consideration, in this manner:--whether he be strong or weak; whether he be tall or short; whether he be handsome or ugly; whether he be quick in his motions or slow; whether he be clever or stupid; whether he have a good memory, or whether he be forgetful; whether he be courteous, fond of doing kindnesses, modest, patient, or the contrary. And altogether all these things which are considered to be qualities conferred by nature on men's minds or bodies, must be taken into consideration when defining nature. For those qualities which are acquired by industry relate to a man's condition, concerning which we must speak hereafter.

XXV. With reference to a man's way of life it is proper to consider among what men, and in what manner, and according to whose direction he has been brought up; what teachers of the liberal sciences he has had; what admonitors to encourage him to a proper course of life; with what friends he is intimate; in what business, or employment, or gainful pursuit he is occupied; in what manner he manages his estate, and what are his domestic habits. With reference to his fortune we inquire whether he is a slave or free man; whether he is wealthy or poor; whether he is a private individual or a man in office; if he be in office, whether he has become so properly or improperly; whether he is prosperous, illustrious, or the contrary; what sort of children he has. And if we are inquiring about one who is no longer alive, then we must consider also by what death he died.

But when we speak of a man's habitual condition, we mean his constant and absolute completeness of mind or body, in some particular point--as for instance, his perception of virtue, or of some art, or else some science or other. And we include also some personal advantages not given to him by nature, but procured by study and industry. By affection, we mean a sudden alteration of mind or body, arising from some particular cause, as joy, desire, fear, annoyance, illness, weakness, and other things which are found under the same class. But study is the assiduous and earnest application of the mind, applied to some particular object with great good-will, as to philosophy, poetry, geometry, or literature. By counsel, we mean a carefully considered resolution to do or not to do something. But actions, and accidents, and speeches will be considered with reference to three different times; what a man has done, what has happened to him, or what he has said; or what he is doing, or what is happening to him, or what he is saying; or what he is going to do, what is about to happen to him, or what speech he is about to deliver. And all these things appear to be attributable to persons.

XXVI. But of the considerations which belong to things, some are connected with the thing itself which is the subject of discussion; some are considered in the performance of the thing; some are united with the thing itself; some follow in the accomplishment of the thing. Those things are connected with the thing itself which appear always to be attached to the thing and which cannot be separated from it. The first of such things is a brief exposition of the whole business, which contains the sum of the entire matter, in this way--"The slaying of a parent;" "the betrayal of a country." Then comes the cause of this general fact; and we inquire by what means, and in what manner, and with what view such and such a thing has been done. After that we inquire what was done before this action under consideration was done, and all the steps which preceded this action. After that, what was done in the very execution of this action. And last of all, what has been done since.

But with reference to the performance of an action, which was the second topic of those which were attributed to things, the place, and the time, and the manner, and the opportunity, and the facilities will be inquired into. The place is taken into consideration in which the thing was done; with reference to the opportunity which the doer seems to have had of executing the business; and that opportunity is measured by the importance of the action, by the interval which has elapsed, by the distance, by the nearness, by the solitude of the place, or by the frequented character of it, by the nature of the spot itself, and by the neighbourhood of the whole region. And it is estimated also with reference to these characteristics, whether the place be sacred or not, public or private, whether it belongs or has belonged to some one else, or to the man whose conduct is under consideration.

But the time is, that, I mean, which we are speaking of at the present moment, (for it is difficult to define it in a general view of it with any exactness,) a certain portion of eternity with some fixed limitation of annual or monthly, or daily or nightly space. In reference to this we take into consideration the things which are passed, and those things which, by reason of the time which has elapsed since, have become so obsolete as to be considered incredible, and to be already classed among the number of fables; and those things also which, having been performed a long time ago and at a time remote from our recollection, still affect us with a belief that they have been handed down truly, because certain memorials of those facts are extant in written documents; and those things which have been done lately, so that most people are able to be acquainted with them. And also those things which exist at the present moment, and which are actually taking place now, and which are the consequences of former actions. And with reference to those things it is open to us to consider which will happen sooner, and which later. And also generally in considering questions of time, the distance or proximity of the time is to be taken into account: for it is often proper to measure the business done with the time occupied in doing it; and to consider whether a business of such and such magnitude, or whether such and such a multitude of things, can be performed in that time. And we should take into consideration the time of year, and of the month, and of the day, and of the night, and the watches, and the hours, and each separate portion of any one of these times.

XXVII. An occasion is a portion of time having in it a suitable opportunity for doing or avoiding to do some particular thing. Wherefore there is this difference between it and time. For, as to genus, indeed, they are both understood to be identical; but in time some space is expressed in some manner or other, which is regarded with reference to years, or to a year, or to some portion of a year; but in an occasion, besides the space of time implied in the word, there is indicated an especial opportunity of doing something. As therefore the two are identical in genus, it is some portion and species, as it were, in which the one differs, as we have said, from the other.

Now occasion is distributed into three classes, public, common, and singular. That is a public occasion, which the whole city avails itself of for some particular cause; as games, a day of festival, or war. That is a common occasion, which happens to all men at nearly the same time; as the harvest, the vintage, summer, or winter. That is a singular occasion which, on account of some special cause, happens at times to some private individuals; as for instance, a wedding, a sacrifice, a funeral, a feast, sleep.

But the manner, also, is inquired into; in what manner, how, and with what design the action was done? Its parts are, the doer knowing what he was about, and not knowing. But the degree of his knowledge is measured by these circumstances, whether the doer did his action secretly, openly, under compulsion, or through persuasion. The fact of the absence of knowledge is brought forward as an excuse, and its parts are actual ignorance, accident, necessity. It is also attributed to agitation of mind; that is, to annoyance, to passion, to love, and to other feelings of a similar class. Facilities, are those circumstances owing to which a thing is done more easily, or without which a thing cannot be done at all.

XXVIII. And it is understood that there is added to the general consideration of the whole matter, the consideration what is greater than, and what is less than, and what is like the affair which is under discussion; and what is equally important with it, and what is contrary to it, and what is negatively opposed to it, and the whole classification of the affair, and the divisions of it, and the ultimate result. The cases of greater and less, and equally important, are considered with reference to the power, and number, and form of the business; as if we were regarding the stature of a human body.

Now what is similar arises out of a species admitting of comparisons. Now what admits of comparisons is estimated by a nature which may be compared with it, and likened to it. What is contrary, is what is placed in a different class, and is as distant as possible from that thing to which it is called contrary; as cold is from heat, and death from life. But that is negatively opposed to a thing which is separated from the thing by an opposition which is limited to a denial of the quality; in this way, "to be wise," and "not to be wise. That is a genus which embraces several species, as "Cupidity." That is a species which is subordinate to a genus, as "Love," "Avarice." The Result is the ultimate termination of any business; in which it is a common inquiry, what has resulted from each separate fact; what is resulting from it; what is likely to result from it. Wherefore, in order that that which is likely to happen may be more conveniently comprehended in the mind with respect to this genus, we ought first to consider what is accustomed to result from every separate circumstance; in this manner:--From arrogance, hatred usually results; and from insolence, arrogance.

The fourth division is a natural consequence from those qualities, which we said were usually attributed to things in distinction from persons. And with respect to this, those circumstances are sought which ensue from a thing being done. In the first place, by what name it is proper that that which has been done should be called. In the next place, who have been the chief agents in, or originators of that action; and last of all, who have been the approvers and the imitators of that precedent and of that discovery. In the next place, whether there is any regular usage established with regard to that case, or whether there is any regular rule bearing on that case, or any regular course of proceeding, any formal decision, any science reduced to rules, any artificial system. In the next place, whether its nature is in the habit of being ordinarily displayed, or whether it is so very rarely, and whether it is quite unaccustomed to be so. After that, whether men are accustomed to approve of such a case with their authority, or to be offended at such actions; and with what eyes they look upon the other circumstances which are in the habit of following any similar conduct, either immediately or after an interval. And in the very last place, we must take notice whether any of those circumstances which are rightly classed under honesty or utility ensue. But as to these matters it will be necessary to speak more clearly when we come to mention the deliberative kind of argument. And the circumstances which we have now mentioned are those which are usually attributed to things as opposed to persons.

XXIX. But all argumentation, which can be derived from those topics which we have mentioned, ought to be either probable or unavoidable. Indeed, to define it in a few words, argumentation appears to be an invention of some sort, which either shows something or other in a probable manner, or demonstrates it in an irrefutable one. Those things are demonstrated irrefutably which can neither be done nor proved in any other manner whatever than that in which they are stated; in this manner:--"If she has had a child, she has lain with a man." This sort of arguing, which is conversant with irrefutable demonstration, is especially used in speaking in the way of dilemma, or enumeration, or simple inference.

Dilemma is a case in which, whichever admission you make you are found fault with. For example:--"If he is a worthless fellow, why are you intimate with him? If he is an excellent man, why do you accuse him ?" Enumeration is a statement in which, when many matters have been stated and all other arguments invalidated, the one which remains is inevitably proved; in this manner:--"It is quite plain that he was slain by this man, either because of his enmity to him, or some fear, or hope, which he had conceived, or in order to gratify some friend of his; or, if none of these alternatives are true, then that he was not slain by him at all; for a great crime cannot be undertaken without a motive. But he had no quarrel with him, nor fear of him, nor hope of any advantage to be gained by his death, nor did his death in the least concern any friend of his. It remains, therefore, that he was not slain by him at all." But a simple inference is declared from a necessary consequence, in this way:--"If you say that I did that at that time, at that time I was beyond the sea; it follows, that I not only did not do what you say I did, but that it was not even possible for me to have done it." And it will be desirable to look to this very carefully, in order that this sort of inference may not be refuted in any manner, so that the proof may not only have some sort of argument in it, and some resemblance to an unavoidable conclusion, but that the very argument itself may proceed on irrefutable reasons.

But that is probable which is accustomed generally to take place, or which depends upon the opinion of men, or which contains some resemblance to these properties, whether it be false or true. In that description of subject, the most usual probable argument is something of this sort:--"If she is his mother, she loves her son." "If he is an avaricious man, he neglects his oath." But in the case which depends mainly on opinion, probable arguments are such as this: "That there are punishments prepared in the shades below for impious men."--" That those men who give their attention to philosophy do not think that there are gods."

XXX. But resemblance is chiefly seen in things which are contrary to one another, or equal to one another, and in those things which fall under the same principle. In things contrary to one another, in this manner:--"For if it is right that those men should be pardoned who have injured me unintentionally, it is also fitting that one should feel no gratitude towards those who have benefited me because they could not help it."

In things equal to one another, in this way:--"For as a place without a harbour cannot be safe for ships, so a mind without integrity cannot be trustworthy for a man's friends." In those things which fall under the same principle a probable argument is considered in this way:--"For if it be not discreditable to the Rhodians to let out their port dues, then it is not discreditable even to Hermacreon to rent them. Then these arguments are true, in this manner:--" Since there is a scar, there has been a wound." Then they are probable, in this way:--"If there was a great deal of dust on his shoes, he must have come off a journey." But (in order that we may arrange this matter in certain definite divisions) every probable argument which is assumed for the purpose of discussion, is either a proof, or something credible, or something already determined; or something which may be compared with something else.

That is a proof which falls under some particular sense, and which indicates something which appears to have proceeded from it, which either existed previously, or was in the thing itself, or has ensued since, and, nevertheless, requires the evidence of testimony, and a more authoritative confirmation,--as blood, flight, dust, paleness, and other tokens like these. That is a credible statement which, without any witness being heard, is confirmed in the opinion of the hearer; in this way:--There is no one who does not wish his children to be free from injury, and happy. A case decided beforehand, is a matter approved of by the assent, or authority, or judgment of some person or persons. It is seen in three kinds of decision;--the religious one, the common one, the one depending on sanction. That is a religious one, which men on their oaths have decided in accordance with the laws. That is a common one, which all men have almost in a body approved of and adopted; in this manner:--"That all men should rise up on the appearance of their elders; That all men should pity suppliants." That depends on sanction, which, as it was a doubtful point what ought to be considered its character, men have established of their own authority, as, for instance, the conduct of the father of Gracchus, whom the Roman people made consul after his censorship, because he had done nothing in his censorship without the knowledge of his colleague.

But that is a decision admitting of comparisons, which in a multitude of different circumstances contains some principle which is alike in all. Its parts are three,--representation collation, example. A Representation is a statement demonstrating some resemblance of bodies or natures; Collation is a statement comparing one thing with another, because of their likeness to one another; Example is that which confirms or invalidates a case by some authority, or by what has happened to some man, or under some especial circumstances. Instances of these things, and descriptions of them, will be given amid the precepts for oratory. And the source of all confirmations has been already explained as occasion offered, and has been demonstrated no less clearly than the nature of the case required. But how each separate statement, and each part of a statement, and every dispute ought to be handled,--whether we refer to verbal discussion or to writings,--and what arguments are suitable for each kind of discussion, we will mention, speaking separately of each kind, in the second book. At present we have only dropped hints about the numbers, and moods, and parts of arguing in an irregular and promiscuous manner; hereafter we will digest (making careful distinctions between and selections from each kind of cause) what is suitable for each kind of discussion, culling it out of this abundance which we have already displayed.

And indeed every sort of argument can be discovered from among these topics; and that, when discovered, it should be embellished, and separated in certain divisions, is very agreeable, and highly necessary, and is also a thing which has been greatly neglected by writers on this art. Wherefore at this present time it is desirable for us to speak of that sort of instruction, in order that perfection of arguing may be added to the discovery of proper arguments. And all this topic requires to be considered with great care and diligence, because there is not only great usefulness in this matter, but there is also extreme difficulty in giving precepts.

XXXI. All argumentation, therefore, is to be carried on either by induction, or by ratiocination. Induction is a manner of speaking which, by means of facts which are not doubtful, forces the assent of the person to whom it is addressed. By which assent it causes him even to approve of some points which are doubtful, on account of their resemblance to those things to which he has assented; as in the Aeschines of Socrates, Socrates shows that Aspasia used to argue with Xenophon's wife, and with Xenophon himself. "Tell me, I beg of you, O you wife of Xenophon, if your neighbour has better gold than you have, whether you prefer her gold or your own?" "Hers," says she. "Suppose she has dresses and other ornaments suited to women, of more value than those which you have, should you prefer your own or hers?" "Hers, to be sure," answered she. "Come, then," says Aspasia, "suppose she has a better husband than you have, should you then prefer your own husband or hers?" On this the woman blushed.

But Aspasia began a discourse with Xenophon himself. "I ask you, O Xenophon," says she, "if your neighbour has a better horse than yours is, whether you would prefer your own horse or his?" " His," says he. " Suppose he has a better farm than you have, which farm, I should like to know, would you prefer to possess?" "Beyond all doubt," says he, "that which is the best." "Suppose he has a better wife than you have, would you prefer his wife?" And on this Xenophon himself was silent. Then spake Aspasia,-- " Since each of you avoids answering me that question alone which was the only one which I wished to have answered, I will tell you what each of you are thinking of; for both you, O woman, wish to have the best husband, and you, O Xenophon, most exceedingly desire to have the most excellent wife. Wherefore, unless you both so contrive matters that there shall not be on the whole earth a more excellent man or a more admirable woman, then in truth you will at all times desire above all things that which you think to be the best thing in the world, namely, that you, O Xenophon, may be the husband of the best possible wife; and you, O woman, that you may be married to the most excellent husband possible." After they had declared their assent to these far from doubtful propositions, it followed, on account of the resemblance of the cases, that if any one had separately asked them about some doubtful point, that also would have been admitted as certain, on account of the method employed in putting the question.

This was a method of instruction which Socrates used to a great extent, because he himself preferred bringing forward no arguments for the purpose of persuasion, but wished rather that the person with whom he was disputing should form his own conclusions from arguments with which he had furnished himself, and which he was unavoidably compelled to approve of from the grounds which he had already assented to.

XXXII. And with reference to this kind of persuasion, it appears to me desirable to lay down a rule, in the first place, that the argument which we bring forward by way of simile, should be such that it is impossible to avoid admitting it. For the premise on account of which we intend to demand that that point which is doubtful shall be conceded to us, ought not to be doubtful itself. In the next place, we must take care that that point, for the sake of establishing which the induction is made, shall be really like those things which we have adduced before as matters admitting of no question. For it will be of no service to us that something has been already admitted, if that for the sake of which we were desirous to get that statement admitted be unlike it; so that the hearer may not understand what is the use of those original inductions, or to what result they tend.

For the man who sees that, if he is correct in giving his assent to the thing about which he is first asked, that thing also to which he does not agree must unavoidably be admitted by him, very often will not allow the examination to proceed any further, either by not answering at all, or by answering wrongly. Wherefore it is necessary that he should, by the method in which the inquiry is conducted, be led on without perceiving it, from the admissions which he has already made, to admit that which he is not inclined to admit; and at last he must either decline to give an answer, or he must admit what is wanted, or he must deny it. If the proposition be denied, then we must either show its resemblance to those things which have been already admitted, or we must employ some other induction. If it be granted, then the argumentation may be brought to a close. If he keeps silence, then an answer must be extracted; or, since silence is very like a confession, it may be as well to bring the discussion to a close, taking the silence to be equivalent to an admission.

And so this kind of argumentation is threefold. The first part consists of one simile, or of several; the second, of that which we desire to have admitted, for the sake of which the similes have been employed; the third proceeds from the conclusion which either establishes the admissions which have been made, or points out what may be established from it.

XXXIII. But because it will not appear to some people to have been explained with sufficient clearness, unless we submit some instance taken from the civil class of causes, it seems desirable to employ some example of this sort; not because the rules to be laid down differ, or because it is expedient to employ such differently in this sort of discussion from what we should in ordinary discourse; but in order to satisfy the desire of those men, who, though they may have seen something in one place, are unable to recognise it in another unless it be proved. Therefore, in this cause which is very notorious among the Greeks, that of Epaminondas, the general of the Thebans, who did not give up his army to the magistrate who succeeded him in due course of law; and when he himself had retained his army a few days contrary to law, he utterly defeated the Lacedaemonians; the accuser might employ an argumentation by means of induction, while defending the letter of the law in opposition to its spirit, in this way:--

"If, O judges, the framer of the law had added to his law what Epaminondas says that he intended, and had subjoined this exception: 'except where any one has omitted to deliver up his army for the advantage of the republic;' would you have endured it? I think not. And if you yourselves, (though such a proceeding is very far from your religious habits and from your wisdom,) for the sake of doing honour to this man, were to order the same exception to be subjoined to the law, would the Theban people endure that such a thing should be done? Beyond all question it would not endure it. Can it possibly then appear to you that that which would be scandalous if it were added to a law, should be proper to be done just as if it had been added to the law? I know your acuteness well; it cannot seem so to you, O judges. But if the intention of the framer of the law cannot be altered as to its expressions either by him or by you, then beware lest it should be a much more scandalous thing that that should be altered in fact, and by your decision, which cannot be altered in one single word."

And we seem now to have said enough for the present respecting induction. Next, let us consider the power and nature of ratiocination.

XXXIV. Ratiocination is a sort of speaking, eliciting something probable from the fact under consideration itself, which being explained and known of itself, confirms itself by its own power and principles.

Those who have thought it profitable to pay diligent attention to this kind of reasoning, have differed a little in the manner in which they have laid down rules, though they were aiming at the same end as far as the practice of speaking went. For some of them have said that there are five divisions of it, and some have thought that it had no more parts than could be arranged under three divisions. And it would seem not useless to explain the dispute which exists between these parties, with the reasons which each allege for it; for it is a short one, and not such that either party appears to be talking nonsense. And this topic also appears to us to be one that it is not at all right to omit in speaking.

Those who think that it ought to be arranged in five divisions, say that first of all it is desirable to explain the sum of the discussion, in this way:--Those things are better managed which are done on some deliberate plan, than those which are conducted without any steady design, This they call the first division. And then they think it right that it should be further proved by various arguments, and by as copious statements as possible; in this way:--"That house which is governed by reason is better appointed in all things, and more completely furnished, than that which is conducted at random, and on no settled plan;--that army which is commanded by a wise and skilful general, is governed more suitably in all particulars than that which is managed by the folly and rashness of any one. The same principle prevails with respect to sailing; for that ship performs its voyage best which has the most experienced pilot."

When the proposition has been proved in this manner, and when two parts of the ratiocination have proceeded, they say, in the third part, that it is desirable to assume, from the mere intrinsic force of the proposition, what you wish to prove; in this way:--"But none of all those things is managed better than the entire world." In the fourth division they adduce besides another argument in proof of this assumption, in this manner:--"For both the rising and setting of the stars preserve some definite order, and their annual commutations do not only always take place in the same manner by some express necessity, but they are also adapted to the service of everything, and their daily and nightly changes have never injured anything in any particular from being altered capriciously." And all these things are a token that the nature of the world has been arranged by no ordinary wisdom. In the fifth division they bring forward that sort of statement, which either adduces that sort of fact alone which is compelled in every possible manner, in this way:--"The world, therefore, is governed on some settled plan;" or else, when it has briefly united both the proposition and the assumption, it adds this which is derived from both of them together, in this way:-- " But if those things are managed better which are conducted on a settled plan, than those which are conducted without such settled plan; and if nothing whatever is managed better than the entire world; therefore it follows that the world is managed on a settled plan." And in this way they think that such argumentation has five divisions.

XXXV. But those who affirm that it has only three divisions, do not think that the argumentation ought to be conducted in any other way, but they find fault with this arrangement of the divisions. For they say that neither the proposition nor the assumption ought to be separated from their proofs; and that a proposition does not appear to be complete, nor an assumption perfect, which is not corroborated by proof. Therefore, they say that what those other men divide into two parts, proposition and proof, appears to them one part only, namely proposition. For if it be not proved, the proposition has no business to make part of the argumentation. In the same way they say that that which those other men call the assumption, and the proof of the assumption, appears to them to be assumption only. And the result is, that the whole argumentation being treated in the same way, appears to some susceptible of five divisions, and to others of only three; so that the difference does not so much affect the practice of speaking, as the principles on which the rules are to be laid down.

But to us that arrangement appears to be more convenient which divides it under five heads; and that is the one which all those who come from the school of Aristotle, or of Theophrastus, have chiefly followed. For as it is chiefly Socrates and the disciples of Socrates who have employed that former sort of argumentation which goes on induction, so this which is wrought up by ratiocination has been exceedingly practiced by Aristotle, and the Peripatetics, and Theophrastus; and after them by those rhetoricians who are accounted the most elegant and the most skilful. And it seems desirable to explain why that arrangement is more approved of by us, that we may not appear to have adopted it capriciously; at the same time we must be brief in the explanation, that we may not appear to dwell on such subjects longer than the general manner of laying down rules requires.

XXXVI. If in any sort of argumentation it is sufficient to use a proposition by itself, and if it is not requisite to add proof to the proposition; but if in any sort of argumentation a proposition is of no power unless proof be added to it; then proof is something distinct from the proposition. For that which can he joined to a thing or separated from it, cannot possibly be the same thing with that to which it is joined or from which it is separated. But there is a certain kind of argumentation in which the proposition does not require confirmatory proof, and also another kind in which it is of no use at all without such proof, as we shall show. Proof, then, is a thing different from a proposition. And we will demonstrate that point which we have promised to show in this way:--The proposition which contains in itself something manifest, because it is unavoidable that that should be admitted by all men, has no necessity for our desiring to prove and corroborate it.

It is a sort of statement like this:--"If on the day on which that murder was committed at Rome, I was at Athens, I could not have been present at that murder." Because this is manifestly true, there is no need to adduce proof of it; wherefore, it is proper at once to assume the fact, in this way:--"But I was at Athens on that day." If this is not notorious, it requires proof; and when the proof is furnished the conclusion must follow:--"Therefore I could not have been present at the murder." There is, therefore, a certain kind of proposition which does not require proof. For why need one waste time in proving that there is a kind which does require proof; for that is easily visible to all men. And if this be the case, from this fact, and from that statement which we have established, it follows that proof is something distinct from a proposition. And if it is so, it is evidently false that argumentation is susceptible of only three divisions.

In the same manner it is plain that there is another sort of proof also which is distinct from assumption. For if in some sort of argumentation it is sufficient to use assumption, and if it is not requisite to add proof to the assumption; and if, again, in some sort of argumentation assumption is invalid unless proof be added to it; then proof is something separate and distinct from assumption. But there is a kind of argumentation in which assumption does not require proof; and a certain other kind in which it is of no use without proof; as we shall show. Proof, then, is a thing distinct from assumption. And we will demonstrate that which we have promised to in this manner.

That assumption which contains a truth evident to all men has no need of proof. That is an assumption of this sort:-- "If it be desirable to be wise, it is proper to pay attention to philosophy." This proposition requires proof. For it is not self-evident. Nor is it notorious to all men, because many think that philosophy is of no service at all, and some think that it is even a disservice. A self-evident assumption is such as this:--"But it is desirable to be wise." And because this is of itself evident from the simple fact, and is at once perceived to be true, there is no need that it be proved. Wherefore, the argumentation may be at once terminated:--"Therefore it is proper to pay attention to philosophy." There is, therefore, a certain kind of assumption which does not stand in need of proof; for it is evident that is a kind which does. Therefore, it is false that argumentation is susceptible of only a threefold division.

XXXVII. And from these considerations that also is evident, that there is a certain kind of argumentation in which neither proposition nor assumption stands in need of proof, of this sort, that we may adduce something undoubted and concise, for the sake of example. "If wisdom is above all things to be desired, then folly is above all things to be avoided; but wisdom is to be desired above all things, therefore folly is above all things to be avoided." Here both the assumption and the proposition are self-evident, on which account neither of them stands in need of proof. And from all these facts it is manifest that proof is at times added, and at times is not added. From which it is palpable that proof is not contained in a proposition, nor in an assumption, but that each being placed in its proper place, has its own peculiar force fixed and belonging to itself. And if that is the case, then those men have made a convenient arrangement who have divided argumentation into five parts.

Are there five parts of that argumentation which is carried on by ratiocination? First of all, proposition, by which that topic is briefly explained from which all the force of the ratiocination ought to proceed. Then the proof of the proposition, by which that which has been briefly set forth being corroborated by reasons, is made more probable and evident. Then assumption, by which that is assumed which, proceeding from the proposition, has its effect on proving the case. Then the proof of the assumption, by which that which has been assumed is confirmed by reasons. Lastly, the summing up, in which that which results from the entire argumentation is briefly explained. So the argumentation which has the greatest number of divisions consists of these five parts.

The second sort of argumentation has four divisions; the third has three. Then there is one which has two; which, however, is a disputed point. And about each separate division it is possible that some people may think that there is room for a discussion.

XXXVIII. Let us then bring forward some examples of those matters which are agreed upon. And in favour of those which are doubtful, let us bring forward some reasons. Now the argumentation which is divided into five divisions is of this sort:--It is desirable, O judges, to refer all laws to the advantage of the republic, and to interpret them with reference to the general advantage, and according to the strict wording according to which they are drawn up. For our ancestors were men of such virtue and such wisdom, that when they were drawing up laws, they proposed to themselves no other object than the safety and advantage of the republic; for they were neither willing themselves to draw up any law which could be injurious; and if they had drawn up one of such a character, they were sure that it would be rejected when its tendency was perceived. For no one wishes to preserve the laws for the sake of the laws, but for the sake of the republic; because all men believe that the republic is best managed by means of laws. It is desirable, therefore, to interpret all written laws with reference to that cause for the sake of which it is desirable that the laws should be preserved. That is to say, since we are servants of the republic, let us interpret the laws with reference to the advantage and benefit of the republic. For as it is not right to think that anything results from medicine except what has reference to the advantage of the body, since it is for the sake of the body that the science of medicine has been established; so it is desirable to think that nothing proceeds from the laws except what is for the advantage of the republic, since it is for the sake of the republic that laws were instituted.

Therefore, while deciding on this point, cease to inquire about the strict letter of the law, and consider the law (as it is reasonable to do) with reference to the advantage of the republic. For what was more advantageous for the Thebans than for the Lacedaemonians to be put down? What object was Epaminondas, the Theban general, more bound to aim at than the victory of the Thebans? What had he any right to consider more precious or more dear to him, than the great glory then acquired by the Thebans, than such an illustrious and magnificent trophy ? Surely, disregarding the letter of the law, it became him to consider the intention of the framer of the law. And this now has been sufficiently insisted on, namely, that no law has ever been drawn up by any one, that had not for its object the benefit of the commonwealth. He then thought that it was the very extremity of madness, not to interpret with reference to the advantage of the republic that which had been framed for the sake of the safety of the republic. And it is right to interpret all laws with reference to the safety of the republic; and if he was a great instrument of the safety of the republic, certainly it is quite impossible that he by one and the same action should have consulted the general welfare, and yet should have violated the laws.

XXXIX. But argumentation consists of four parts, when we either advance a proposition, or claim an assumption without proof. That it is proper to do when either the proposition is understood by its own merits, or when the assumption is self-evident and is in need of no proof. If we pass over the proof of the proposition, the argumentation then consists of four parts, and is conducted in this manner:--" O judges, you who are deciding on your oaths, in accordance with the law, ought to obey the laws; but you cannot obey the laws unless you follow that which is written in the law. For what more certain evidence of his intention could the framer of a law leave behind him, than that which he himself wrote with great care and diligence? But if there were no written documents, then we should be very anxious for them, in order that the intention of the framer of the law might be ascertained; nor should we permit Epaminondas, not even if he were beyond the power of this tribunal, to interpret to us the meaning of the law; much less will we now permit him, when the law is at hand, to interpret the intention of the lawgiver, not from that which is most clearly written, but from that which is convenient for his own cause. But if you, O judges, are bound to obey the laws, and if you are unable to do so unless you follow what is written in the law; what can hinder your deciding that he has acted contrary to the laws?"

But if we pass over the proof of the assumption, again, the argumentation will be arranged under four heads, in this manner:--"When men have repeatedly deceived us, having pledged their faith to us, we ought not to give credit to any thing that they say. For if we receive any injury in consequence of their perfidy, there will be no one except ourselves whom we shall have any right to accuse. And in the first place, it is inconvenient to be deceived; in the next place, it is foolish; thirdly, it is disgraceful. But the Carthaginians have before this deceived us over and over again. It is therefore the greatest insanity to rest any hopes on their good faith, when you have been so often deceived by their treachery."

When the proof both of the proposition and of the assumption is passed over, the argumentation becomes threefold only, in this way:--" We must either live in fear of the Carthaginians if we leave them with their power undiminished, or we must destroy their city. And certainly it is not desirable to live in fear of them. The only remaining alternative then is to destroy their city."

XL. But some people think that it is both possible and advisable at times to pass over the summing up altogether; when it is quite evident what is effected by ratiocination. And then if that be done they consider that the argumentation is limited to two divisions; in this way:--"If she has had a child she is not a virgin. But she has had a child." In this case they say it is quite sufficient to state the proposition and assumption; since it is quite plain that the matter which is here stated is such as does not stand in need of summing up. But to us it seems that all ratiocination ought to be terminated in proper form, and that that defect which offends them is above all things to be avoided, namely, that of introducing what is self-evident into the summing up.

But this will be possible to be effected if we come to a right understanding of the different kinds of summing up. For we shall either sum up in such a way as to unite together the proposition and the assumption, in this way:--"But if it is right for all laws to be referred to the general advantage of the republic, and if this man ensured the safety of the republic, undoubtedly he cannot by one and the same action have consulted the general safety and yet have violated the laws,"--or thus, in order that the opinion we advocate may be established by arguments drawn from contraries, in this manner.--"It is then the very greatest madness to build hopes on the good faith of those men by whose treachery you have been so repeatedly deceived;"--or so that that inference alone be drawn which is already announced, in this manner:-- "Let us then destroy their city ;"--or so that the conclusion which is desired must necessarily follow from the assertion which has been established, in this way:--"If she has had a child, she has lain with a man. But she has had a child." This then is established. "Therefore she has lain with a man. If you are unwilling to draw this inference, and prefer inferring what follows: "Therefore she has committed incest; you will have terminated your argumentation, but you will have missed an evident and natural summing up.

Wherefore in long argumentations it is often desirable to draw inferences from combinations of circumstances, or from contraries. And briefly to explain that point alone which is established; and in those in which the result is evident, to employ arguments drawn from consequences. But if there are any people who think that argumentation ever consists of one part alone, they will be able to say that it is often sufficient to carry on an argumentation in this way .--"Since she has had a child, she has lain with a man." For they say that this assertion requires no proof, nor assumption, nor proof of an assumption, nor summing up. But it seems to us that they are misled by the ambiguity of the name. For argumentation signifies two things under one name; because any discussion respecting anything which is either probable or necessary is called argumentation; and so also is the systematic polishing of such a discussion.

When then they bring forward any statement of this kind -- "Since she has had a child, she has lain with a man," they bring forward a plain assertion; not a highly worked up argument; but we are speaking of the parts of a highly worked up argument.

XLI. That principle then has nothing to do with this matter. And with the help of this distinction we will remove other obstacles which seem to be in the way of this classification; if any people think that it is possible that at times the assumption may be omitted, and at other times the proposition; and if this idea has in it anything probable or necessary, it is quite inevitable that it must affect the hearer in some great degree. And if it were the only object in view, and if it made no difference in what manner that argument which had been projected was handled, it would be a great mistake to suppose that there is such a vast difference between the greatest orators and ordinary ones.

But it will be exceedingly desirable to infuse variety into our speech, for in all cases sameness is the mother of satiety. That will be able to be managed if we not always enter upon our argumentation in a similar manner. For in the first place it is desirable to distinguish our orations as to their kinds; that is to say, at one time to employ induction, and at another ratiocination. In the next place, in the argumentation itself, it is best not always to begin with the proposition, nor in every case to employ all the five divisions, nor always to work up the different parts in the same manner; but it is permissible sometimes to begin with the assumption, sometimes with one or other of the proofs, sometimes with both; sometimes to employ one kind of summing up, and sometimes another. And in order that this variety may be seen, let us either write, or in any example whatever let us exercise this same principle with respect to those things which we endeavour to prove, that our task may be as easy as possible.

And concerning the parts of the argumentation it seems to us that enough has been said. But we wish to have it understood that we hold the doctrine that argumentations are handled in philosophy in many other manners, and those too at times obscure ones, concerning which, however, there is still some definite system laid down. But still those methods appear to us to be inconsistent with the practice of an orator. But as to those things which we think belong to orators, we do not indeed undertake to say that we have attended to them more carefully than others have, but we do assert that we have written on them with more accuracy and diligence. At present let us go on in regular order to the other points, as we originally proposed.


Cicero/C.D. Yonge

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