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if this has not been done,1 a person has not committed a certain action; because no one, purposely or knowingly, chooses what is bad. However, this argument may be false; for often it is not until later that it becomes clear what was the better course, which previously was uncertain.

[27] Another topic, when something contrary to what has already been done is on the point of being done, consists in examining them together. For instance, when the people of Elea asked Xenophanes if they ought to sacrifice and sing dirges to Leucothea,2 or not, he advised them that, if they believed her to be a goddess they ought not to sing dirges, but if they believed her to be a mortal, they ought not to sacrifice to her.

[28] Another topic consists in making use of errors committed, for purposes of accusation or defence. For instance, in the Medea of Carcinus,3 some accuse Medea of having killed her children,—at any rate, they had disappeared; for she had made the mistake of sending them out of the way. Medea herself pleads that she would have slain, not her children, but her husband Jason; for it would have been a mistake on her part not to have done this, if she had done the other. This topic and kind of enthymeme is the subject of the whole of the first “Art” of Theodorus.4

[29] Another topic is derived from the meaning of a name. For instance, Sophocles says, “ Certainly thou art iron, like thy name.5

” This topic is also commonly employed in praising the gods.
Conon used to call Thrasybulus “the man bold in counsel,” and Herodicus said of Thrasymachus, “Thou art ever bold in fight,” and of Polus, “Thou art ever Polus (colt) by name and colt by nature,”6 and of Draco the legislator that his laws were not those of a man, but of a dragon, so severe were they. Hecuba in Euripides7 speaks thus of Aphro-dite: “ And rightly does the name of the goddess begin like the word aphro-syne (folly);

” and Chaeremon8 of Pentheus, “ Pentheus named after his unhappy future.

[30] Enthymemes that serve to refute are more popular than those that serve to demonstrate, because the former is a conclusion of opposites9 in a small compass, and things in juxtaposition are always clearer to the audience. But of all syllogisms, whether refutative or demonstrative, those are specially applauded, the result of which the hearers foresee as soon as they are begun, and not because they are superficial (for as they listen they congratulate themselves on anticipating the conclusion); and also those which the hearers are only so little behind that they understand what they mean as soon as they are delivered.

24. But as it is possible that some syllogisms may be real, and others not real but only apparent, there must also be real and apparent enthymemes, since the enthymeme is a kind of syllogism.

1 If a person has not taken the better course, when he had the chance of doing so, he cannot be guilty.

2 Leucothea was the name of the deified Ino. She was the daughter of Cadmus and the wife of Athamas king of Thebes. The latter went mad and, in order to escape from him, Ino threw herself into the sea with her infant son Melicertes. Both became marine deities.

3 Tragic poet, contemporary of Aristophanes (T.G.F. p. 798).

4 An early edition, afterwards enlarged. It must have contained something more than the topic of “errors” to be of any use.

5 Sophocles, Tyro, Frag. 597 (T.G.F.). The reference is to Sidero ( σίδηρος, iron), the cruel stepmother of Tyro.

6 Thompson's rendering (Introd. to his edition of Plato's Gorgias p. 5). “Colt” refers to Polus's skittishness and frisking from one subject to another.

7 Eur. Tro. 990.

8 Frag. 4 (T.G.F.). The name Pentheus is from πένθος (sorrow).

9 “Admitting the apparent correctness of the opposing argument, we may prove the contradictory of its conclusion by an unassailable argument of our own, which is then called an elenchus” (Thomson, Laws of Thought, section 127).

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