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We have now stated the materials of proofs which are thought to be demonstrative. [20] But a very great difference between enthymemes has escaped the notice of nearly every one, although it also exists in the dialectical method of syllogisms. For some of them belong to Rhetoric, some syllogisms only to Dialectic, and others to other arts and faculties, some already existing and others not yet established. Hence it is that this escapes the notice of the speakers, and the more they specialize in a subject, the more they transgress the limits of Rhetoric and Dialectic. But this will be clearer if stated at greater length.

[21] I mean by dialectical and rhetorical syllogisms those which are concerned with what we call “topics,” which may be applied alike to Law, Physics, Politics, and many other sciences that differ in kind, such as the topic of the more or less, which will furnish syllogisms and enthymemes equally well for Law, Physics, or any other science whatever, although these subjects differ in kind. Specific topics on the other hand are derived from propositions which are peculiar to each species or genus of things; there are, for example, propositions about Physics which can furnish neither enthymemes nor syllogisms about Ethics,
and there are propositions concerned with Ethics which will be useless for furnishing conclusions about Physics; and the same holds good in all cases. The first kind of topics will not make a man practically wise about any particular class of things, because they do not deal with any particular subject matter; but as to the specific topics, the happier a man is in his choice of propositions, the more he will unconsciously produce a science quite different from Dialectic and Rhetoric. For if once he hits upon first principles, it will no longer be Dialectic or Rhetoric, but that science whose principles he has arrived at.1 [22] Most enthymemes are constructed from these specific topics, which are called particular and special, fewer from those that are common or universal. As then we have done in the Topics2, so here we must distinguish the specific and universal topics, from which enthymemes may be constructed. By specific topics I mean the propositions peculiar to each class of things, by universal those common to all alike. Let us then first speak of the specific topics, but before doing so let us ascertain the different kinds of Rhetoric, so that, having determined their number, we may separately ascertain their elements and propositions.3

3. The kinds of Rhetoric are three in number, corresponding to the three kinds of hearers. For every speech is composed of three parts: the speaker,

1 The common topics do not deal with particular subject matter, as the specific topics do. In making use of the latter, the “better” (that is, in regard to a special science) the propositions chosen by a man, the more he will without knowing it quit the domain of Rhetoric and Dialectic, and become a professor of that special science whose first principles he has hit upon.

2 Aristot. Sophist. Elenchi (Fallacies) 9. This treatise is really the ninth and concluding part of the Topics.

3 Propositions (or premises), the name given to the two first statements in a syllogism from which the conclusion is drawn: All men are mortal (major premise); Socrates is a man (minor premise); therefore Socrates is mortal.

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