This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 When these topics have been determined, we will endeavor to say what we can in general about enthymemes and examples, in order that, when we have added what remains, we may carry out what we proposed at the outset. Now, of the commonplaces amplification is most appropriate to epideictic rhetoric, as has been stated;1 the past to forensic, since things past are the subject of judgement; and the possible and future to deliberative. 19. Let us first speak of the possible and the impossible. If of two contrary things it is possible that one should exist or come into existence, then it would seem that the other is equally possible; for instance, if a man can be cured, he can also be ill; for the potentiality of contraries, qua contraries, is the same.2 Similarly, if of two like things the one is possible, so also is the other.  And if the harder of two things is possible, so also is the easier.  And if it is possible for a thing to be made excellent or beautiful,  it is possible for it to be made in general; for it is harder for a beautiful house to be made than a mere house.3  Again, if the beginning is possible, so also is the end; for no impossible thing comes, or begins to come, into existence; for instance, that the diameter of a square should be commensurable with the side of a square is neither possible nor could be possible. And when the end is possible, so also is the beginning; for all things arise from a beginning.  And if that which is subsequent in
being or generation can come into being, so then can that which is antecedent; for instance, if a man can come into being, so can a child, for the child is antecedent; and similarly, if a child can come into being, so can a man, for the child is a beginning.  And things which we love or desire naturally are possible; for as a rule no one loves the impossible or desires it.  And those things which form the subject of sciences or arts can also exist and come into existence.  And so with all those things, the productive principles of which reside in those things which we can control by force or persuasion, when they depend upon those whose superiors, masters, or friends we are.  And if the parts are possible, so also is the whole; and if the whole is possible, so also are the parts, speaking generally; for instance, if the front, toe-cap, and upper leather,4 can be made, then shoes can be made, and if shoes, then the above parts.  And if the whole genus
1 1.9.40. Amplication is to be understood of the exaggeration of both great and small things. It is most suited to epideictic oratory, in which there is no doubt as to the facts; so that it is only necessary to accentuate their importance or non-importance.
2 As a general rule, from their nature as contraries, although it may not be true in particular cases. If a man is ill, he may also be well, although in particular cases certain qualities may make him more liable to one or the other, e.g. he may suffer from an incurable disease （Schrader）.
3 An argument a fortiori. If a beautiful house can be built, so can a house of any kind; for this is easier.
4 The meaning of the Greek words is quite uncertain.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.