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22. Let us now speak of enthymemes in general and the manner of looking for them, and next of their topics; for each of these things is different in kind. [2] We have already said that the enthymeme is a kind of syllogism, what makes it so, and in what it differs from the dialectic syllogisms; [3] for the conclusion must neither be drawn from too far back1 nor should it include all the steps of the argument. In the first case its length causes obscurity, in the second, it is simply a waste of words, because it states much that is obvious. It is this that makes the ignorant more persuasive than the educated in the presence of crowds; as the poets say, “the ignorant are more skilled at speaking before a mob.”2 For the educated use commonplaces and generalities, whereas the ignorant speak of what they know and of what more nearly concerns the audience. Wherefore one must not argue from all possible opinions, but only from such as are definite and admitted, for instance, either by the judges themselves or by those of whose judgement they approve.
Further, it should be clear that this is the opinion of all or most of the hearers; and again, conclusions should not be drawn from necessary premises alone, but also from those which are only true as a rule.

[4] First of all, then, it must be understood that, in regard to the subject of our speech or reasoning, whether it be political or of any other kind, it is necessary to be also acquainted with the elements of the question, either entirely or in part; for if you know none of these things, you will have nothing from which to draw a conclusion. [5] I should like to know, for instance, how we are to give advice to the Athenians as to making war or not, if we do not know in what their strength consists, whether it is naval, military, or both, how great it is, their sources of revenue, their friends and enemies, and further, what wars they have already waged, with what success, and all similar things? [6] Again, how could we praise them, if we did not know of the naval engagement at Salamis or the battle of Marathon, or what they did for the Heraclidae, and other similar things? for men always base their praise upon what really are, or are thought to be, glorious deeds. [7] Similarly, they base their censure upon actions that are contrary to these, examining whether those censured have really, or seem to have, committed them; for example, that the Athenians subjugated the Greeks, and reduced to slavery the Aeginetans and Potidaeans
who had fought with distinction on their side against the barbarians, and all such acts, and whatever other similar offences may have been committed by them. Similarly, in accusation and defence, speakers argue from an examination of the circumstances of the case. [8] It makes no difference in doing this, whether it is a question of Athenians or Lacedaemonians, of a man or a god. For, when advising Achilles, praising or censuring, accusing or defending him, we must grasp all that really belongs, or appears to belong to him, in order that we may praise or censure in accordance with this, if there is anything noble or disgraceful; defend or accuse, if there is anything just or unjust; advise, if there is anything expedient or harmful. [9] And similarly in regard to any subject whatever. For instance, in regard to justice, whether it is good or not, we must consider the question in the light of what is inherent in justice or the good.

[10] Therefore, since it is evident that all men follow this procedure in demonstration, whether they reason strictly
or loosely—since they do not derive their arguments from all things indiscriminately, but from what is inherent in each particular subject, and reason makes it clear that it is impossible to prove anything in any other way3—it is evidently necessary, as has been stated in the Topics,4 to have first on each subject a selection of premises about probabilities and what is most suitable. [11] As for those to be used in sudden emergencies, the same method of inquiry must be adopted; we must look, not at what is indefinite but at what is inherent in the subject treated of in the speech, marking off as many facts as possible, particularly those intimately connected with the subject; for the more facts one has, the easier it is to demonstrate, and the more closely connected they are with the subject, the more suitable are they and less common.5 [12] By common I mean, for instance, praising Achilles because he is a man, or one of the demigods, or because he went on the expedition against Troy; for this is applicable to many others as well, so that such praise is no more suited to Achilles than to Diomedes. By particular I mean what belongs to Achilles, but to no one else; for instance, to have slain Hector, the bravest of the Trojans, and Cycnus, who prevented all the Greeks from disembarking, being invulnerable; to have gone to the war when very young, and without having taken the oath; and all such things.

[13] One method of selection then, and this the first, is the topical.
Let us now speak of the elements of enthymemes (by element and topic of enthymeme I mean the same thing). But let us first make some necessary remarks. [14] There are two kinds of enthymemes, the one demonstrative, which proves that a thing is or is not, and the other refutative, the two differing like refutation and syllogism in Dialectic. [15] The demonstrative enthymeme draws conclusions from admitted premises, the refutative draws conclusions disputed by the adversary.6 [16] We know nearly all the general heads of each of the special topics that are useful or necessary; for the propositions relating to each have been selected, so that we have in like manner already established all the topics from which enthymemes may be derived on the subject of good or bad, fair or foul, just or unjust, characters, emotions, and habits.
[17] Let us now endeavor to find topics about enthymemes in general in another way, noting in passing7 those which are refutative and those which are demonstrative, and those of apparent enthymemes, which are not really enthymemes, since they are not syllogisms. After this has been made clear, we will settle the question of solutions and objections, and whence they must be derived to refute enthymemes.

1 The conclusion must not be reached by means of a long series of arguments, as it were strung together in a chain: cp. 1.2.12, where the hearers are spoken of as unable to take in at a glance a long series of arguments or “to follow a long chain of reasoning” ( οὐδὲ λογίζεσθαι πόρρωθεν).

2 Eur. Hipp. 989.

3 Or, “by means of the speech it is impossible to prove anything otherwise” (Cope).

4 Aristot. Top. 1.14. πρῶτον: i.e. “the speaker's chief care should be . . .”

5 The more suitable they will be, and the less they will resemble ordinary, trivial generalities.

6 The demonstrative enthymeme draws its conclusion from facts admitted by the opponent; the refutative draws its conclusion from the same, but the conclusion is one which is disputed by the opponent.

7 Or, “noting in addition” (Victorius); or, “pointing out, side by side” (Jebb).

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