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[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.

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.

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