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καὶ τὰ ὑπερέχοντα τοῦ αὐτοῦ κ.τ.λ.] ‘anything which (all that, plural) exceeds the same thing by a greater amount (than a third thing) is the greater (of the two); because it must exceed the greater also (i. e. as well as the less)’. This with the mere substitution of μεῖζον for αἱρετώτερον is taken from Top. Γ 3, 118 b 3, ἀλλὰ καὶ εἰ δύο τινὰ τινὸς εἴη αἱρετώτερα, τὸ μᾶλλον αἱρετώτερον τοῦ ἧττον αἱρετωτέρου αἱρετώτερον. Let A be 9, B 6, and C 3. A (9) exceeds C (3) by a greater amount than that by which B (6) exceeds it, A therefore must be greater than B—must be (ἀνάγκη), because, by the hypothesis, it is greater than the greater of the other two. This is certainly not a good argument, though the fact is true, and the application easy: and yet I think it is what Aristotle must have meant. There is no various reading, and no suspicion of corruption. The interpretation is that of Schrader, the most logical of the Commentators on the Rhetoric. And it seems, as the text stands, the only possible explanation. The fact at all events is true; and the only objection to the explanation is that the γάρ, which professes to give the reason, does in fact merely repeat in other words the substance of the preceding proposition. I believe that Aristotle, in framing his topic, meant by the first clause to state the fact, and by the second to give, as he thought, the reason: and that the expression actually adopted is one of the very numerous evidences of haste and carelessness in his writings. On the application of the topic, see Introd. p. 180.

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