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In this connexion of antecedent and consequent, if it is usual, but not necessary, it is a sign, σημεῖον, and uncertain; when necessary, it is a τεκμήριον. Anal. Pr. II 27, sub init. σημεῖον (here including both kinds) δὲ βούλεται (would be, if it could: aspires to be) εἶναι πρότασις ἀποδεικτικὴ ἀναγκαία ἢ ἔνδοξος: οὗ γὰρ ὄντος ἔστιν ἢ οὗ γενομένου πρότερον, ἢ ὕστερον γέγονε τὸ πρᾶγμα, τοῦτο σημεῖόν ἐστι τοῦ γεγονέναι ἢ εἶναι. ‘And again, if what had been previously (πεφύκει, ‘had always been’, the regular accompaniment) the natural antecedent of so and so, (of the assumed event, or imputed act,) or means to a certain end, has happened, (then the ordinary consequent has happened, or the end aimed at been attained); for instance, we infer from the occurrence of thunder that there has been lightning; and from the attempt, the execution of a crime’. By ἐπείρασε, says Victorius, is meant—principally, not exclusively —stuprum, ‘seduction’, the attempt on a woman's chastity: on this use of the verb πειρᾷν see Ruhnken ad Tim. s. v. p. 210. Timaeus explains it, πειράζειν διὰ λόγων παῖδα ἢ γυναῖκα. Plat. Phaedr. 227 C, Arist. Plut. 150, and Lat. tentare. ‘And (the converse) if what had been the ordinary natural consequent of something else, or the end of certain means (the aim and object of certain actions) has happened, then we infer that the ante cedent in the one case has occurred, the means to the end in the other have been employed, as we infer lightning from thunder, and the attempt from the execution of an act or crime. And of all these cases, in some the connexion is of necessity, in the rest only for the most part’. The natural antecedent and consequent, as the uniform order of nature, is the necessary connexion: of the uncertain issues of human agency, τὰ ἐφ᾽ ἡμῖν, actions which depend upon ourselves and our own will, nothing more than probability can be predicated: ἀγαπητὸν οὖν περὶ τοιούτων καὶ ἐκ τοιούτων λέγοντας παχυλῶς καὶ τύπῳ τἀληθὲς ἐνδείκνυσθαι, καὶ περὶ τῶν ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πολὺ καὶ ἐκ τοιούτων λέγοντας τοιαῦτα καὶ συμπεραίνεσθαι: the conclusions of moral and social sciences can but amount to probability (Eth. Nic. I 1, 1094 b 19, et passim). Consequently, the connexion of motives and actions, and of actions with one another, follows only a general rule, and this rule can never be applied with absolute certainty.
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