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One class of demonstrative (or affirmative) enthymemes is derived from opposites: we have to consider, namely, whether the opposite (to the one) belongs to (i. e. can be said, or predicated of) the opposite (to the other). Two pairs of opposites are supposed, as in the example, temperance and licentiousness, good, i. e. profitable, and injurious: the question is whether the two opposed terms or things stand in the same relation to one another, i. e. that one can be predicated of the other, as the two first, to which they are opposed: if they can, the original proposition may be maintained, or inferred by the enthymeme; if not, it can be confuted or destroyed. The inference in either case is drawn ἐκ τῶν ἐναντίων, from the correctness or incorrectness, the truth or falsehood, of the assertion of compatibility or coexistence in the opposites, or that one can be predicated of the other. Thus in the example, if the opposites to the original proposition—temperance is profitable— stand in the same relation to one another as the two members of the first, so that the one can be truly predicated of the other—if the opposite, injurious, is truly predicable of licentiousness—then, so far, we infer the truth of the first: if not, the proposition may be confuted. The inference, like all other rhetorical inferences, is probable, not necessary: it can always be contradicted.

Aristotle, as we have already seen (note on c. 19. 1), distinguishes four kinds of ἀντικείμενα, or opposites; contradictory, contrary (extremes under the same genus, as here σωφροσύνη and ἀκολασία are the two extremes, virtue and vice, under the genus ἦθος, moral character), relative, and ἕξις and στέρησις, state and privation. In the Topics all the four kinds in their relation to this form of argument are successively handled; in the Rhetoric, the treatment is confined to the single kind of contraries, as the most useful and plausible, and the rest passed over. See Brandis, u. s., p. 18. The passage in the Topics corresponding to this is B 8, 113 b 27, seq. [Grote's Ar. I, chap. IX pp. 422, 3]; but compare also B 2, 109 b 17; on the import and limitations of ἐναντίον Ib. c. 7; Γ 6, init. on the great advantages and wide extent of these two first topics, viz. this, and the next, τῶν συστοίχων καὶ τῶν πτώσεων. ὁμοίως γὰρ ἔνδοξον τὸ ἀξιῶσαι, εἰ πᾶσα ἡδονὴ ἀγαθόν, καὶ λύπην πᾶσαν εἶναι κακόν κ.τ.λ. followed by a series of illustrations: also B 9, 114 b 6. The treatment of opposites in the Topics and Rhetoric corresponds in this, that in both works it has reference solely to the art of reasoning, to the inferences affirmative or negative that may be drawn by constructive, or refutative, syllogisms and enthymemes.

Cicero (who borrows a good deal from Aristotle), Topic. XI. 47, Deinceps locus est, qui a contrario dicitur. Contrariorum autem genera sunt plura: unum eorum quae in eodem genere plurimum differunt (Arist.), ut sapientia et stultitia....Haec quae ex eodem genere contraria sunt appellantur adversa. His instance is, si stultitiam fugimus, sapientiam sequamur (this in the Aristotelian form would be, If folly is to be shunned, wisdom is to be sought or pursued). He then goes through the three remaining kinds of contraria, following Aristotle.

Ex contrariis, Frugalitas bonum, luxuria enim malum (enthym.). Si malorum causa bellum est, erit emendatio pax: si veniam meretur qui imprudens nocuit, non meretur praemium qui imprudens profuit. Quint. V 10. 73. In the last example, the opposites are, excuse, indulgence (for a fault), and reward (for a service), injury and benefit: the merit or desert is common to both: only in the one case it takes the form of demerit, which deserves punishment: as is also the absence of purpose, of good or ill intention.

ἀναιρεῖν, ‘to take up’, passes on to the sense of removing, taking away; thence to taking off, destroying; and so finally, when it comes to logic, is applied to the argument which upsets, subverts, destroys, or refutes the adversary's argument or position.

‘Or (a second example) as it is in the Messeniac speech (of Alcidamas, on which see note on I 13. 2), “for if it is the war which is the cause of the present evils, it is by the peace (which I now propose) that they must be rectified.” συμβουλεύει Ἀλκιδάμας τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις μὴ καταδουλῶσαι τοὺς ἐν Μεσσήνῃ, ἐπιχειρῶν ἐκ τοῦ ἐναντίου. Εἰ γὰρ πόλεμος, φησί, προυξένησε τάδε τὰ κακά, εἰρήνη πάλιν ταῦτα ἐπανορθώσεται (Scholiast). ‘Verba ipsa Alcidamantis scholiastes videtur conservasse.” Sauppe ad Alcid. Fragm. Messen. 2. Oratores Attici, III 154. Quintilian has borrowed this, see above [middle of p. 239].

“The four lines which follow as a third example are of uncertain authorship: Gaisford attributes them either to Agathon or Theodectes: the enthymeme ex contrario that it contains would suit either of them, since they both cultivated Rhetoric as well as the dramatic art (Wagner Trag. Gr. Fragm. III 185). To avoid the conjunction of εἰ and οὐ, Elmsley, ad Med. 87, proposes ἐπεί. Reisig, Coniect. I p. 113 (ap. Pflugk), justly replies that εἴπερ is equivalent to ἐπεί, and therefore admits the same construction. On εἰ with ἄν and the optative, see Appendix (on II 20 § 5) at the end of this book; and on εἰ followed by οὐ, see Appendix C, Vol. I p. 301. For οὐδ ἄν, Wagner proposes either ἤν or ἅν.

Cicero, de Inv. I XXX 46, has adopted this: In contrariis hoc modo; nam si iis qui imprudentes laeserunt ignosci convenit, iis qui necessario profuerunt haberi gratiam non oportet, and Quintilian, V 10. 73, (above).

The second quotation (example 4), is from Euripides' Thyestes, Fragm. VII (Wagner). This we learn from the Scholiast, quoted in Wagner's note. Matthiae refers to the similar paradox in Agathon's couplet, Rhet. II 24. 10.

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