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ἐν τοῖς ἐριστικοῖς]. See note on I 11. 15, where the meaning of this as a technical term is illustrated from the de Soph. El. τὰ ἐριστικά here designates a book or treatise; the fallacious, sophistical reasoning exposed in the ninth book of the Topics; just as τὰ διαλεκτικά stands for the dialectical treatise, including (as below), or not including, the appendage on Fallacies. The subject of the de Soph. El. is described as περὶ τῶν ἀγωνιστικῶν καὶ ἐριστικῶν, 165 b 10. ἐριστική there, c. 2, is first distinguished from the three other kinds of ‘discussion’, διδασκαλική (science), διαλεκτική, and πειραστική, a branch of the latter; and the ἐριστικοί are defined, οἱ ἐκ τῶν φαινομένων ἐνδόξων μὴ ὄντων δὲ συλλογιστικοὶ φαινόμενοι συλλογιστικοί, which would include the σοφιστικοί. Elsewhere the two are distinguished; both are οἱ πάντως νικᾷν (victory at any price) προαιρούμενοι, 171 b 24; but οἱ τῆς νίκης αὐτῆς χάριν τοιοῦτοι ἐριστικοὶ καὶ φιλέριδες δοκοῦσιν εἶναι, οἱ δὲ δόξης χάριν τῆς εἰς χρηματισμὸν σοφιστικοί: the one dispute out of mere pugnacity and contentious habit, the others add to this a desire of gaining a reputation which may be turned to profitable account.

‘Further, as in the eristic branch of dialectics, from the substitution of something as universally or absolutely for that which is so not universally, but only partially, or in particular cases, an apparent (fallacious) syllogism (i. e. enthymeme, see on I 1. 11) is elicited. As in dialectics for instance, the argument “that the non-existent is (has existence), because non-being is non-being”’. (Is, ἐστί, has two different senses, absolute and relative, or absolute and particular: the Sophist, in the second case, intends it to be understood in its most general signification ἁπλῶς, of actual existence: it is in fact a mere copula connecting the one μὴ ὄν with the other, and merely states the identity of those two expressions, which is no doubt a very partial statement indeed: it is true, but nothing to the purpose of the argument. Comp. de Soph. El. c. 25, 180 a 33, 4.) ‘Or again that the unknown is an object of knowledge, because the unknown may be known—that it is unknown’. (Here of course the particular that is left out of the account is the ὅτι ἄγνωστον; whereby the absolute or universal, ‘the unknown is knowable’, is substituted for the partial or particular statement, that what is knowable is only that it cannot be known.) ‘So also in Rhetoric a seeming inference may be drawn from the absolute to merely partial probability’. This topic is illustrated in Plat. Euthyd. 293 C seq. See Grote's Plato, I 546, 7, and 549; [also Grote's Aristotle I 182, note].

The construction of this last sentence which had been obscured by wrong punctuation in Bekker's 4to and first 8vo ed., has in the second been made intelligible and consecutive by removing the full stops at μὴ ὄν and ὅτι ἄγνωστον, and changing all the colons into commas. The correlative of ὥσπερ ἐν τοῖς ἐριστικοῖς is of course οὕτω καὶ ἐν τοῖς ῥητορικοῖς: and in the intervening sentence οἷον ἐν μὲν τοῖς διαλεκτικοῖς, the μέν has also reference to an intended δέ, to be inserted when Rhetoric comes to be contrasted with Dialectics, which however is never expressed and the μέν left pendens.

The topic is first defined in general terms, as it appears in the dialectical treatise, and illustrated by two examples of its dialectical use: and then exhibited in its special application to Rhetoric, the paralogism of absolute and particular probability. The first, as in the dialectical examples, is confounded with, or substituted for, the second.

‘This (particular probability, τὶ εἰκός,) is not universally (true or applicable), as indeed Agathon says: Perchance just this may be called likely, that many unlikely things befall mortals’, Agathon, Fragm. Inc. 5. Wagner, Fragm. Trag. Gr. III 78. Of Agathon, see Müller, Hist. Gr. Lit. ch. XXVI. § 3. Camb. Journ. of Cl. and Sacred Phil. No. IX, Vol. III. p. 257. Spengel, Artium Scriptores, p. 91, merely quotes four fragments from Aristotle. The extant fragments are collected by Wagner, u. s., on p. 73 seq. His style is criticized in Aristoph. Thesm. 55 seq. and imitated or caricatured 101 seq. A specimen of his Rhetoric is given by Plato, Symp. 194 E seq.

This ‘probable improbable’ is illustrated in Poet. XVIII 17, 18, from tragedy, by the cunning man cheated, and by the defeat of the brave. ἔστι δὲ τοῦτο εἰκός, ὥσπερ Ἀγάθων λέγει: εἰκὸς γὰρ γίνεσθαι πολλὰ καὶ παρὰ τὸ εἶκος. Comp. XXV 29. On this fallacy the ‘solution’ in Rhet. ad Alex. 36 (37) § 29, is based. Dion. Ep. I ad Amm. c. 8, τὸ κακουργότατον τῶν ἐπιχειρημάτων...ὅτι καὶ τὸ μὴ εἰκὸς γίνεταί ποτε εἰκός.

‘For what is contrary to the probable does come to pass, and therefore what is contrary to probability is also probable (καί, besides what is directly probable). And if so, the improbable will be probable. Yes, but not absolutely (the answer); but as indeed in the case of Dialectics (in the dialectical form of the fallacy), it is the omission of the circumstances (κατὰ τί, in what respect,) and relation and mode that causes the cheat, so here also (in Rhetoric) (the fallacy arises) from the probability assumed not being absolute probability (or probability in general) but some particular, special probability’. That which is only probable in particular cases, as in particular times, places, relations, and circumstances in general, is fraudulently represented as probable absolutely, without any such conditions or qualifications.

συκοφαντία, in this sense of a logical cheat or deception, transferred from its ordinary meaning, of a false, calumnious information or charge, is not to be found in any of the Lexicons.

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