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‘Of (the application of) this topic the (whole) “art” of Corax is composed.’ ‘This topic’, as Ar. afterwards implies, is the topic of τὸ εἰκός in general, and not confined to the fallacious use of it. In the former of the two alternatives of the example from Corax's Art the argument is fair enough; the feeble man may fairly plead that it was not likely that he should be guilty of an assault upon one much stronger than himself. Of course this does not prove the point, but it would have a considerable effect in persuading the judges of the accused's innocence, ‘For whether he (the accused) be not liable to the charge, as for instance if (repeat ἄν from the preceding) a weak man were to be tried for an assault, (he defends himself upon the ground that, lit. ‘it is because,’) it is improbable: or if he be liable (under the same circumstances), as for instance if he be a strong man (he argues—the omission explained as before) that it is improbable because it was likely to seem probable’ (and therefore knowing that he would be exposed to the suspicion he was less likely to bring upon himself an almost certain punishment). And in like manner in all other cases: for the accused must be either liable or not liable to the charge: now it is true that both seem probable, but the one is really so, the other not probable in the abstract (ἁπλῶς simpliciter), but in the way that has been already stated’, i. e. under the conditions and circumstances before mentioned. Of Corax, with Tisias his pupil the founder of Rhetoric, see Cic. Brut. c. 12, Spengel's Artium Scriptores p. 22 seq., Cambr. Journ. of Cl. and Sacred Phil. No. VII, Vol. III. p. 40 seq., Westerm. Gesch. der Beredt. § 27, pp. 35—7, Müller, Hist. Gr. Lit. XXXII 3 [and Blass, die Attische Beredsamkeit I. pp. 19, 20]. The assault case and its alternatives was evidently one of the stock instances of the rhetorical books. It has been already referred to in I 12. 5, and re-appears in Plat. Phaedr. 223 B, as an extract from Tisias' art. Again in Rhet. ad Alex. 36 (37) § 6. The topic τὸ εἰκός which formed the staple of the art of Corax, and was treated in that of Tisias, Plato, l. c., continued in fashion with the early rhetoricians of the Sophistical school, as we may see by the constant notices of it in Plato. Somewhat later it was taken up by Antiphon, a disciple of this school, and appears in his three surviving school exercises, or μελέται, the Tetralogies. See also de caed. Herod. § 63. On the τόπος of the first of these, see Müller, Hist. Gr. L. XXXIII § 2. It is to be found also in the Rhet. ad Alex.; and of course in the Orators: and it crept into the Tragedies of Agathon. An amusing instance of the alternative application of the argument is the story of the encounter between Corax and his pupil Tisias in the attempt of the former to recover the fees due for his instruction, which Tisias had withheld. Related at length in Camb. Journ. of Cl. and Sacred Phil. No. VII, Vol. III p. 34. It is likewise told of Protagoras and his wealthy pupil Euathlus. ‘And this is (the meaning of) “making the worse appear the better argument:”’ (that is, giving the superior to the inferior, the less probable) argument, making it prevail over that which is really superior, and more probable: which is identical with the second, the fallacious alternative of Corax's τόπος. Cic., Brut. VIII 30, extends this profession to all the Sophists. Tum Leontinus Gorgias...Protagoras Abderites ... aliique multi temporibus eisdem docere se profitebantur, arrogantibus sane verbis, quemadmodum causa inferior (ita enim loquebantur) dicendo fieri superior posset. See the dialogue between the δίκαιος and ἄδικος λόγος, Arist. Nub. 889—1104. τὼ λόγω—τὸν κρείττον᾽ , ὅστις ἐστί, καὶ τὸν ἥττονα, 882. τίς ὤν; λόγος. ἥττων γ̓ ὤν. ἀλλά σε νικῶ, τὸν ἐμοῦ κρείττω φάσκοντ̓ εἶναι, 893: and he keeps his word. The fair argument is at last forced to own his defeat, and acknowledge the superiority of his unfair competitor. This was one of the articles of charge of Meletus and his coadjutors against Socrates, Plat. Apol. 19 B. Socrates is there made to refer to Aristophanes as its original author. ‘And hence it was that men were justified in taking offence (in the displeasure, indignation, they felt) at Protagoras' profession: for it (the mode of arguing that it implies) is false, and not real (true, sound, genuine) but only apparent; and no true art (proceeding by, lit. ‘included in,’ no rule of genuine art), but mere rhetoric and quibbling. And so much for enthymemes, real and apparent’. αὐτὸ μὲν οὖν τοῦτό ἐστιν, ἔφη (ὁ Πρωταγόρας), ὦ Σώκρατες, τὸ ἐπάγγελμα ὃ ἐπαγγέλλομαι. Plat. Protag. 319 A. This distinction of ἀληθής and φαινόμενος, εἶναι and φαίνεσθαι, reality and appearance, the true, genuine, substantial, and the sham, false semblance, is traced in its various applications at the opening of the de Soph. El. The latter is the especial characteristic of the Sophists and their professions and practice, 165 a 21, c. 11, 171 b 27—34, and elsewhere. It constantly re-appears in Aristotle's writings. The imputation here cast on Protagoras' profession is rather that of logical than of moral obliquity and error, though no doubt the latter may also be implied. I have already referred to the strong expression of Diogenes, Ep. ad Amm. c. 8, on the use of this topic, above, note on § 10.
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