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‘Another fallacy is derived from the use of the ‘sign’: for this also leads to no real conclusion (proves, demonstrates, nothing)’. On the sign and its logical character and value, see Introd. pp. 161—3, and the paraphrases of Rhet. I 2. 15—18, Ibid. pp. 163—5.

In the Topics, fallacies from the sign are noticed as the form which fallacies of consequence assume in Rhetoric. ἔν τε τοῖς ῥητορικοῖς αἱ κατὰ τὸ σημεῖον ἀποδείξεις ἐκ τῶν ἑπομένων εἰσίν. De Soph. El. c. 5, 167 b 8.

‘As for instance if one were to say, “Lovers are of service to states; for it was the love of Harmodius and Aristogeiton that put down (put an end to) the tyranny of Hipparchus”’. This is a mere apparent sign or possible indication of a connexion between love and the putting down of tyranny: there is no necessary consequence; it is not a τεκμήριον, a conclusive sign, or indication: no general rule of connexion can be established between them, from which we might infer—without fallacy— that the one would always, or for the most part, follow the other. Herein lies the difference between the dialectical consequence and the rhetorical sign. The converse of this—from the governor's point of view—is argued by Pausanias in Plato's Symp. 182 C. Οὐ γὰρ, οἶμαι, συμφέρει τοῖς ἄρχουσι...φιλίας ἰσχυρὰς καὶ κοινωνίας (ἐγγίνεσθαι): δὴ μάλιστα φιλεῖ τά τε ἄλλα πάντα καὶ ἔρως ἐμποιεῖν. ἔργῳ δὲ τοῦτο ἔμαθον καὶ οἱ ἐνθάδε τύραννοι: γὰρ Ἀριστογείτονος ἔρως καὶ Ἁρμοδίου φιλία βέβαιος γενομένη κατέλυσεν αὐτῶν τὴν ἀρχήν. Victorius.

‘Or again, if one were to say, (it is a sign) that Dionysius (Dionysius, like Socrates and Coriscus, usually, in Aristotle, here represents anybody, men in general) is a thief, because he is a bad man: for this again is incapable of demonstration; because every bad man is not a thief, though every thief is a bad man’. The consequence is not convertible. δὲ παρὰ τὸ ἑπόμενον ἔλεγχος διὰ τὸ οἴεσθαι ἀντιστρέφειν τὴν ἀκολούθησιν, (the fallacy in this topic arises from the assumed convertibility of the consequence), de Soph. El. 5, 167 b 1. In the uncertain sign, antecedent and consequent are never reciprocally convertible, the converse does not follow reciprocally, and therefore the sign is always liable to be fallacious. On the different kinds of consequences, see Anal. Pr. I c. 27, 43 b 6, seq.

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