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‘Another, the fallacy of accident’. This is not the same fallacy as that which has the same name in the Topics, the first of the fallacies ἔξω τῆς λέξεως, de Soph. El. c. 5, 166 b 28; “Fallacies of accident are those that arise from the assumption that the same things are predicable alike of the thing itself (τὸ πρᾶγμα, i.e. the logical subject, τὸ ὑποκείμενον). For whereas the same subject has many accidents, it is by no means necessary that all that is predicable of the former should also be predicable of the latter.” White is an accident, or predicable, of the subject, man: it is by no means true that all that can be predicated of man can also be predicated of white. The confusion of these, the substitution of one for the other, gives rise to the fallacy. The example is the following:—A Sophist argues that because Socrates is not Coriscus, and Coriscus is a man, Socrates is not a man. Man is the subject, and Socrates and Coriscus are both predicates, attributes, or accidents of man. And if we substitute ‘name’ for ‘man’ in the proposition ‘Coriscus is a man’, the argument vanishes. But both the examples here are instances of accident for cause, and not for subject, which is no doubt a more suitable application of it for rhetorical purposes.

The first example is taken from Polycrates' encomium on mice, quoted above without the name, § 2. One of his topics in praise of them was “the aid they lent by gnawing through the bow-strings.” Something similar to this is narrated by Herodotus, II 141 (Schrader), but the circumstances do not quite tally. Sennacherib king of the Arabians and Assyria invaded Egypt with a great host, when Sethos the priest was king. The god appeared to him in a dream with promises of succour against the invaders. “A flood of field-mice poured over the enemy by night, which devoured their quivers and bows, and besides, the handles of their shields, so that on the following day, flying without arms, many of them fell,” &c. At all events, wherever the incident was taken from, Polycrates meant to praise the mice for some service they had rendered by gnawing the bow-strings: now this service was a mere accident: their intention was, not to do service, but only to satisfy their appetite (Victorius). Polycrates' fallacy therefore consists in assigning as a vera causa what was only accidental. I do not see how this can be construed as a confusion of subject and accident. And so Victorius in his explanation; “quia quod casu evenit tamquam propter se fuisset sumitur1.”

Of the declamations of Polycrates, who has been already twice mentioned or referred to, the most celebrated were the ἀπολογία Βουσίριδος, a paradoxical defence of Busiris a mythical king of Egypt, proverbial for inhumanity, illaudatus Busiris, Virg. Georg. III 4; and an equally paradoxical κατηγορία Σωκράτους, Isocr. Busir. § 4 (this speech is addressed to Polycrates). He was also famous for his declamations—paradoxical again —on mean and contemptible subjects, as mice, pots (χύτρας), counters, (Menander ap. Spengel, Artium Scriptores, p. 75,) which he employed his art in investing with credit and dignity. The paradoxical, παράδοξον, is one of the four kinds of ἐγκώμια, Menander περὶ ἐπιδεικτικῶν II 1. He may possibly have been the author of the similar declamations on ‘salt’ and ‘humble bees’2, referred to, without the author's name, by Plat. Symp. 177 B, Isocr. Helen. § 12, Menand. περὶ ἐπιδεικτικῶν (Rhet. Gr. III 332. 26, ed. Spengel). Similar paradoxical declamations of Alcidamas, τὸ τοῦ Θανάτου ἐγκώμιον, τὸ τῆς Πενίας, τοῦ Πρωτέως τοῦ κυνός. Menand. περὶ ἐπιδεικτικῶν II 1 (Rhet. Gr. III p. 346). Quint. III 7. 28, somni et mortis scriptae laudes, et quorundam a medicis ciborum. It might have been supposed that these ingenious exercises were intended for burlesques, were it not that Aristotle by quoting arguments from them shews that they had a serious purpose. Further on Polycrates, see Spengel, Artium Scriptores, pp. 75, 6; Westermann, Geschichte der Gr. u. R. Beredtsamkeit, § 50, 22; Cambr. Journ. of Cl. and Sacred Phil. No. IX, Vol. III. p. 281 seq. Comp. Ib. No. v, Vol. II. p. 158, note. Sauppe, Fragm. Orat. Gr., Polycrates, Or. Att. III 220. [Also Blass, die Attische Beredsamkeit, II pp. 341, 342.]

‘Or if one were to say that an invitation to dinner is the highest possible honour; because it was the want of an invitation which excited Achilles' wrath against the Achaeans at Tenedos: his anger was really excited by the disrespect, the non-invitation (the form or mode of its manifestation) was a mere accident of it’. ἐπὶ τοῦ ‘on the occasion, in the case of’. This is a fallacious inference (drawn either by Arist. himself, or, more likely, by some declaimer) from an incident in a play of Sophocles, the subject of which was this (Wagner, Fr. Trag. Gr., Soph., Ἀχαιῶν Σύλλογος, Vol. II. p. 230, from Welcker):—The Greeks on their way to Troy had put in at the island of Tenedos to hold a council as to the best way of attacking the city. Achilles would not attend at the meeting, having taken offence at the neglect, and presumed slight or contempt, of Agamemnon in not inviting him, either not at all, or after the rest, to an entertainment. There are two extant titles of plays by Sophocles, the Ἀχαιῶν σύλλογος, and Ἀχαιῶν σύνδειπνον, or σύνδειπνοι, Plutarch, de discr. adul. et amici, 74 A, Vol. I. p. 280, ed. Wytt. ὡς παρὰ Σοφοκλεῖ τὸν Ἀχιλλέα παροξύνων Ὀδυσσεὺς οὔ φησιν ὀργίζεσθαι διὰ τὸ δεῖπνον κ.τ.λ., citing three verses from the play (Ulysses had been sent with Ajax and Phoenix to Achilles to make up the quarrel). Comp. Athen. I. p. 17 D, Σοφ. ἐν Ἀχαιῶν συνδείπνῳ, where four lines are quoted; and VIII 365 B, τὸ Σοφ. δρᾶμα...ἐπιγράφειν ἀξιοῦσι Σύνδειπνον. Cic. ad Quint. Fr. II 16, Συνδείπνους Σοφ. Dindorf, Fragm Soph. (Poet. Sc.) p. 35, following Toup, Brunck, and Böckh, supposes these two titles to belong to the same play, a satyric drama(Dind.). Wagner after Welcker (Trag. Graec. pp. 112 and 233) shews that they were distinct, the Ἀχαιῶν σύλλογος founded on the story above mentioned, the other Ἀχαιῶν σύνδειπνον, or simply σύνδειπνον or σύνδειπνοι, derived from the Odyssey, and descriptive of the riot and revelry of the suitors in Penelope's house. See Wagner, Fr. Trag. Gr., Soph., Vol. II. pp. 230 and 380. The case of two distinct dramas is, I think, made out.

1 This seems to be the true interpretation; Aristotle has here left it open by not defining the topic. But if this absence of defin, be understood as a tacit reference to the de Soph. El., and we desire to bring the examples here into conformity with the explanation of the topic there, we may understand τὸ πρᾶγμα in that passage, not as the logical subject, but as ‘thing’ in general, and say that the fallacy of the examples in the Rhetoric lies in the substitution of a mere accident for the thing in question, i.e. the real thing, the reality; as in that of the mice, the accidental service, for the real appetite: and in Achilles' case, the accidental neglect to invite, for the real disrespect that it implied.

2 [Comp. Lucian's μυίας ἐγκώμιον. Blass, however, explains βομβύλιοι, as Art Trinkgefässe (see Bekker's Anecd., s. v. and comp. χύτρας, supra)].

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