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‘This kind of style is agreeable because contraries are best known (in themselves and by reason of their opposition), and still better when placed side by side (in juxtaposition, for the purpose of contrast and comparison); and also because it resembles a syllogism; for the ἔλεγχος (the refutative syllogism) is a bringing together (for the same purpose) of the two opposites (the two contradictory conclusion)’.

This opposition of contraries in the antithesis, also reminds us of the ἔλεγχος, the conclusion of opposites, refutation by an opposite conclusion; this resemblance makes the former look like a proof, which is a source of pleasure.

Aristotle is constantly telling us—see Bonitz ad Metaph. B 2, 996 a 18 —that contraries, which are the two extremes of things under the same genus, are also subject to the same science, τῶν ἐναντία μία, or αὐτή, ἐπιστήμη. And accordingly, inferences may be drawn from one contrary to another, Eth. N. V 1, 1129 a 14 seq. This appears to be the foundation of what is here said, that contraries are best known to us; they can be studied together, and one throws light upon the other. Comp. III 11. 9, ὅσῳ ἂν...ἀντικειμένως λεχθῇ τοσούτῳ εὐδοκιμεῖ μᾶλλον. τὸ δ᾽ αἴτιον ὅτι μάθησις διὰ μὲν τὸ ἀντικεῖσθαι μᾶλλον...γίνεται. II 23. 30 and III 17. 13, on ἔλεγχος, and the conclusion (implying learning) from opposites. In Probl. XIX 5, ἡδὺ τὸ μανθάνειν is assigned, as an acknowledged truth, in explanation of a musical fact. ‘Best known’ seems to mean that contraries, being under the same genus, are better known than any other things that have no such relation, or no relation at all, to one another.

On the pleasure derived from learning, which is here assumed to be the explanation of the agreeableness of this periodic style, see the notes on I 11. 21, 23; particularly the latter, in which it is fully illustrated from Aristotle's writings. I will repeat here that the Metaphysics opens with a statement that all men have a natural longing for (strive after) knowledge, πάντες ἄνθρωποι τοῦ εἰδέναι ὀρέγονται φύσει: and this of course implies pleasure in learning, which is the satisfaction of this natural appetite. The natural love of imitation or copying, which gives rise to all the imitative arts, is based in the same way upon the desire and pleasure of learning. And contrariwise therefore (this is additional), as we saw in c. 8. 2, ἀηδὲς καὶ ἄγνωστον τὸ ἄπειρον, the infinite, or indefinite, is displeasing to us because it is unknowable. Comp. infra c. 10. 2, τὸ γὰρ μανθάνειν ῥᾳδίως ἡδὺ φύσει πᾶσίν ἐστι: the words that convey the most instruction to us are the most pleasing; hence the pleasure derived from metaphors, which is explained: γλῶτται on the contrary, which teach us nothing, are therefore disagreeable.

παρ᾽ ἄλληλα μᾶλλον γνώριμα] juxtaposition makes things more intelligible is a fact already more than once appealed to, as II 23. 30; compare the parallel passage, III 17. 13; III 2. 9; and again III 11. 9.

On the ἔλεγχος and its opposite conclusions, συλλογισμὸς ἀντιφάσεως see Introd. on II 22, and note 1, p. 262, and again, on II 25, p. 268.

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