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[106] But their ability to know is denied by those who maintain that it is not certain what the future will be. Now don't you see what doubtful premises they assume to be certain and take for granted? Next they hurl this dialectical dart: 'Therefore it is not true both that there are gods and yet that they do not give signs of the future.' And of course they think that the matter is now settled. Then they make another assumption: 'But there are gods.' Even that is [p. 491] not conceded by everybody. 'Therefore they give signs of the future.' Not necessarily so: for they may not give us signs of the future and still be gods.

'Nor is it true that, if they give such signs, they give no means of interpreting those signs.' But it may be that they have the means and yet do not impart them to man; for why would they impart them to the Etruscans rather than to the Romans? Again, the Stoics say: ' If the gods do impart the means, that is divination.' Grant that they do (which is absurd), what is the good if we do not understand? Their conclusion is: ' Therefore there is divination.' Suppose that is their conclusion, still they have not proved it; for, as they themselves have taught us, the truth cannot be proved from false premises. Hence their entire argument falls to the ground.

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load focus Introduction (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
load focus Latin (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
load focus Latin (C. F. W. Müller, 1915)
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