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[22] Another topic is derived from things which are thought to happen but are incredible, because it would never have been thought so, if they had not happened or almost happened. And further, these things are even more likely to be true; for we only believe in that which is, or that which is probable: if then a thing is incredible and not probable, it will be true; for it is not because it is probable and credible that we think it true.1 Thus, Androcles2 of Pitthus, speaking against the law, being shouted at when he said “the laws need a law to correct them,” went on, “and fishes need salt, although it is neither probable nor credible that they should, being brought up in brine; similarly, pressed olives need oil, although it is incredible that what produces oil should itself need oil.”

1 The argument is: we accept either that which really is, or that which is probable; if then a statement is made which is incredible and improbable, we assume that it would not have been made, unless it was true.

2 Athenian demagogue and opponent of Alcibiades, for whose banishment he was chiefly responsible. When the Four Hundred were set up, he was put to death. Pitthus was an Athenian deme or parish.

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