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[11] The “Art” of Corax is composed of this topic. For if a man is not likely to be guilty of what he is accused of, for instance if, being weak, he is accused of assault and battery, his defence will be that the crime is not probable; but if he is likely to be guilty, for instance,
if he is strong, it may be argued again that the crime is not probable, for the very reason that it was bound to appear so. It is the same in all other cases; for a man must either be likely to have committed a crime or not. Here, both the alternatives appear equally probable, but the one is really so, the other not probable absolutely, but only in the conditions mentioned. And this is what “making the worse appear the better argument” means. Wherefore men were justly disgusted with the promise of Protagoras1; for it is a lie, not a real but an apparent probability, not found in any art except Rhetoric and Sophistic. So much for real or apparent enthymemes.

1 This utterance of Protagoras gave particular offense as apparently implying that the weaker cause was really identical with the worse, so that to support it was to support injustice. But, considering the high moral character ascribed to Protagoras, it seems more probable to take the formula as a statement of the aim of all ancient orators—how to overcome stronger arguments by arguments weaker in themselves.

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