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That logical subtleties are not safe to the uninstructed.

In as many ways as equivalent syllogisms may be varied, in so many may the technical forms be varied likewise. As, for instance: "If you had borrowed and not paid, you owe me money; but you have not borrowed and not paid; therefore you do not owe me money." To perform these processes skilfully, is held to be the peculiar mark of a philosopher. For if an enthymema be an imperfect syllogism, he who is versed in the perfect syllogism must be equally ready to detect an imperfect one.

"Why, then, do not we exercise ourselves and others after this manner?"

Because, even now, though we are not wholly absorbed in these things, nor diverted, by me at least, from the study of morality, yet we make no eminent advances in virtue. What is to be expected, then, if [p. 1032] we should add this avocation too? Especially as it would not only withdraw us from more necessary studies, but likewise afford a capital occasion of conceit and insolence. For the faculty of arguing and of persuasive reasoning is great; and particularly, if it is constantly practised, and receives an additional ornament from rhetoric. In general, every such faculty is dangerous to weak and uninstructed persons, as being apt to render them arrogant and elated. For by what method can one persuade a young man who excels in these kinds of study that he ought not to be an appendage to these accomplishments, but they to him? Will he not trample upon all such advice, and walk about elated and puffed up, not bearing that any one should touch him, to put him in mind where he is wanting, and in what he goes wrong?

"What, then, was not Plato a philosopher?"

Well, and was not Hippocrates a physician? Yet you see how he expresses himself. But what has his style to do with his professional qualities? Why do you confound things accidentally united in the same men? If Plato was handsome and well made, must I too set myself to becoming handsome and well made, - as if this was necessary to philosophy, because a certain person happened to be at once handsome and a philosopher? Why will you not perceive and distinguish what are the things that make men philosophers, and what belong to them on other accounts? Pray, [p. 1033] if I were a philosopher, would it be necessary that you should be lame too [like me]?

What then? Do I reject these special faculties? By no means; neither do I reject the faculty of seeing. But if you ask me what is the good of man, I know not where it lies save in dealing wisely with the phenomena of existence.


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