UP

Aristotle - The Organon TOPICA Book 2 Part 10

Look at things which are like the subject

1. Again, look at things which are like the subject in question, and see if they are in like case; e.g. if one branch of knowledge has more than one object, so also will one opinion; and if to possess sight be to see, then also to possess hearing will be to hear. Likewise also in the case of other things, both those which are and those which are generally held to be like. The rule in question is useful for both purposes; for if it be as stated in the case of some one like thing, it is so with the other like things as well, whereas if it be not so in the case of some one of them, neither is it so in the case of the others. Look and see also whether the cases are alike as regards a single thing and a number of things: for sometimes there is a discrepancy. Thus, if to 'know' a thing be to 'think of' it, then also to 'know many things' is to 'be thinking of many things'; whereas this is not true; for it is possible to know many things but not to be thinking of them. If, then, the latter proposition be not true, neither was the former that dealt with a single thing, viz. that to 'know' a thing is to 'think of' it.

2. Moreover, argue from greater and less degrees. In regard to greater degrees there are four commonplace rules. One is: See whether a greater degree of the predicate follows a greater degree of the subject: e.g. if pleasure be good, see whether also a greater pleasure be a greater good: and if to do a wrong be evil, see whether also to do a greater wrong is a greater evil. Now this rule is of use for both purposes: for if an increase of the accident follows an increase of the subject, as we have said, clearly the accident belongs; while if it does not follow, the accident does not belong. You should establish this by induction. Another rule is: If one predicate be attributed to two subjects; then supposing it does not belong to the subject to which it is the more likely to belong, neither does it belong where it is less likely to belong; while if it does belong where it is less likely to belong, then it belongs as well where it is more likely. Again: If two predicates be attributed to one subject, then if the one which is more generally thought to belong does not belong, neither does the one that is less generally thought to belong; or, if the one that is less generally thought to belong does belong, so also does the other. Moreover: If two predicates be attributed to two subjects, then if the one which is more usually thought to belong to the one subject does not belong, neither does the remaining predicate belong to the remaining subject; or, if the one which is less usually thought to belong to the one subject does belong, so too does the remaining predicate to the remaining subject.

3. Moreover, you can argue from the fact that an attribute belongs, or is generally supposed to belong, in a like degree, in three ways, viz. those described in the last three rules given in regard to a greater degree.' For supposing that one predicate belongs, or is supposed to belong, to two subjects in a like degree, then if it does not belong to the one, neither does it belong to the other; while if it belongs to the one, it belongs to the remaining one as well. Or, supposing two predicates to belong in a like degree to the same subject, then, if the one does not belong, neither does the remaining one; while if the one does belong, the remaining one belongs as well. The case is the same also if two predicates belong in a like degree to two subjects; for if the one predicate does not belong to the one subject, neither does the remaining predicate belong to the remaining subject, while if the one predicate does belong to the one subject, the remaining predicate belongs to the remaining subject as well.


UPHOME HTML edition © RBJ created 1996/11/25 modified 2009/04/26