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Aristotle - The Organon TOPICA Book 5 Part 6

The point of view of the respective opposites

1. Next, look from the point of view of the respective opposites, and first (a) from that of the contraries, and see, for destructive purposes, if the contrary of the term rendered fails to be a property of the contrary subject. For then neither will the contrary of the first be a property of the contrary of the second. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as injustice is contrary to justice, and the lowest evil to the highest good, but 'to be the highest good' is not a property of 'justice', therefore 'to be the lowest evil' could not be a property of 'injustice'. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the contrary is the property of the contrary: for then also the contrary of the first will be the property of the contrary of the second. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as evil is contrary to good, and objectionable to desirable, and 'desirable' is a property of 'good', 'objectionable' would be a property of 'evil'.

2. Secondly (h) look from the point of view of relative opposites and see, for destructive purposes, if the correlative of the term rendered fails to be a property of the correlative of the subject: for then neither will the correlative of the first be a property of the correlative of the second. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as 'double' is relative to 'half', and 'in excess' to 'exceeded', while 'in excess' is not a property of 'double', 'exceeded' could not be a property of 'half'. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the correlative of the alleged property is a property of the subject's correlative: for then also the correlative of the first will be a property of the correlative of the second: e.g. inasmuch as 'double' is relative to 'half', and the proportion 1:2 is relative to the proportion 2:1, while it is a property of 'double' to be 'in the proportion of 2 to 1', it would be a property of 'half' to be 'in the proportion of 1 to 2'.

3. Thirdly (c) for destructive purposes, see if an attribute described in terms of a state (X) fails to be a property of the given state (Y): for then neither will the attribute described in terms of the privation (of X) be a property of the privation (of Y). Also if, on the other hand, an attribute described in terms of the privation (of X) be not a property of the given privation (of Y), neither will the attribute described in terms of the state (X) be a property of the state (Y). Thus, for example, inasmuch as it is not predicated as a property of 'deafness' to be a 'lack of sensation', neither could it be a property of 'hearing' to be a 'sensation'. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if an attribute described in terms of a state (X) is a property of the given state (Y): for then also the attribute that is described in terms of the privation (of X) will be a property of the privation (of Y). Also, if an attribute described in terms of a privation (of X) be a property of the privation (of Y), then also the attribute that is described in terms of the state (X) will be a property of the state (Y). Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as 'to see' is a property of 'sight', inasmuch as we have sight, 'failure to see' would be a property of 'blindness', inasmuch as we have not got the sight we should naturally have.

4. Next, look from the point of view of positive and negative terms; and first (a) from the point of view of the predicates taken by themselves. This common-place rule is useful only for a destructive purpose. Thus (e.g.) see if the positive term or the attribute described in terms of it is a property of the subject: for then the negative term or the attribute described in terms of it will not be a property of the subject. Also if, on the other hand, the negative term or the attribute described in terms of it is a property of the subject, then the positive term or the attribute described in terms of it will not be a property of the subject: e.g. inasmuch as 'animate' is a property of 'living creature', 'inanimate' could not be a property of 'living creature'.

5. Secondly (b) look from the point of view of the predicates, positive or negative, and their respective subjects; and see, for destructive purposes, if the positive term falls to be a property of the positive subject: for then neither will the negative term be a property of the negative subject. Also, if the negative term fails to be a property of the negative subject, neither will the positive term be a property of the positive subject. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as 'animal' is not a property of 'man', neither could 'not-animal' be a property of 'not-man'. Also if 'not-animal' seems not to be a property of 'not-man', neither will 'animal' be a property of 'man'. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the positive term is a property of the positive subject: for then the negative term will be a property of the negative subject as well. Also if the negative term be a property of the negative subject, the positive will be a property of the positive as well. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as it is a property of 'not-living being' 'not to live', it would be a property of 'living being' 'to live': also if it seems to be a property of 'living being' 'to live', it will also seem to be a property of 'not-living being' 'not to live'.

6. Thirdly (c) look from the point of view of the subjects taken by themselves, and see, for destructive purposes, if the property rendered is a property of the positive subject: for then the same term will not be a property of the negative subject as well. Also, if the term rendered be a property of the negative subject, it will not be a property of the positive. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as 'animate' is a property of 'living creature', 'animate' could not be a property of 'not-living creature'. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, if the term rendered fails to be a property of the affirmative subject it would be a property of the negative. This commonplace rule is, however, deceptive: for a positive term is not a property of a negative, or a negative of a positive. For a positive term does not belong at all to a negative, while a negative term, though it belongs to a positive, does not belong as a property.

7. Next, look from the point of view of the coordinate members of a division, and see, for destructive purposes, if none of the co-ordinate members (parallel with the property rendered) be a property of any of the remaining set of co-ordinate members (parallel with the subject): for then neither will the term stated be a property of that of which it is stated to be a property. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as 'sensible living being' is not a property of any of the other living beings, 'intelligible living being' could not be a property of God. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if some one or other of the remaining co-ordinate members (parallel with the property rendered) be a property of each of these co-ordinate members (parallel with the subject): for then the remaining one too will be a property of that of which it has been stated not to be a property. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as it is a property of 'wisdom' to be essentially 'the natural virtue of the rational faculty', then, taking each of the other virtues as well in this way, it would be a property of 'temperance' to be essentially 'the natural virtue of the faculty of desire'.

8. Next, look from the point of view of the inflexions, and see, for destructive purposes, if the inflexion of the property rendered fails to be a property of the inflexion of the subject: for then neither will the other inflexion be a property of the other inflexion. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as 'beautifully' is not a property of 'justly', neither could 'beautiful' be a property of 'just'. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the inflexion of the property rendered is a property of the inflexion of the subject: for then also the other inflexion will be a property of the other inflexion. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as 'walking biped' is a property of man, it would also be any one's property 'as a man' to be described 'as a walking biped'. Not only in the case of the actual term mentioned should one look at the inflexions, but also in the case of its opposites, just as has been laid down in the case of the former commonplace rules as well.' Thus, for destructive purposes, see if the inflexion of the opposite of the property rendered fails to be the property of the inflexion of the opposite of the subject: for then neither will the inflexion of the other opposite be a property of the inflexion of the other opposite. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as 'well' is not a property of 'justly', neither could 'badly' be a property of 'unjustly'. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the inflexion of the opposite of the property originally suggested is a property of the inflexion of the opposite of the original subject: for then also the inflexion of the other opposite will be a property of the inflexion of the other opposite. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as 'best' is a property of 'the good', 'worst' also will be a property of 'the evil'.


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