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Aristotle - The Organon TOPICA Book 5 Part 7

The point of view of things that are in a like relation

1. Next, look from the point of view of things that are in a like relation, and see, for destructive purposes, if what is in a relation like that of the property rendered fails to be a property of what is in a relation like that of the subject: for then neither will what is in a relation like that of the first be a property of what is in a relation like that of the second. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as the relation of the builder towards the production of a house is like that of the doctor towards the production of health, and it is not a property of a doctor to produce health, it could not be a property of a builder to produce a house. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if what is in a relation like that of the property rendered is a property of what is in a relation like that of the subject: for then also what is in a relation like that of the first will be a property of what is in a relation like that of the second. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as the relation of a doctor towards the possession of ability to produce health is like that of a trainer towards the possession of ability to produce vigour, and it is a property of a trainer to possess the ability to produce vigour, it would be a property of a doctor to possess the ability to produce health.

2. Next look from the point of view of things that are identically related, and see, for destructive purposes, if the predicate that is identically related towards two subjects fails to be a property of the subject which is identically related to it as the subject in question; for then neither will the predicate that is identically related to both subjects be a property of the subject which is identically related to it as the first. If, on the other hand, the predicate which is identically related to two subjects is the property of the subject which is identically related to it as the subject in question, then it will not be a property of that of which it has been stated to be a property. (e.g.) inasmuch as prudence is identically related to both the noble and the base, since it is knowledge of each of them, and it is not a property of prudence to be knowledge of the noble, it could not be a property of prudence to be knowledge of the base. If, on the other hand, it is a property of prudence to be the knowledge of the noble, it could not be a property of it to be the knowledge of the base.] For it is impossible for the same thing to be a property of more than one subject. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, this commonplace rule is of no use: for what is 'identically related' is a single predicate in process of comparison with more than one subject.

3. Next, for destructive purposes, see if the predicate qualified by the verb 'to be' fails to be a property of the subject qualified by the verb 'to be': for then neither will the destruction of the one be a property of the other qualified by the verb 'to be destroyed', nor will the 'becoming'the one be a property of the other qualified by the verb 'to become'. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as it is not a property of 'man' to be an animal, neither could it be a property of becoming a man to become an animal; nor could the destruction of an animal be a property of the destruction of a man. In the same way one should derive arguments also from 'becoming' to 'being' and 'being destroyed', and from 'being destroyed' to 'being' and to 'becoming' exactly as they have just been given from 'being' to 'becoming' and 'being destroyed'. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the subject set down as qualified by the verb 'to be' has the predicate set down as so qualified, as its property: for then also the subject qualified by the very 'to become' will have the predicate qualified by 'to become' as its property, and the subject qualified by the verb 'to be destroyed' will have as its property the predicate rendered with this qualification. Thus, for example, inasmuch as it is a property of man to be a mortal, it would be a property of becoming a man to become a mortal, and the destruction of a mortal would be a property of the destruction of a man. In the same way one should derive arguments also from 'becoming' and 'being destroyed' both to 'being' and to the conclusions that follow from them, exactly as was directed also for the purpose of destruction.

4. Next take a look at the 'idea' of the subject stated, and see, for destructive purposes, if the suggested property fails to belong to the 'idea' in question, or fails to belong to it in virtue of that character which causes it to bear the description of which the property was rendered: for then what has been stated to be a property will not be a property. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as 'being motionless' does not belong to 'man-himself' qua 'man', but qua 'idea', it could not be a property of 'man' to be motionless. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the property in question belongs to the idea, and belongs to it in that respect in virtue of which there is predicated of it that character of which the predicate in question has been stated not to be a property: for then what has been stated not to be a property will be a property. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as it belongs to 'living-creature-itself' to be compounded of soul and body, and further this belongs to it qua 'living-creature', it would be a property of 'living-creature' to be compounded of soul and body.


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