By James Allen
Unique and penetrating, this ebook investigates of the thought of inference from symptoms, which performed a primary function in historical philosophical and clinical procedure. It examines a major bankruptcy in old epistemology: the debates in regards to the nature of proof and of the inferences in response to it--or indicators and sign-inferences as they have been known as in antiquity. because the first accomplished remedy of this subject, it fills a huge hole within the histories of technological know-how and philosophy.
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Additional resources for Inference from Signs: Ancient Debates about the Nature of Evidence
9–10). Aristotle says nothing as explicit himself, but the resources of the categorical syllogistic, though not necessary, would have allowed him to explain how, by collecting signs in this way, an orator can make his case a stronger one in something like the following way. The fault of the second-ﬁgure sign is, in terms drawn from the categorical syllogistic, that its major premiss does not convert. The sign, but says too little to make clear precisely how he intends the contrast between tokens and signs (In Hipp.
But a well-chosen example, familiar to the audience, may help it to grasp more ﬁrmly and clearly a general principle of which it already has an inkling, and in this way to apply it more easily to the case at issue (Rhet. 1. 2, 1357B29; An. pr. 2. 24, 69A16). Note that past facts of the kind mentioned in the above example are only one species of paradigm. An orator may also manufacture examples for himself in the form of parables or fables (cf. Rhet. 2. ). An example may, then, enable an audience to draw a true conclusion for good reasons, even though it is a wholly inadequate ground for that conclusion when viewed apart from the broader understanding that it is intended to assist.
Of course it does not tell us how to judge between the conﬂicting claims of enthymemes from likelihood to opposed conclusions in the actual practice of rhetorical argumentation. It may, however, be a point in its favour that it does not treat this as a problem to be solved by a theory of argument in advance of the particular circumstances of an argument and the relations that arise between the di·erent likelihoods brought to bear in them. This is a point to which we shall return. For the present, we may also note that this account of enthymematic argument from likelihoods shows how it was possible for Aristotle to contrast the necessary character of the token with both the argument from likelihoods and sign-arguments in the second and third ﬁgures because a relation between premisses and conclusion is ultimately at issue in both comparisons.