Aristotle’s early works, Topics and Rhetoric, analyse argument as a means to persuasion, in almost exactly the same sense as the “argumentative theory” of Mercier and Sperber (2011). Why then does the argumentative theory seem so radical? In part because, after Aristotle had invented the syllogism, it seemed to provide a higher standard of argument, which subsequent generations took as the gold standard of reasoning, dismissing mere persuasion. The paper also traces the fortunes of one of Aristotle’s two types of argument in Rhetoric, namely, the example (Paradeigma: the other being the enthymeme). It is argued that the cause of paradigm’s final demise was a change in the conception of induction. Nevertheless, argument by example remains an important and neglected type of argument in our and many other societies.
AristotleBarnesJ.The Complete Works of Aristotle The Revised Oxford Translation1984Princeton, NJPrinceton University Press2 volumesAll quotations are from this edition except from Rhetoric where I use Kennedy (2007).
RodegemF.-M.Sagesse Kirundi; proverbs dictons locutions usités au Burundi1961Recueillis par F. M. Rodegem des Pères Blancs d’Afrique: Accentuation de Bapfutwabo Jean collaborateur de l’I.R.S.A.C. Annales du Musée Royal du Congo Belge Série 80: Sciences de l’Homme v. 34.