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ARISTOTLE


the first three books of the Eudemian Ethics, have further asserted that these are a better introduction than the first four books of the Nicomachean Ethics to the books common to both treatises (E.N. Books v.-vii. = E.E. Books Δ-Ζ), and have concluded that Eudemus wrote these common books. But we have seen that Aristotle wrote the first three books of the Eudemian as an earlier draft of the Nicomachean Ethics; so that, even so far as they form a better introduction, this will not prove the common books to be by Eudemus. Again, those first three books are a better introduction only in details; whereas in regard to the all-important subject of prudence as distinct from wisdom, they are so bad an introduction that the common book which discusses that subject at large (E.N. Book vi. = E.E. Book Ε) must be rather founded on the first four books of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Further, as Aristotle wrote both the first three Eudemian and the first four Nicomachean books, there is no reason why sometimes one, sometimes the other, should not be the best introduction to the common books by the same author. Finally, the common books are so integral a part of the Aristotelian system of philosophy that they cannot be disengaged from it: the book on justice (E.N. v.) quotes and is quoted in the Politics (cf. 1130 b 28, 1280 a 16, 1261 a 30); the book on intellectual virtues (E.N. vi.) quotes (vi. 3) the Posterior Analytics, i. 2, and is quoted in the Metaphysics (Α 1); and we have seen that the book (E.N. vii.) which defines pleasure as activity is simply stating an Aristotelian commonplace. Thirdly, in order to prove that the Eudemian Ethics was by Eudemus, it is said that in its first part it contemplates that there must be a limit (ὄρος) for virtue as a mean (E.E. Β 5, 1222 b 7-8), in its middle part it criticizes the Nicomackean Ethics for not being clear about this limit (E.E. Ε 1), and in the end it alone assigns this limit, in the service and contemplation of God (E.E. Η 15, 1249 b 16 seq.). This argument is subtle, but over-subtle. The Eudemian and the Nicomachean treatments of this subject do not really differ. In the Nicomachean as in the Eudemian Ethics the limit above moral virtue is right reason, or prudence, which is right reason on such matters; and above prudence wisdom, for which prudence gives its orders; while wisdom is the intelligence and science of the most venerable objects, of the most divine, and of God. After this agreement, there is a shade of difference. While the Eudemian Ethics in a more theological vein emphasizes God, the object of wisdom as the end for which prudence gives its orders, the Nicomachean Ethics in a more humanizing spirit emphasizes wisdom itself, the speculative activity, as that end, and afterwards as the highest happiness, because activity of the divine power of intellect, because an imitation of the activity of God, because most dear to God. This is too fine a distinction to found a difference of authorship. Beneath it, and behind the curious hesitation which in dealing with mysteries Aristotle shows between the divine and the human, his three moral treatises agree that wisdom is a science of things divine, which the Nicomachean Ethics (vi. 7) defines as science and intelligence of the most venerable things, the Magna Moralia (i. 35) regards as that which is concerned with the eternal and the divine, and the Eudemian Ethics (Η 15) elevates into the service and contemplation of God.

Aristotle then wrote three moral treatises, which agree in the fundamental doctrines that happiness requires external fortune, but is activity of soul according to virtue, rising from morality through prudence to wisdom, or that science of the divine which constitutes the theology of his Metaphysics. Surely, the harmony of these three moral gospels proves that Aristotle wrote them, and wrote the Eudemian Ethics and the Magna Moralia as preludes to the Nicomachean Ethics. When did he begin? We do not know; but there is a pathetic suggestiveness in a passage in the Magna Moralia (i. 35), where he says, “Clever even a bad man is called; as Mentor was thought clever, but prudent he was not.” Mentor was the treacherous contriver of the death of Hermias (345–344 B.C.). Was this passage written when Aristotle was mourning for his friend?

4. The Rhetoric to Alexander.—This is one of a series of works emanating from Aristotle’s early studies in rhetoric, beginning with the Gryllus, continuing in the Theodectea and the Collection of Arts, all of which are lost except some fragments; while among the extant Aristotelian writings as they stand we still possess the Rhetoric to Alexander (Ῥητορικὴ πρὸς Ἀλέξανδρον) and the Rhetoric (Τἐχνη Ῥητορική). But the Rhetoric to Alexander was considered spurious by Erasmus, for the inadequate reasons that it has a preface and is not mentioned in the list of Diogenes Laertius, and was assigned by Petrus Victorius, in his preface to the Rhetoric, to Anaximenes. It remained for Spengel to entitle the work Anaximenis Ars Rhetorica in his edition of 1847, and thus substitute for the name of the philosopher Aristotle that of the sophist Anaximenes on his title-page. We have therefore to ask, first who was the author, and secondly what is the relation of the Rhetoric to Alexander to the Rhetoric, which nowadays alone passes for genuine.

After a dedicatory epistle to Alexander (chap, 1) the opening of the treatise itself (chap. 2) is as follows:—“There are three genera of political speeches; one deliberative, one declamatory, one forensic: their species are seven; hortative, dissuasive, laudatory, vituperative, accusatory, defensive, critical.” This brief sentence is enough to prove the work genuine, because it was Aristotle who first distinguished the three genera (cf. Rhet. i. 3; Quintilian iii. 4, 1. 7, 1), by separating the declamatory (ἐπιδεικτικόν) from the deliberative (δημηγορικόν, συμβουλευτικόν) and judicial (δικανικόν); whereas his rival Isocrates had considered that laudation and vituperation, which Aristotle elevated into species of declamation, run through every kind (Quintilian iv. 4), and Anaximenes recognized only the deliberative and the judicial (Dionys. H. de Isaeo, 19). In order, however, to impute the whole work to Anaximenes, Spengel took one of the most inexcusable steps ever taken in the history of scholarship. Without any manuscript authority he altered the very first words “three genera” (τρία γένη) into “two genera” (δύο γένη), and omitted the words “one declamatory” (τὸ δὲ ἐπιδεικτικόν). Quintilian (iii. 4) imputes to Anaximenes two genera, deliberative and judicial, and seven species, “hortandi, dehortandi, laudandi, vituperandi, accusandi, defendendi, exquirendi, quod ἐξεταστικὸν dicit.” But the author of this rhetoric most certainly recognized three genera (τρία γένη), since, besides the deliberative and judicial, the declamatory genus constantly appears in the work (chaps. 2 init., 4, 7, 18, 36, cf. οὐκ ἀγῶνος ἀλλ᾽ ἐπιδείξεως ἓνεκα 1440 b 13); and, if the terms for it are not always the same, this is just what one would expect in a new discovery. Moreover, he could recognize seven species in the Rhetoric to Alexander, though he recognized only six in the Rhetoric, provided the two works were not written at the same time; and as a matter of fact even in the Rhetoric to Alexander the seventh or critical species (ἐξεταστικόν) is in process of disappearing (cf. chap. 37). As then Anaximenes did not, but Aristotle did, recognize three genera, and as Aristotle could as well as Anaximenes recognize seven species, the evidence is overwhelming that the Rhetoric to Alexander is the work not of Anaximenes, but of Aristotle; on the condition that its date is not that of Aristotle’s confessedly genuine Rhetoric.

There is a second and even stronger evidence that the Rhetoric to Alexander is a genuine work of Aristotle. It divides (chap. 8) evidences (πίστεις) into two kinds (1) evidence from arguments, actions and men (αἱ μὲν ἐξ αὐτῶν τῶν λόγων καὶ τῶν πράξεων καὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων); (2) adventitious evidences (αἱ δ᾽ ἐπίθετοι τοῖς λεγομένοις καὶ τοῖς πραττομένοις). The former are immediately enumerated as probabilities (εἰκότα), examples (παραδείγματα), proofs (τεκμήρια), considerations (ἐνθυμήματα), maxims (γνῶμαι), signs (σημεῖα), refutations (ἔλεγχοι); the latter as opinion of the speaker (δόξα τοῦ λεγοντος), witnesses (μαρτυρίαι), tortures (βάσανοι), oaths (ὄρκοι). It is confessed by Spengel himself that these two kinds of evidences are the two kinds recognized in Aristotle’s Rhetoric as (1) artificial (ἐντέχνοι πίστεις) and (2) inartificial (ἀτέχνοι πίστεις). Now, from the outset of his Rhetoric Aristotle himself claims to be the first to distinguish between artificial evidences from arguments and other evidences which he regards as mere additions; and he complains that the composers of arts of speaking had neglected the former for the latter. In particular, rhetoricians appeared to him to have neglected argument in comparison with passion. No doubt, rational evidences had appeared in books of rhetoric, as we see from Plato’s Phaedrus, 266-267, where we find proofs, probabilities, refutation and maxim, but mixed up with other evidences. The point of Aristotle was to draw a line between rational and other evidences, to insist on the former, and in fact to found a logic of rhetoric. But if in the Rhetoric to Alexander, not he, but Anaximenes, had already performed this great achievement, Aristotle would have been the meanest of mankind; for the logic of rhetoric would have been really the work of Anaximenes the sophist, but falsely claimed by Aristotle the philosopher. As we cannot without a tittle of evidence accept such a consequence,