we conclude that Aristotle formulated the distinction between argumentative and adventitious, artificial and inartificial evidences, both in the Rhetoric to Alexander and in the Rhetoric; and that the former as well as the latter is a genuine work of Aristotle, the founder of the logic of rhetoric.
What is the relation between these two genuine Rhetorics? The last event mentioned in the Rhetoric to Alexander occurred in 340, the last in the Rhetoric is the common peace (κοινὴ εἰρἠνη) made between Alexander and the Greeks in 336 (Rhet. ii. 23, 1399 b 12). The former treatise (chap. 9), under the head of examples (παραδείγματα), gives historical examples of the unexpected in war for the years 403, 371, 358, concluding with the year 340, in which the Corinthians, coming with nine triremes to the assistance of the Syracusans, defeated the Carthaginians who were blockading Syracuse with 150 ships. Spengel, indeed, tries to bring the latest date in the book down to 330; but it is by absurdly supposing that the author could not have got the commonplace, “one ought to criticize not bitterly but gently,” except from Demosthenes, De Corona (§ 265). We may take it then that the last date in the Rhetoric to Alexander is 340; and by a curious coincidence 340 was the year when, on Philip’s marching against Byzantium, Alexander was left behind as regent and keeper of the seal, and distinguished himself so greatly that Philip was only too glad that the Macedonians called Alexander king (Plutarch, Alexander, 9). It is possible then that Aristotle may have written the dedication to Alexander about 340 and treated him as if he were king in the dedicatory epistle. At the same time, as such prefaces are often forgeries, not prejudicing the body of the treatise, it does not really matter whether Aristotle actually dedicated his work to Alexander in that epistle about that year or not. If he did, then the Rhetoric to Alexander in 340 was at least four years prior to the Rhetoric, which was as late as 336. If he did not, the question still remains, what is the internal relation between these two genuine Rhetorics? It will turn out most important.
The relation between the two Rhetorics turns on their treatment of rational, argumentative, artificial evidences. Each of them, the probability (chap. 8), the example (chap. 9), the proof (chap. 10), the consideration (chap, 11), the maxim (chap. 12), the sign (chap. 13), the refutation (chap. 14), though very like what it is in the Rhetoric, receives in the Rhetoric to Alexander a definition slightly different from the definition in the Rhetoric, which it must be remembered is also the definition in the Prior Analytics. Strange as this point is, it is still stranger that not one of these internal evidences is brought into relation with induction and deduction. Example (παράδειγμα) is not called rhetorical induction, and consideration (ἐνθύμημα) is not called rhetorical syllogism, as they are in the Rhetoric, and in the Analytics. Induction (ἐπαγωγή) and syllogism (συλλογισμός), the general forms of inference, do not occur in the Rhetoric to Alexander. In fact, this interesting treatise contains a rudimentary treatment of rational evidences in rhetoric and is therefore earlier than the Rhetoric, which exhibits a developed analysis of these rational evidences as special logical forms. Together, the earlier and the later Rhetoric show us the logic of rhetoric in the making, going on about 340, the last date of the Rhetoric to Alexander, and more developed in or after 336 B.C., the last date of the Rhetoric.
Nor is this all: the earlier Rhetoric to Alexander and the later Rhetoric show us logic itself in the making. We have already said that Aristotle was primarily a metaphysician. He gradually became a logician out of his previous studies: out of metaphysics, for with him being is always the basis of thinking, and common principles, such as that of contradiction, are axioms of things before axioms of thought, while categories are primarily things signified by names; out of the mathematics of the Pythagoreans and the Platonists, which taught him the nature of demonstration; out of the physics, of which he imbibed the first draughts from his father, which taught him induction from sense and the modification of strict demonstration to suit facts; out of the dialectic between man and man which provided him with beautiful examples of inference in the Socratic dialogues of Xenophon and Plato; out of the rhetoric addressed to large audiences, which with dialectic called his attention to probable inferences; out of the grammar taught with rhetoric and poetics which led him to the logic of the proposition. We cannot write a history of the varied origin of logic, beyond putting the rudimentary logic of the proposition in the De Interpretatione before the less rudimentary theory of categories as significant names capable of becoming predicates in the Categories, and before the maturer analysis of the syllogism in the Analytics. But at any rate the process was gradual; and Aristotle was advanced in metaphysics, mathematics, physics, dialectics, rhetoric and poetics, before he became the founder of logic.
V. Order of the Philosophical Writings
Some of Aristotle’s philosophical writings then are earlier than others; because they show more Platonic influence, and are more rudimentary; e.g. the Categories earlier than some parts of the Metaphysics, because under the influence of Platonic forms it talks of inherent attributes, and allows secondary substances which are universal; the De Interpretatione earlier than the Analytics, because in it the Platonic analysis of the sentence into noun and verb is retained for the proposition; the Eudemian Ethics and the Magna Moralia earlier than the Nicomachean Ethics, because they are rudimentary sketches of it, and the one written rather in the theological spirit, the other rather in the dialectical style, of Plato; and the Rhetoric to Alexander earlier than the Rhetoric, because it contains a rudimentary theory of the rational evidences afterwards developed into a logic of rhetoric in the Rhetoric and Analytics.
It is tempting to think that we can carry out the chronological order of the philosophical writings in detail. But in the gradual process of composition, by which a work once begun was kept going with the rest, although a work such as the Politics (begun in 357) was begun early, and some works more rudimentary came earlier than others, the general body of writings was so kept together in Aristotle’s library, and so simultaneously elaborated and consolidated into a system that it soon becomes impossible to put one before another.
Zeller, indeed, has attempted an exact order of succession:—
- 1. The logical treatises.
- 2. The Physics, De Coelo, De Generatione et Corruptione, Meteorologica.
- 3. Historia Animalium, De Anima, Parva Naturalia, De Partibus Animalium, De Animalium Incessu, De Generatione Animalium.
- 4. Ethics and Politics.
- 5. Poetics and Rhetoric.
- 6. Metaphysics (unfinished).
But Zeller does not give enough weight either to the evidence of early composition contained in the Politics and Meteorology, or to the evidence of subsequent contemporaneous composition contained in the cross-references, e.g. between the Physics and the Metaphysics. On the other hand he gives too much weight to the references from one book to another, which Aristotle could have entered into his manuscripts at any time before his death. Moreover, the arrangement sometimes breaks down: for example, though on the whole the logical books are quoted without quoting the rest, the De Interpretatione (chap. 1) quotes the De Anima, and therefore is falsely taken by Zeller against its own internal evidence to be subsequent to it and consequently to the other logical books. Again, the Meteorologica (iii. 2, 372 b 9) quotes the De Sensu (c. 3), and therefore, on Zeller’s arguments, ought to follow one of the Parva Naturalia. Lastly, though the Metaphysics often quotes the Physics, and is therefore regarded as being subsequent, it is itself quoted in the Physics (i. 8, 191 b 29), and therefore ought to be regarded as antecedent. Zeller tries to get over this difficulty of cross-reference by detaching Metaphysics, Book Δ, from the rest and placing it before the Physics. But this violent and arbitrary remedy is only partial. The truth is that the Metaphysics both precedes and follows the Physics, because it had been all along occupying Aristotle ever since he began to differ from Plato’s metaphysical views and indeed forms a kind of presupposed basis of his whole system. So generally, the references backwards and forwards, and the cross-references, are really evidences that Aristotle mainly wrote his works not successively but simultaneously, and entered references as and when he pleased, because he had not published them.
There are two kinds of quotations in Aristotle’s extant works, the quotation of another book, and the quotation of a historical fact. While the former is useless to determine the sequence of books written simultaneously, the latter is insufficient to determine a complete chronological order. When Aristotle, e.g. in the Politics, quotes an event as now (νῦν), he was writing about it at that time; and when he quotes another event as lately (νεωστί) he was writing about it shortly after that time; but he might have been writing the rest of the Politics both before and after either event. When he quotes the last event mentioned in the book, e.g. in the Rhetoric (ii. 23, 1399 b 12) the “common peace” of Greece under Alexander in 336, he was writing as late as that date, but he might also have been writing the Rhetoric both before it and after it. When he quotes what persons used to say in the past, e.g. Plato and Speusippus in the Ethics, Eudoxus and Callippus in the Metaphysics, he was writing these passages after the deaths of these persons; but he might have been also writing the Ethics and the Metaphysics both beforehand and afterwards. Lastly, when he is silent about a historical fact, the argument from silence is evidence only when he could not have failed to mention it; as, for example, in the Constitution of Athens, when he could not have failed to mention quinqueremes and other facts after 325–324. But this is in a historical work; whereas the argument from silence about historical facts in a philosophical work can seldom apply.The chronological order therefore is not sufficiently detailed to be the real order of Aristotelian writings. Secondly, the traditional order, which for nearly 2000 years has descended from the edition of Andronicus to the Berlin edition, is satisfactory in details, but