Argument Map

When constructing a proof, and in particular a demonstration, it is useful to map the argument.

Creating a syllogism:  Begin with the conclusion.  If you have already established terminology to be used in your research paper or thesis, find the two terms you wish to relate (i.e. Democracy is Dangerous) and then find a term that relates to both of these.  In this case, perhaps “Going along with the Crowd” would be a term that would go along with both Democracy and Danger.

Example of mapping and creating a syllogism: Democracy Enthymeme




The founder of the ‘The Lyceum’ and tutor of Alexander the Great.   Aristotle differs with his teacher Plato concerning the reality and comprehensibility of the ‘Ideal’.   Radical idealism, the notion that the universal concepts of things are of greater force than the perception of the particular things themselves, is countered with a tempered view that the particulars are necessary to our knowledge of the ‘Ideal’.  It may even be said that the real ideas arise from the entelechy of things themselves. (see the four causes.)



The association of the student and his world


  • At the same time as the issue; where are they? who else is there? what is happening?
  • At the same time in another place; where are they?  who was there?  what is happening?
  • What is or was possible?
  • What is or was probable?
  • Power, will and opportunity
  • Who is interested?
  • What is the best choice?

The concerns of Grammar are people, places, things and times- the study of events.

The Logic of circumstance is concerned with causal relationships between events and ideas in the history of the world.

Rhetoric is the self aware inclusion of the student in circumstance, a relationship with the past that informs the present and indicates the future.

“The past is the present unrolled for inspection, the present is the past gathered for action.” -Will Durant




In the act of persuasion, choices come to the front.   We persuade toward a choice and away from another.  A common device that concludes stasis, we end the narratio by illustrating a ‘some say’ while ‘others say’ – clearly presenting the choice.  This component is necessary in political or deliberative speech, of interest in forensic or judicial speeches, and may be used in epidiectic or celebratory speeches.

We follow this with the proposition – the position we will champion.


Elocution is chosen by the Rhetor with the audience in mind. You may consider it the clothing of the naked argument.

Low, Middle, High.

Poetic diction, didactic rhetoric, dialectic or speculative.


Beginning well means capturing the good will, attention, and patience of your audience.

Pessimus certe gubernator qui navem, dum portu egreditur, impegit. – Quintilian

The first part of arrangement, or the exordium, is more aptly described by this name rather than ‘introduction’ since it should exhort our audience to hear us out.   Its purpose is not simply ‘to begin’, but is a necessary preparation and alignment for the material to follow.

Beginning well means capturing the good will, attention, and patience of your audience.  Typically we do this using a saying, a joke, or an anecdote. An excellent exordium may be developed from a question, as this tends to invite the audience into consideration of our topic.

Tactically, elements of the exordium should be developed last, as an ex tempore or spontaneous exordium will impart that quality to the rest of the speech.

Aristotle’s ‘Rhetoric’ discusses the Prooemium or Exordium in Book III, Chapter 14.

Quintilian in the Institutio Oratoria calls a faulty exordium ‘a face seamed with scars’ –  as part of a discussion in Book IV.

The Rhetorica ad Herennium (once thought to have been written by Cicero) discusses two types of introductions, the Prooimion and the Ephodos, one being direct, the other subtle.  



What would be considered a fallacy in a dialectical argument becomes a tactic

Fallacies arise whenever an argument, meaning a cogent line of terms, propositions and conclusions, is somehow diverted into an unprofitable stream.   In one point of view, this is unfortunate and profitless.  To the pursuer of the dialectic, for example, the failure to develop the discussion in a revealing way that surfaces truth is a good reason to abandon a discussion.  Those who insist on this sort of distortion are practitioners of contention, believing there is no truth to be found in the first place, or disputation, enjoying the control of a discussion more than its profitable results.  In ancient times, these were designated ‘sophists’.

In another point of view, an argument may be more intended toward persuasion than discovery.   This is the chief characteristic and purpose of rhetoric.  When engaged in rhetoric, the idea of competing goods arises.  In this setting, the rhetor is attempting to move the auditor toward one of several goods.   What would be considered a fallacy in a dialectical argument becomes a tactic, a means to steer the stream of meaning toward a pre-conceived goal.   In rhetoric, it is quite possible to conceal a logical weakness (fallacy of form), an ethical breach (fallacy of distraction), or a lapse of intuition (a material fallacy).  This does not make a purposeful inclusion of this sort of device ethical, but these tactics are effective.

There are so many fallacies, it is tempting to think of Aristotle’s target of ethical behavior: There are infinite paths to failure, but only one to success.  In itself, this idea may be a material fallacy, owing to the meaning of the word success, where there is only one correct choice available to ‘success’.   However, it may be true that all fallacies of argumentation may be of three genera.

Fallacies of Form

  • post hoc ergo propter hoc
  • petitio principii
  • enthymeme (covering a weak premise by mere implication)
  • ad ignorantium  (all propositions must be about something, not nothing)

Fallacies of Distraction – properties include ‘non sequitur’, ‘ignoratio elenchi’

  • ad hominem
  • ad baculum
  • ad verecundiam
  • ad misericordiam
  • ad ignominiam
  • ad populum
  • ipse dixit (fallacy of authority)
  • Fallacies of Procedure (as per Peter Kreeft in Socratic Logic)
    • refuting the argument but not the conclusion
    • refuting the conclusion but not the argument
    • Ignoring the argument
    • Answering another argument (rather than the one given)
    • Shifting the burden of Proof
  • Straw Man
  • Hyperbole

Material Fallacies – properties include, like the fallacies of distraction, ‘non sequitur’ – but in this case due to a failure of intuition, the first act of human reason.

  • amphiboly
  • complex question (could be considered formal fallacy)
  • equivocation
  • emphasis
  • Metaphysical Fallacies
    • Reductionism (typically substituting the material cause for the formal)
    • Fallacy of the Accident (confused with Essence)
    • Confusing quantity with quality
    • Misplaced Concreteness




Herodotus is known as the original Historian, attempting to relate causes in the aftermath of the victory and ascendence of the Athenians over the Persian Empire and the Aegean sea.

The History, a work of the ancient world, is remarkable for its scope, naturalistic explanations, and multiple viewpoints.  Herodotus is known as the original Historian, attempting to relate causes in the aftermath of the victory and ascendence of the Athenians over the Persian Empire and the Aegean sea.

We read of the Greco/Persian War here, and the entire book is written as an explanation of historical events that led to that point.

Book I

Herodotus concerns himself with the origin of the conflict between Persia and Greece which began with King Croessus of Lydia, who was overcome by the Persian king Cyrus.  Meanwhile, in Athens  a democracy forms against the rise of Pisistratus, and in Sparta a strict order of state gathers control of the Peloponnesus.  Cyrus, who overcomes the Medes and Scythia/Cimmeria alliance that overthrew the Assyrian Empire, captures Babylon and campaigns in Scythia against the Massagetae, where he is killed in battle.


Book II

Cambyses comes to power and plans to enlarge the Persian empire in Egypt.  Herodotus provides a description of Egyptian history, customs and geography.

Book III

Cambyses defeats the son of Amasis in Egypt, continuing his campaign of conquest against the Ethiopians and Ammon.   He loses a large army in the desert west of Egypt, and goes mad in Egypt where he kills his brother and leaves Persia in confusion under the rule of the Magi (false Smerdis) at his death.  The Spartans interfere with the Island of Samos under Polycrates.   Herodotus, following the adventures of Darius who overthrows the Magi, meditates on the far east (India).  Darius, now firmly in command, conquers and subdues Samos, and reconquers Babylon which had revolted in the Persian chaotic interregnum.

Book IV

Darius begins an attack on the Scythians to the north of the Black Sea.  Herodotus explains the history of the Scythians, and speculates on Geography.  Darius, forced to retreat from Scythia, leaves his general Megabazus in Thrace, while he campaigns in Libya and against Cyrene.

Book V

While Megabazus subdues Thrace, a revolt, lead by Aristagoras breaks out against Otanes in Ionia.   Aristagoras seeks aid first from Cleomenes in Sparta (refused), and then in Athens.  Athens sends ships to aid the Ionians in their failed insurrection, angering Darius against the Athenians.

Book VI

Securing the Chersonese (Hellespont), the Persians gather the Greek cities and the Island of Aegina preparing for an assault on Athens.  Darius places Datis and Artaphernes in command, bringing Hippias back to reassume control of Athens.   Miltiades at the command of an Athenian and Plataean army routes the Persians at Marathon.

Book VII

Darius’ death means he will never get his vengeance against the Greeks.  Xerxes, succeeding to the throne, organizes a massive campaign against his father’s enemies.  The Persians face a naval disaster at Sepias, and march through Thrace and Macedon to face king Leonidas of the Spartans in the Battle of Thermopylae.


Beginning with the naval battle of Artemisium, the Greeks retreat toward Athens, deciding between the Isthmus (Corinth) and the bay of Salamis.  The battle of Salamis results in a defeat for Xerxes.   Alexander of Macedon is sent by the Persian king to bargain for the surrender of Athens, and we read of the heritage of Alexander the Great.

Book IX

The finale of Herodotus is mostly concerned with Mardonius (the Persian general) and the Battle of Plataea (1st battle).  The Persians are defeated and also driven from the Chersonese.