Commentary on Aristotle’s Topics part III

How to develop propositions.

Being able to develop propositions is important because without it one cannot create an argument. A carefully constructed proposition is essential for creating a convincing argument. Whether you argue with friends in a coffee or you argue about politics or you are fighting for your life in a court room, you must be able to create convincing arguments.

Averros has done a great job on explaining this part in his three part commentary. My focus is only to explain the hardest part and leave out the easy ones. That way I can make my writing short and fit to be seeing on one or two screens.

First of all you need to find out what are the public opinions on different matters. Find out what are the things every one agree. Or majority of the people agree, or the intellectuals agree. You use only these as your proposition. Always start from something that is accepted by the people.

We should also take statements from handbooks, and other texts for making propositions.

Much better if we keep a book and list statements from different sources and put it under different headings. When you write propositions like this write down in their most universal form.

Let’s examine a single proposition.

Every proposition/premises contain a predicate.

To predicate something means to assert that something is true, or belongs to, or is an attribute of the other.

Before we go any further we need to find out what are the categories of predication. Every predicate falls under one or many of these categories. Aristotle lists ten categories.

– What it is, quantity, quality, relations, location, time, position, possession, doing, and undergoing.

Some translators lists this way:
– Essence, quantity, quality, relations, place, time, position, state, activity, passivity.

For example:
Essence: ‘Ali is a man’ (Genus)
Quantity: ‘Ali is the one who is in the jetty’
Quality: ‘ Ali is good at volley ball’
Relations: ‘Ali works in the bank’
and so on…

Up until here you must have a good understanding of which category a predicte is belong to and which of the 4 ways the predicte belongs to subject, whether Genus, property or accident. If you don’t understand it yet, Go back and read other sources. Continuing further from here will not help.

Next I will examine what is a Topics and how you can use it to find proposition suitable to make an attack or defence.