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shame about her, as some people said, it certainly did not come from the fact that she was in receipt of a salary for the per. formance of certain prescribed duties. Such remuneration was, she thought, as honourable as the Doctor's income; but to her American intelligence, the acceptance of a present of money from a Marchioness would have been a degradation.”!


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Among examples of successful exposition that are too long to quote are: the lecture on “Idealism and

Naturalism," in Mr. Otto Pfleiderer's “PhilosExamples of exposition. ophy and Development of Religion;" the chapter on “ Intellectual Education," in Mr. Herbert Spencer's “ Education ;” the chapter on “Money,” in Mill's “Prin

" ciples of Political Economy;” the chapter on “Sweetness and Light," in Matthew Arnold's “ Culture and Anarchy;" the report of the Committee on Secondary School Studies to the National Council of Education; Walter Bagehot’s “English Constitution ;" Mr. A. R. Wallace's “Darwinism.”

1 Anthony Trollope : Dr. Wortle's School, part i. chap. ii.

2 Other examples are given in “Specimens of Exposition,” selected and edited by Hammond Lamont.



ARGUMENT, like exposition, addresses the understanding;

, but there is an important difference between the two. Exposition achieves its purpose if it makes the

Argument persons addressed understand what is said; distinguished argument achieves its purpose if it makes exposition. them believe that what is maintained is true: exposition aims at explaining, argument at convincing. The difference between an argument and an exposition may be shown by a comparison between the address of an advocate to the jury and the charge of the judge. The advocate tries to convince the jury that his client has the right on his side; the judge, if he has the truly judicial spirit, tries to make the jury understand the question at issue exactly as it is.

The work of argument is sometimes done by exposition. Thus, Cardinal Newman? expounds the distinction between true and false education so skilfully Argument in that the reader draws for himself the conclu- exposition. sion suggested, but not proved, by the author; and Webster2 points out so plainly the evils that would result from an attempt to nullify a law of the United States that the inference from what he says is unmistakable. Argument which thus takes the form of expo* See pages 312, 313.

? See pages 308–310.

the form of

Argument prepared for

sition may be more effective than it would be in its own form.

The way for argument is often prepared by exposition, Some words of the assertion in dispute may need to be

defined and their relations to one another made by exposition. clear. If the subject is rovel or complex, the assertion as a whole may need to be explained before the argument is begun. It is useless to try to convince a man of the truth of anything that he does not understand.



and proof defined.

The body of every composition in which reasoning plays an important part consists of the PROPOSITION in Proposition dispute, — the assertion which is to be proved

or disproved, - and the PROOF, which includes whatever tends to show either that this proposition is true or that it is false. The aim of argument is to convince the persons addressed that the proof is sufficient to establish, or to overthrow, the proposition.

For exposition a word may serve as subject, since one form of exposition is the definition of a word;

but for argument a word cannot so serve.

Honesty,” for example, is in no just sense a subject for argument; for, though many propositions about honesty can be framed, the word by itself suggests no one of them rather than another : but “Honesty is the best policy” is a subject; for it makes a definite assertion, an assertion that can be reasoned about.

Nothing can free a writer or a speaker from the obligation of having the proposition distinctly fixed in his own

A word not a subject for argument.

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mind before he begins his argument; for he cannot safely take the first step toward proving a proposition until he knows exactly what proposition is Importance to be proved. The process of investigation, by a distinct

proposition which a man arrives at certain conclusions, in mind. should be completed before the argumentative process, by which he endeavors to convince others of the correctness of those conclusions, can advantageously be begun.

and indirecte

Proof may be either direct or indirect. Direct proof goes straight to the desired conclusion. Indirect proof demonstrates the truth of a proposition by Proof, direct showing that the opposite conclusion is absurd; it is, therefore, called reductio ad absurdum.

A familiar example of reductio ad absurdum may be taken from a treatise on geometry:

“Two perpendiculars to the same straight line are parallel.

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« Let the lines A B and C D be perpendicular to A C. “ To prove A B and C D parallel.

“If A B and C D are not parallel, they will meet in some point if sufficiently produced.

“We should then have two perpendiculars from the same point to A C, which is impossible.

“[From a given point without a straight line but one perpendicular can be drawn to the line.] * Therefore, A B and C D cannot meet, and are parallel.” 1

1 Webster Wells: The Elements of Geometry, book i.

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An argument which can be answered by reductio ad ab. surdum is said to prove too much, - that is, too much for its force as an argument; since, if the conclusion is true, a general proposition which lies behind it and includes it is also true. To show this general proposition in its absurdity is to overthrow the conclusion. The argument carries in itself the means of its own destruction. For example:

(1) Skill in public speaking is liable to great abuse; it should, therefore, not be cultivated.

(2) Skill in public speaking is liable to great abuse; but so are the best things in the world, - as health, wealth, power, mili. tary skill;' the best things in the world should, therefore, not be cultivated.

In this example, the indirect argument under (2) overthrows the direct argument under (1) by bringing into view the general proposition omitted from (1) but implied in it, - namely, that nothing which is liable to great abuse should be cultivated. The absurdity of this general proposition is made apparent by the specific instances cited.

The argument that games of football should be given up because players sometimes sustain severe injuries may be disposed of in a similar way; for horseback-riders and boating-men are not exempt from danger.

In Plato's dialogues, Socrates often applies reductio ad absurdum to the argument of an opponent. Thus, in “ The Republic,” Thrasymachus lays down the principle that justice is the interest of the stronger. This principle he explains by saying that the power in each State is vested in the rulers, and that, therefore, justice demands that which is for the interest of the rulers. Whereupon Socrates makes him admit that it is just for subjects to obey their rulers, and also that rulers, not being infallible, may unintentionally command that which is to their own injury. “ Then justice, according to your argument,” concludes Socrates, “ is not only the interest of the stronger but the reverse."

1 See Aristotle: Rhetoric, book i. chap. i.
2 See Jowett's Plato, vol. ii. pp. 159-161.

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