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ON THE NATURAL FACULTIES Book I
[p. 97]say "rhetorical"? For we too are not to suppose that when certain rhetoricians pour ridicule upon that which they are quite incapable of refuting, without any attempt at argument, their words are really thereby constituted rhetoric. For rhetoric proceeds by persuasive reasoning; words without reasoning are buffoonery rather than rhetoric. Therefore, the reply of Erasistratus in his treatise "On Deglutition" was neither rhetoric nor logic. For what is it that he says? "Now, the stomach does not appear to exercise any traction." Let us testify against him in return, and set our argument beside his in the same form. Now, there appears to be no peristalsis
Peristalsis may be used here to translate Gk. peristolé, meaning the contraction and dilation of muscle-fibres circularly round a lumen cf.p. 263, note 2.
of the gullet. "And how does this appear?" one of his adherents may perchance ask. "For is it not indicative of peristalsis that always when the upper parts of the gullet contract the lower parts dilate?" Again, then, we say, "And in what way does the attraction of the stomach not appear? For is it not indicative of attraction that always when the lower parts of the gullet dilate the upper parts contract?" Now, if he would but be sensible and recognize that this phenomenon is not more indicative of the one than of the other view, but that it applies equally to both,
For a demonstration that this phenomenon is a conclusive proof neither of peristolé nor of real vital attraction, but is found even in dead bodies v. p. 267.
we should then show him without further delay the proper way to the discovery of truth.
We will, however, speak about the stomach again. And the dispersal of nutriment [anadosis] need not make us have recourse to the theory regarding the