Speech at National Archives II (video).
2010 Virtual Book Signing™ at the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop (video).
The Elements of a Proposition,
A Story of Logically Persuasive Structure
How to Logically Structure and Credibly Demonstrate
Euclid used the six elements of a proposition to prove geometric propositions (see citation to Proclus at bottom of page). As far as is known, Euclid did not explicitly describe the persuasive structure he used for his proofs.
After studying Euclid, Abraham Lincoln used the same structure in speeches and writings. Lincoln too did not directly explain the structure he used from 1854 on.
Thomas Jefferson studied Euclid, and he too used the same persuasive structure. Jefferson did not directly reveal the structure he used.
Properly used, the six elements of a proposition embed persuasion within a careful factual foundation that precisely winds around logic that becomes iron. Honesty and credibility appear evident.
Once the six elements are internalized, writer's block tends to disappear. Naturally beautiful, persuasive communication results.
Earth tone is factual foundation. Green is logical direction. Red is argument.
1. Enunciation: “The enunciation states what is given and what is being sought from it.”
2. Exposition: “The exposition takes separately what is given and prepares it in advance for use in the investigation.”
3. Specification: “The specification takes separately the thing that is sought and makes clear precisely what it is.”
4. Construction: “The construction adds what is lacking in the given for finding what is sought.”
5. Proof: “The proof draws the proposed inference by reasoning scientifically from the propositions that have been admitted.”
6. Conclusion: “The conclusion reverts to the enunciation, confirming what has been proved.”
Proclus, A Commentary on the First Book of Euclid’s Elements, Translated, with Introduction and Notes, by Glenn R. Morrow [Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1970], 159.
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