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The Possible and Impossible
A topic of invention in which one describes something proposed as either possible or impossible for the purpose of encouraging or discouraging. An examination of the feasibility of a proposed action.
  "However much we may desire to travel to other worlds beyond our solar system, we are not able to do so now or in the foreseeable future."
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  • Progymnasmata: Confirmation

  • The possible is one of the topics recommended for use in this rhetorical exercise.
  • Progymnasmata: Refutation
    The impossible is one of the topics recommended for use in this rhetorical exercise.
  Sources: Aristotle, Rhetoric 2.19.1-15

Past Fact / Future Fact
A topic of invention in which one refers back to general events in the past or to what we can safely suppose will occur in the future based on the record of the past. When precedents are brought forward from the past, this topic of invention overlaps with Testimony; when discussing what is likely or not for the future, it has obvious connection to topic of The Possible and Impossible.
  As every creature who has lived on this earth through its many ages has ended this life in death, we can be quite assured that this will be the common lot for the rest of us, sooner or later.
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  • Branches of Oratory: Judicial Oratory
    Generally, in judicial oratory one makes arguments about past events.
  • Branches of Oratory: Deliberative Oratory
    Generally, in deliberative oratory one makes arguments oriented to future events.
  • Progymnasmata: Impersonation
    In creating a character through this rhetorical exercise students were instructed to consider aspects of both the past and future.
  • Progymnasmata: Commonplace
    In one of the steps of this rhetorical exercise it was recommended that one discuss a person's past life.
  Sources: Aristotle, Rhetoric 2.19.16-25

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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