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Book Reviews Die Megariker: Kommentierte Sammlung der Testimonien. By Klaus D~ring. (Amsterdam : Verlag B. R. Griiner N.V., 1972. Pp. xii q- 185) D~Sring has assembled the first complete collection of textual fragments concerning the Megarian philosophers of the fourth and third centuries B.c., together with a commentary. The fragments are divided by the author into four groups, each centered around one of the better-known figures of the school: Euclid, Eubulides, Diodorus Cronus, Stilpo. Evidences concerning lesser-known personalities are included under the figure to whose "circle" they belonged. A fifth group of texts appears in an Anhang devoted to the sophist Bryson (often mistakenly associated with the Megarians) and his student Polyxenus. Divisions in the commentary parallel those in the text. The author also adds a stemma summarizing his conclusions about teacher-pupil relationships within the school, and there is a selective bibliography and a SteUenregister. An index, which in view of the work's organization would be helpful, is not included. Simply as a collection of texts, this is a major addition to the scholarship in its field; with the author's commentary, it is the most important work on the Megarians since Kurt von Fritz's Real-Encyclopiidie article.1 D~Sringpresents convincing evidence that some widely disseminated opinions about the school have little or no foundation. Some of his alternative views have important consequences, and not only for the history of the Megarians. DSring rejects the dates customarily assigned to the school's founder Euclid (ca. 450ca . 380), pointing out that there is actually no good evidence for them (pp. 73-74). His own figures (ca. 435-ca. 365) rely on the evidence of Plato's Theaetetus to give the year 369 as a terminus post quem for Euclid's death. The first consequence of this chronology is that the story of Euclid stealing into Athens disguised as a woman in order to avoid the anti-Megarian decree of 432 must be rejected; Dfiring feels that it is probably one of a family of tales elaborated by later writers "urn die Macht der Philosophie zu demonstrieren " (p. 74). A more important consequence is in store when this chronology is combined with a reassessment of the evidence relating to Euclid's philosophical position. D6ring rejects the traditional description of Euclid as a "neo-Eleatic" who attempted to combine a strict Parmenidean monism with Socrates' ethical views by identifying the "One" with the "Good." Following yon Fritz, he sees this as "eine ziemlich gewaltsame antike Doxographenkonstruktion" (p. 83). His own view reverses the importance of Socratic and Eleatic elements in Euclid's thought, making him "[ein] Sokratiker, der die dem Sokratischen Denken inh~ente eleatische Komponente weiterentwickelt hat" (p. 87). Together with the revision of Euclid's dates, this would appear to eliminate decisively Kr~imer's thesis that Euclid originated the "Gleichsetzung ontologischer und axiologischer Momente''e fundamental to Platonic metaphysics. First, Euclid was only a few years older than Plato (not "at least two decades," as KrOner requires); second, there is no evidence whatever that he had studied the Eleatic doctrines before meeting Socrates; and finally, the purported "Gleichsetzung" appears to be rather the work of doxographers (pp. 87-89). When we add DSring's skeptical assessment of the story of Plato's Megarian period (p. 76), there remains little evidence to support the theory that Euclid was the ultimate source of Plato'S metaphysics. The most famous achievements of the M~garians were in the sphere of logic. Here, x Suppl. V (1931), s. v. "Megariker." H. J. Kr~mer, Arete bei Platon und Aristoteles (Heidelberg, 1959), p. 506. [52H 522 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY Dtring's work should provide the impetus for further research; his collection of texts is much more comprehensive than anything previously available, and his commentary, although deliberately limited to an overview, at least provides a good account of the status quaestionis. The material on the paradoxes attributed to the Megarians (pp. 106-114) is particularly valuable; he gives a good conspectus of the extensive literature on the "Liar" and "sorites," and his remarks on the lesser-known paradoxes (the "Man Who Escapes Notice," the "Electra," the "Hooded...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 521-522
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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