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Minor Socratics* PHILIP MERLAN OF MEN MORE OR LESS DECISIVELY influenced by Socrates, three--Antisthenes (c. 455-360), Aristippus of Cyrene (c. 435-356), and Eucleides of Megara (c. 450380 )--became founders of schools (or sects) often referred to as "minor Socratic schools." These schools are the Cynic, the Cyrenaic, and the Megaric, respectively. The names of the last two are self-explanatory. That of the first sounds somewhat like "dog (kytn)-like." By some it is assumed to have been derived from the meeting place of Antisthenes with his followers, the gymnasium of Kynosarges; x others believe it to be contemptuously indicative of the dog-like life of the members of the sect (shamelessness, begging, barking, biting). 2 In this sense it was proudly and defiantly accepted by the members themselves, a What we know of the ethical teachings of the Megaric school amounts to hardly more than one sentence, in which the Good seems to have been identified with the One. 4 All we can say of this formula is that it, in some way, links the * Size (very limited), scope (ethical doctrines only), manner of presentation (for the general reader and rather dogmatic), etc., of this article were determined by the character of the Encyclopedia of Morals, in which it originally appeared. The present footnotes try to make up for some of the shortcomings unavoidable in this kind of article. [The Journal is grateful to Philosophical Library, Inc. for permission to reprint this article. The footnotes were subsequently added by Professor Merlan and appear here for the first time.] As the only collection of fragments of Cynics (Antisthenes, Diogenes, Crates, Monimus, Demonax, Oenomaus, Teles, Bion) is that contained in F. W. A. Mullach, Fragmenta philosophorum graecorum (Paris: 1865), vol. II, pp. 274-429, which is hard to obtain (the collection of fragments by A. W. Winekelmann, Antisthenis fragmenta [1842] even harder), I shall quote them directly from the sources. There was no need to do so with the Cyrenaics, as we have two recent collections of their fragments: G. Giannantoni, 1 Cirenaici (Florence, n.d.: [1958])--they will be quoted as G--and E. Mannebach, Aristippi et Cyrenaicorum fragmenta (K~51n-Leiden: 1961), which will be quoted as Ma. A generous selection of fragments of Megarians, Cynics and Cyrenaics in German translation with introduction and notes is contained in W. Nestle, Die Sokratiker (Jena: 1922), pp. 79-177. Our knowledge of Antisthenes would considerably be enriched if we could follow H. Kesters, who, in a number of publications (one of them: Plaidoyer d'un Socratique . . . [Louvain: 1959]) ascribes Themistius, Or. XXVI to Antisthenes. However, the ascription is doubtful. i I.e., Whitehound: D.L. VI 13. Elias, In Cat. (CAG XVIII/I, Berlin: 1908), p. Ill, 2-29. Busse has a fourfold explanation of the name, all connected with the word Kt~v. Cf. K. v. Fritz, Quellenuntersuchungen zu Leben und Philosophie des Diogenes von Sinope (Leipzig: 1926), pp. 47-49. D.L. VI 60. 55; Stob. vol. III, p. 462, 16 W.-H. Quotations from Stobaeus refer to: K. Wachsmuth, O. Hense, loannis Stobaei Anthologium, 5 vol. (Berlin: 1884-1902); they are by volume, page, and line of this edition. 4 Eus. PE XIV 17, 1; D.L. II 106 (~v x6 dtTu06v). [143] 144 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY Megarians to the Eleatic school 5 but also to some aspects of Plato's Philebus and his Laws, and also to the Epinomis, and, above all, to his lecture or course of lectures "The Good," the conclusion of which was that it is the One which is the Good. 6 And though we know that many Megarians were engaged in political activities,7 we do not know in what way, if any, that highly abstract ethical doctrine was linked to practice. It is entirely different with the other two schools, in which ethical theory is immediately applied to life and theoretical aspects of philosophy are often neglected or even absent. However, there is some doubt as to whether Antisthenes can actually be considered the fountainhead of Cynicism. He seems to have undergone the influence of Socrates late in his life, when he had already been active as a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 143-152
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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