Eretrian school

Last updated

The Eretrian school of philosophy was originally the School of Elis where it had been founded by Phaedo of Elis; it was later transferred to Eretria by his pupil Menedemus. [1] It can be referred to as the Elian-Eretrian School, on the assumption that the views of the two schools were similar. It died out after the time of Menedemus (3rd century BC), and, consequently, very little is known about its tenets. Phaedo had been a pupil of Socrates, and Plato named a dialogue, Phaedo , in his honor, but it is not possible to infer his doctrines from the dialogue. Menedemus was a pupil of Stilpo at Megara before becoming a pupil of Phaedo; in later times, the views of his school were often linked with those of the Megarian school. Menedemus' friend and colleague in the Eretrian school was Asclepiades of Phlius.

Elis Region of Ancient Greece

Elis or Eleia is an ancient district that corresponds to the modern regional unit of Elis.

Phaedo of Elis was a Greek philosopher. A native of Elis, he was captured in war as a boy and sold into slavery. He subsequently came into contact with Socrates at Athens who warmly received him and had him freed. He was present at the death of Socrates, and Plato named one of his dialogues Phaedo.

Eretria Place in Greece

Eretria is a town in Euboea, Greece, facing the coast of Attica across the narrow South Euboean Gulf. It was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th century BC, mentioned by many famous writers and actively involved in significant historical events.

Like the Megarians they seem to have believed in the individuality of "the Good," the denial of the plurality of virtue, and of any real difference existing between the Good and the True. Cicero tells us that they placed all good in the mind, and in that acuteness of mind by which the truth is discerned. [2] They denied that truth could be inferred by negative categorical propositions, and would only allow positive ones, and of these only simple ones. [3]

Virtue Positive trait or quality deemed to be morally good

Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness. In other words, it is a behavior that shows high moral standards. Doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. The opposite of virtue is vice.

Cicero 1st-century BC Roman lawyer, orator, philosopher and statesman

Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman statesman, orator, lawyer and philosopher, who served as consul in the year 63 BC. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, and is considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.

Mind Combination of cognitive faculties that provide consciousness, thinking, reasoning, perception and judgement

The mind is the set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, imagination, perception, thinking, judgement, language and memory, which is housed in the brain. It is usually defined as the faculty of an entity's thoughts and consciousness. It holds the power of imagination, recognition, and appreciation, and is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes and actions.


  1. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Elis, Philosophical School of"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 9 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 279.
  2. Cicero, Academica, ii. 42.
  3. Diogenes Laërtius, ii, 135.

Related Research Articles

Zeno of Citium Ancient Greek Stoic philosopher

Zeno of Citium was a Hellenistic philosopher of Phoenician origin from Citium, Cyprus. Zeno was the founder of the Stoic school of philosophy, which he taught in Athens from about 300 BC. Based on the moral ideas of the Cynics, Stoicism laid great emphasis on goodness and peace of mind gained from living a life of Virtue in accordance with Nature. It proved very popular, and flourished as one of the major schools of philosophy from the Hellenistic period through to the Roman era.

Chrysippus ancient Greek philosopher

Chrysippus of Soli was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He was a native of Soli, Cilicia, but moved to Athens as a young man, where he became a pupil of Cleanthes in the Stoic school. When Cleanthes died, around 230 BC, Chrysippus became the third head of the school. A prolific writer, Chrysippus expanded the fundamental doctrines of Zeno of Citium, the founder of the school, which earned him the title of Second Founder of Stoicism.

Menedemus of Eretria was a Greek philosopher and founder of the Eretrian school. He learned philosophy first in Athens, and then, with his friend Asclepiades, he subsequently studied under Stilpo and Phaedo of Elis. Nothing survives of his philosophical views apart from a few scattered remarks recorded by later writers.

Euclid of Megara Greek philosopher

Euclid of Megara was a Greek Socratic philosopher who founded the Megarian school of philosophy. He was a pupil of Socrates in the late 5th century BC, and was present at his death. He held the supreme good to be one, eternal and unchangeable, and denied the existence of anything contrary to the good. Editors and translators in the Middle Ages often confused him with Euclid of Alexandria when discussing the latter's Elements.

Philo of Larissa was a Greek philosopher. He was a pupil of Clitomachus, whom he succeeded as head of the Academy. During the Mithridatic wars which would see the destruction of the Academy, he travelled to Rome where Cicero heard him lecture. None of his writings survive. He was an Academic sceptic, like Clitomachus and Carneades before him, but he offered a more moderate view of scepticism than that of his teachers, permitting provisional beliefs without certainty.

Stilpo Greek philosopher of the Megarian school

Stilpo was a Greek philosopher of the Megarian school. He was a contemporary of Theophrastus, Diodorus Cronus, and Crates of Thebes. None of his writings survive, he was interested in logic and dialectic, and he argued that the universal is fundamentally separated from the individual and concrete. His ethical teachings approached that of the Cynics and Stoics. His most important followers were Pyrrho, the founder of Pyrrhonism, and Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism.

Megarian school Ancient socratic school

The Megarian school of philosophy, which flourished in the 4th century BC, was founded by Euclides of Megara, one of the pupils of Socrates. Its ethical teachings were derived from Socrates, recognizing a single good, which was apparently combined with the Eleatic doctrine of Unity. Some of Euclides' successors developed logic to such an extent that they became a separate school, known as the Dialectical school. Their work on modal logic, logical conditionals, and propositional logic played an important role in the development of logic in antiquity.

Simon the Shoemaker was an associate of Socrates, and a 'working-philosopher'. He is known mostly from the account given in Diogenes Laërtius' Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers. He is also mentioned in passing by Plutarch and Synesius; a pupil of Socrates, Phaedo of Elis, is known to have written a dialogue called Simon.

Antiochus of Ascalon was an Academic philosopher. He was a pupil of Philo of Larissa at the Academy, but he diverged from the Academic skepticism of Philo and his predecessors. He was a teacher of Cicero, and the first of a new breed of eclectics among the Platonists; he endeavoured to bring the doctrines of the Stoics and the Peripatetics into Platonism, and stated, in opposition to Philo, that the mind could distinguish true from false. In doing so, he claimed to be reviving the doctrines of the Old Academy. With him began the phase of philosophy known as Middle Platonism.

Diodorus Cronus was a Greek philosopher and dialectician connected to the Megarian school. He was most notable for logic innovations, including his master argument formulated in response to Aristotle's discussion of future contingents.

Diogenes of Babylon was a Stoic philosopher. He was the head of the Stoic school in Athens, and he was one of three philosophers sent to Rome in 155 BC. He wrote many works, but none of his writings survive, except as quotations by later writers.

This page is a list of topics in ancient philosophy.

Alexinus of Elis, was a philosopher of Megarian school and a disciple of Eubulides. From his argumentative nature he was facetiously named the wrangler, From Elis he went to Olympia, hoping to found a sect which was to be called the Olympian, but his disciples soon became disgusted with the unhealthiness of the place and their scanty means of subsistence, and left him with a single attendant.

Philo the Dialectician was a dialectic philosopher of the Megarian school. He is sometimes called Philo of Megara although the city of his birth is unknown. He is most famous for the debate he had with his teacher Diodorus Cronus concerning the idea of the possible and the criteria of the truth of conditional statements.

Asclepiades of Phlius was a Greek philosopher in the Eretrian school of philosophy. He was the friend of Menedemus of Eretria, and they both went to live in Megara and studied under Stilpo, before sailing to Elis to join Phaedo's school. His friendship with Menedemus was said to have been hardly inferior to the friendship of Pylades and Orestes. As impoverished young men living in Athens, they were one day summoned before the Areopagus, to explain how they could spend all day with the philosophers if they had no visible means of support. They summoned a miller to the court to explain that they threshed grain at night for 2 drachmas, whereupon the Areopagites were so astonished that they awarded the two men 200 drachmas as a reward.

Academic skepticism refers to the skeptical period of ancient Platonism dating from around 266 BC, when Arcesilaus became head of the Platonic Academy, until around 90 BC, when Antiochus of Ascalon rejected skepticism, although individual philosophers, such as Favorinus and his teacher Plutarch continued to defend Academic skepticism after this date. Unlike the existing school of skepticism, the Pyrrhonists, they maintained that knowledge of things is impossible. Ideas or notions are never true; nevertheless, there are degrees of probability, and hence degrees of belief, which allow one to act. The school was characterized by its attacks on the Stoics and on their belief that convincing impressions led to true knowledge. The most important Academic skeptics were Arcesilaus, Carneades, and Philo of Larissa.

Socrates classical Greek Athenian philosopher

Socrates was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, and as being the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought. An enigmatic figure, he made no writings, and is known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers writing after his lifetime, particularly his students Plato and Xenophon. Other sources include the contemporaneous Antisthenes, Aristippus, and Aeschines of Sphettos. Aristophanes, a playwright, is the main contemporary author to have written plays mentioning Socrates during Socrates' lifetime, though a fragment of Ion of Chios' Travel Journal provides important information about Socrates' youth.

The theory of Forms or theory of Ideas is a philosophical theory, concept, or world-view, attributed to Plato, that the physical world is not as real or true as timeless, absolute, unchangeable ideas. According to this theory, ideas in this sense, often capitalized and translated as "Ideas" or "Forms", are the non-physical essences of all things, of which objects and matter in the physical world are merely imitations. Plato speaks of these entities only through the characters of his dialogues who sometimes suggest that these Forms are the only objects of study that can provide knowledge. The theory itself is contested from within Plato's dialogues, and it is a general point of controversy in philosophy. Whether the theory represents Plato's own views is held in doubt by modern scholarship. However, the theory is considered a classical solution to the problem of universals.