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Hellenistic philosophy
Hellenistic philosophy
is the period of Western philosophy
Western philosophy
that was developed in the Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization
following Aristotle
Aristotle
and ending with the beginning of Neoplatonism.

Contents

1 Hellenistic schools of thought

1.1 Pythagoreanism 1.2 Sophism 1.3 Cynicism 1.4 Cyrenaicism 1.5 Platonism 1.6 Peripateticism 1.7 Pyrrhonism 1.8 Epicureanism 1.9 Stoicism 1.10 Eclecticism 1.11 Hellenistic Judaism 1.12 Neopythagoreanism 1.13 Hellenistic Christianity 1.14 Neoplatonism

2 See also 3 Further reading

Hellenistic schools of thought[edit] Pythagoreanism[edit] Pythagoreanism
Pythagoreanism
is the name given to the system of philosophy and science developed by Pythagoras, which influenced nearly all the systems of Hellenistic philosophy
Hellenistic philosophy
that followed. Two schools of Pythagorean thought eventually developed; one based largely on mathematics and continuing his line of scientific work, while the other focused on his metaphysical teachings, though each shared a part of the other.

Pythagoras
Pythagoras
of Croton (570–495 BC) Hippasus
Hippasus
(5th century BC)

Sophism[edit] In Ancient Greece, the sophists were a category of teachers who specialized in using the tools of philosophy and rhetoric for the purpose of teaching aretê—excellence, or virtue—predominantly to young statesmen and nobility.

Protagoras
Protagoras
(490–420 BC) Gorgias
Gorgias
(485–380 BC) Antiphon (480–411 BC)

Cynicism[edit] The Cynics were an ascetic sect of philosophers beginning with Antisthenes
Antisthenes
in the 4th century BC and continuing until the 5th century AD. They believed that one should live a life of Virtue
Virtue
in agreement with Nature. This meant rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, health, or fame, and living a life free from possessions.

Antisthenes
Antisthenes
(445–365 BC) Diogenes of Sinope
Diogenes of Sinope
(412–323 BC) Crates of Thebes
Crates of Thebes
(365–285 BC) Menippus
Menippus
(c. 275 BC) Demetrius (10–80 AD)

Cyrenaicism[edit] The Cyrenaics
Cyrenaics
were a hedonist school of philosophy founded in the 4th century BCE by Aristippus
Aristippus
of Cyrene, who was a student of Socrates. They held that pleasure was the supreme good, especially immediate gratifications; and that people could only know their own experiences, beyond that truth was unknowable.

Aristippus of Cyrene
Aristippus of Cyrene
(435–360 BCE) Anniceris (flourished 300 BCE) Hegesias of Cyrene
Hegesias of Cyrene
(flourished 290 BCE) Theodorus (c. 340 – c. 250 BCE)

Platonism[edit] Platonism
Platonism
is the name given to the philosophy of Plato, which was maintained and developed by his followers. The central concept was the theory of Forms: the transcendent, perfect archetypes, of which objects in the everyday world are imperfect copies. The highest form was the Form of the Good, the source of being, which could be known by reason. In the 3rd century BC, Arcesilaus
Arcesilaus
adopted skepticism, which became a central tenet of the school until 90 BC when Antiochus added Stoic elements, rejecting skepticism. With the adoption of oriental mysticism in the 3rd century AD, Platonism
Platonism
evolved into Neoplatonism.

Speusippus
Speusippus
(407–339 BC) Xenocrates
Xenocrates
(396–314 BC) Arcesilaus
Arcesilaus
(316–232 BC) Carneades
Carneades
(214–129 BC) Antiochus of Ascalon (130–68 BC) Plutarch
Plutarch
(46–120 AD)

Peripateticism[edit] The Peripatetics
Peripatetics
was the name given to the philosophers who maintained and developed the philosophy of Aristotle. They advocated examination of the world to understand the ultimate foundation of things. The goal of life was the happiness which originated from virtuous actions, which consisted in keeping the mean between the two extremes of the too much and the too little.

Aristotle
Aristotle
(384–322 BC) Theophrastus
Theophrastus
(371–287 BC) Strato of Lampsacus
Strato of Lampsacus
(335–269 BC) Alexander of Aphrodisias
Alexander of Aphrodisias
(c. 200 AD)

Pyrrhonism[edit] Pyrrhonism is a school of philosophical skepticism that originated with Pyrrho
Pyrrho
in the 3rd century BCE, and was further advanced by Aenesidemus in the 1st century BCE. Its objective is ataraxia (being mentally unperturbed), which is achieved through epoché (i.e. suspension of judgment) about non-evident matters (i.e., matters of belief).

Pyrrho
Pyrrho
(365–275 BCE) Timon (320–230 BCE) Aenesidemus (1st century BCE) Sextus Empiricus
Sextus Empiricus
(2nd century CE)

Epicureanism[edit] Epicureanism
Epicureanism
was founded by Epicurus
Epicurus
in the 3rd century BC. It viewed the universe as being ruled by chance, with no interference from gods. It regarded absence of pain as the greatest pleasure, and advocated a simple life. It was the main rival to Stoicism
Stoicism
until both philosophies died out in the 3rd century AD.

Epicurus
Epicurus
(341–270 BC) Metrodorus (331–278 BC) Hermarchus (325-250 BC) Zeno of Sidon (1st century BC) Philodemus (110–40 BC) Lucretius
Lucretius
(99–55 BC)

Stoicism[edit]

Zeno of Citium
Zeno of Citium
(333–263 BC), the founder of Stoicism

Stoicism
Stoicism
was founded by Zeno of Citium
Zeno of Citium
in the 3rd century BC. Based on the ethical ideas of the Cynics, it taught that the goal of life was to live in accordance with Nature. It advocated the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions.

Zeno of Citium
Zeno of Citium
(333–263 BC) Cleanthes (331–232 BC) Chrysippus
Chrysippus
(280–207 BC) Panaetius
Panaetius
(185–110 BC) Posidonius
Posidonius
(135–51 BC) Seneca (4 BC – 65 AD) Epictetus
Epictetus
(55–135 AD) Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius
(121–180 AD)

Eclecticism[edit] Eclecticism
Eclecticism
was a system of philosophy which adopted no single set of doctrines but selected from existing philosophical beliefs those doctrines that seemed most reasonable. Its most notable advocate was Cicero.

Varro Reatinus (116–27 BC) Cicero
Cicero
(106–43 BC) Seneca the Younger
Seneca the Younger
(4 BC – 65 AD)

Hellenistic Judaism[edit] Hellenistic Judaism
Hellenistic Judaism
was an attempt to establish the Jewish
Jewish
religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism. Its principal representative was Philo of Alexandria.

Philo of Alexandria
Philo of Alexandria
(30 BC – 45 AD) Josephus
Josephus
(37–100 AD)

Neopythagoreanism[edit] Neopythagoreanism
Neopythagoreanism
was a school of philosophy reviving Pythagorean doctrines, which was prominent in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. It was an attempt to introduce a religious element into Greek philosophy, worshipping God by living an ascetic life, ignoring bodily pleasures and all sensuous impulses, to purify the soul.

Nigidius Figulus
Nigidius Figulus
(98–45 BC) Apollonius of Tyana
Apollonius of Tyana
(40–120 AD) Numenius of Apamea (2nd century AD)

Hellenistic Christianity[edit] Hellenistic Christianity
Christianity
was the attempt to reconcile Christianity with Greek philosophy, beginning in the late 2nd century. Drawing particularly on Platonism
Platonism
and the newly emerging Neoplatonism, figures such as Clement of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria
sought to provide Christianity
Christianity
with a philosophical framework.

Clement of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria
(150–215 AD) Origen
Origen
(185–254 AD) Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
(354–430 AD) Aelia Eudocia
Aelia Eudocia
(401–460 AD)

Neoplatonism[edit] Neoplatonism, or Plotinism, was a school of religious and mystical philosophy founded by Plotinus
Plotinus
in the 3rd century AD and based on the teachings of Plato
Plato
and the other Platonists. The summit of existence was the One or the Good, the source of all things. In virtue and meditation the soul had the power to elevate itself to attain union with the One, the true function of human beings. It was the main rival to Christianity
Christianity
until dying out in the 6th century.

Plotinus
Plotinus
(205–270 AD) Porphyry (233–309 AD) Iamblichus of Chalcis
Iamblichus of Chalcis
(245–325 AD) Proclus (412–485 AD)

See also[edit]

Hundred Schools of Thought Ancient philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy Hellenistic period Hellenistic religion Plato's Academy Alexandrian school

Further reading[edit]

A. A. Long The Hellenistic Philosophers (2 vols, Cambridge University Press, 1987) Giovanni Reale, The Systems of the Hellenistic Age: History of Ancient Philosophy
Philosophy
(Suny Series in Philosophy), edited and translated from Italian by John R. Catan, Albany, State of New York University Press, 1985, ISBN 0887060080. The London Philosophy
Philosophy
Study Guide offers many suggestions on what to read, depending on the student's familiarity with the subject: Post-Aristotelian philosophy Readings in Hellenistic Philosophy
Philosophy
on PhilPapers, edited by Dirk Baltzly (University of Tasmania).

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