STILPO (or STILPON; Greek : Στίλπων, gen.: Στίλπωνος;
c. 360 – c. 280 BC ) was a Greek philosopher of the Megarian school
. He was a contemporary of
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
Pyrrho, the founder of
Pyrrhonism, and Zeno of Citium
, the founder of
* 1 Life
* 2 Philosophy
* 3 Notes
* 4 Sources
* 5 External links
He was a native of
Megara. He probably lived after the time of
Megara, which makes it unlikely that he was a pupil of
Euclid, as stated by some; and others state that he was the pupil of
Thrasymachus of Corinth, or of Pasicles , the brother of Crates of
Thebes . According to one account, he engaged in dialectic encounters
Diodorus Cronusat the court of Ptolemy Soter ; according to
another, he did not comply with the invitation of the king, to go to
Alexandria. We are further told that Demetrius , the son of Antigonus
, honoured him no less, spared his house at the capture of Megara, and
offered him indemnity for the injury which it had received, which,
Stilpodeclined. Uniting elevated sentiment with gentleness
and patience, he, as
Plutarchsays, was an ornament to his country
and friends, and had his acquaintance sought by kings. His original
propensity to wine and voluptuousness he is said to have entirely
overcome; in inventive power and dialectic art to have surpassed his
contemporaries, and to have inspired almost all Greece with a devotion
to Megarian philosophy. A number of distinguished men too are named,
whom he is said to have drawn away from
Theophrastus, Aristotle of
Cyrene , and others, and attached to himself; among others Crates the
Cynic , and Zeno , the founder of the Stoic school. Among his
Menedemusand Asclepiades , the leaders of the Eretrian
school of philosophy. One of his pupils, Nicarete , was also said to
have been his mistress.
Stilpowas praised for his political wisdom,
his simple, straightforward disposition, and the equanimity with which
he tolerated his rebellious daughter.
Cicerorelates that Stilpo's
friends had described him as "vehemently addicted to wine and women",
but that his philosophy eliminated his inclinations.
Of the dialogues ascribed to him, we know only the titles. He
belonged to the
Megarian schoolof philosophy, but we learn only a
little about his doctrines in the few fragments and sayings of his
which are quoted.
Stilpoargued that the genus , the universal , is not contained in
the individual and concrete. "Whoever speaks of any person, speaks of
no-one, for he neither speaks of this one nor that. For why should it
rather be of this one than that? Hence it is not of this one". One of
his examples was that "the vegetable is not what is here shown. For a
vegetable existed ten thousand years ago, therefore this here is not a
vegetable". According to Simplicius , "the so-called Megarians took
it as ascertained that what has different determinations is different,
and that the diverse are separated one from the other, they seemed to
prove that each thing is separated from itself. Hence since the
Socratesis another determination from the wise Socrates,
Socrateswas separated from himself."
Thus one thing cannot be predicated of another, that is, the essence
of things cannot be reached by means of predicates.
To be a horse differs from to be running. For being asked the
definition of the one and of the other, we do not give the same for
them both; and therefore those err who predicate the one of the other.
For if good is the same with people, and to run the same with a horse,
how is good affirmed also of food and medicine, and again (by Jupiter)
to run of a lion and a dog? But if the predicate is different, then we
do not rightly say that a person is good, and a horse runs.
Plutarchremarks here that
Stilpoin a bombastic
manner as though he ignored common life: "for how shall we live, if we
cannot style a man good, nor a man a captain, but must separately name
a man a man, good good, and a captain a captain." But Plutarch, in
turn, replied, "but what man lived any the worse for this? Is there
any man who hears this said, and who does not understand it to be the
speech of a man who rallies gallantly, and proposes to others this
logical question to exercise their mind?"
Stilposeems to have been interested in
Virtue, and its
self-sufficiency. He maintained that the wise man ought not only to
overcome every evil, but not even to be affected by any, not even to
feel it, showing, perhaps, how closely allied
Stilpowas to the
contemporary Cynics :
For Stilpo, after his country was captured and his children and his
wife lost, as he emerged from the general desolation alone and yet
happy, spoke as follows to Demetrius , called _Sacker of Cities_
because of the destruction he brought upon them, in answer to the
question whether he had lost anything: "I have all my goods with me!"
— Seneca, _ Epistles_, 9.18.
This story was an inspiration for Friedrich Klinger 's Sturm und
Drang play _
Stilpound seine Kinder_ (_
Stilpoand his Children_)
written in 1777 and published in 1780.
A one-page fragment or paraphrase from a work concerning exile is
preserved in the writings of Teles of
Megara, a 3rd-century BC Cynic
. In this fragment,
Stilpodivides the good into three parts: goods of
the soul, goods of the body, and external goods. He then demonstrates
that exile does not deprive a person of any of these three goods.
* ^ _Die Schedelsche Weltchronik, 083_
* ^ Dorandi 1999 , p. 52.
* ^ Laërtius 1925 , § 113; Suda, _Stilpo_
* ^ Laërtius 1925 , § 113.
* ^ Suda, _Stilpo_; cf. Diogenes Laërtius, vi. 89
* ^ Laërtius 1925 , § 115; Plutarch, _Demetr._ c. 9, etc.
* ^ Plutarch, _Colot._ c. 22
* ^ Cicero, _de Fato_, c. 5
* ^ Laërtius 1925 , § 113, comp. 119, 120.
* ^ Laërtius 1925 , § 113.
* ^ Athenaeus, xiii. 596e; Laërtius 1925 , § 114.
* ^ Laërtius 1925 , § 114; comp. Plutarch, _de tranqu. animi,_ c.
Cicero1878 , p. 268.
* ^ Cicero, _De Fato_, 5
* ^ _A_ _B_ Laërtius 1925 , § 119.
* ^ Simplicius, in _Phys. Ausc._ f. 26, quoted by
Hegel1805 , p.
* ^ Plutarch, _adv. Colot._ 22, 23
* ^ Laërtius 1925 , § 118.
* ^ Seneca, _Epistles,_ ix. 1, 18; comp.
animi_, 6, Laërtius 1925 , § 114.
* ^ Garland 1997 , p. 470.
* ^ Teles of
Megara1977 , p. 21.
Cicero, Marcus Tullius(1878), _The treatises of M.T. Cicero: On
the nature of the gods; On divination; On fate; On the republic; On
the laws; and On standing for the consulship_, translated by Yonge,
Charles Duke , London: G. Bell, p. 268
* Dorandi, Tiziano (1999), "Chapter 2: Chronology", in Algra,
Keimpe; et al., _The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy_,
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 52, ISBN 9780521250283
Hegel(1805), "The Philosophy of the Socratics", _Lectures on the
History of Philosophy _
* _ Laërtius, Diogenes (1925), "Socrates, with predecessors and
Lives of the Eminent Philosophers
Lives of the Eminent Philosophers_, 1:2,
translated by Hicks, Robert Drew (Two volume ed.), Loeb Classical
* Garland, Mary (1997), _The Oxford companion to German literature_,
Oxford University Press, p. 470
* Teles of
Megara(1977), "_Discourse_ 3, "On Exile"", in O'Neil,
Edward, _Teles the Cynic Teacher_, Scholars Press, p. 21
* _ This article incorporates text from a publication now in the
public domain : Smith, William , ed. (1870), "article name needed",
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology