Zeno of Sidon

Zeno of Sidon

Zeno of Sidon was an Epicurean of the 1st century BC. He was a contemporary of Cicero, who heard him when at Athens.Cicero, "de Natura Deorum", i. 21.] Cicero, "Tusculan Disputations", iii. 17.]

He was sometimes termed the "leading Epicurean" ( _la. Coryphaeus Epicureorum). Cicero states that Zeno was contemptuous of other philosophers, and even called Socrates "the Attic Buffoon." [Cicero, "de Natura Deorum", i. 34.] He was a disciple of Apollodorus,Diogenes Laërtius, x.] and Cicero and Diogenes Laërtius both describe him as an accurate and polished thinker.

Zeno held that happiness is not merely dependent upon present enjoyment and prosperity, but also on a reasonable expectation of their continuance.

Zeno also studied the philosophy of mathematics based on the derivation of all knowledge from experience. He criticized Euclid, seeking to show that deductions from the fundamental principles ( _el. ἀρχαί) of geometry cannot, on their own, be proved:

[Some] admit the principles but deny that the propositions coming after the principles can be demonstrated unless they grant something that is not contained in the principles. This method of controversy was followed by Zeno of Sidon, who belonged to the school of Epicurus, and against whom Posidonius has written a whole book. [Proclus, "ad I. Euclid", iii.]

Among the charred papyrus remains at the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum, there is an "Epitome of Conduct and Character, from the Lectures of Zeno" written by Philodemus. It contains the essays "On Frank Criticism" [PHerc. 1471] and "On Anger". [PHerc. 182]


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