The Ancient Library

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deservedly rejected as forgeries by Beiitley. (Dis­sertation on Phalaris9 <$£c. p. 104.) One of these is to Arete, and its spuriousness is proved, among other arguments, by the occurrence in it of the name of a city near Gyrene, Bepev'tKrj, which must have been given by the Macedonians, in whose dialect /3 stands for <£, so that the name is equiva­lent to ^epeviKifj., the victorious.

We shall now give a short view of the leading doctrines of the earlier Cyrenaic school in gene­ral, though it is not to be understood that the system was wholly or even chiefly drawn up by the elder Aristippus; but, as it is impossible from the loss of contemporary documents to separate the parts which belong to each of the Cyrenaic philosophers, it is better here to combine them all. From the fact pointed out by Hitter (Geschichte der Philosophic, vii. 3), that Aristotle chooses Eudoxus rather than Aristippus as the representative of the doctrine that Pleasure is the summumbonum (Eth. Nic. x. 2), it seems probable that but little of the Cyrenaic system is due to the founder of the school.*

The Cyrenaics despised Physics, and limited their inquiries to Ethics, though they included under that term a much wider range of science than can fairly be reckoned as belonging to it. So, too, Aristotle accuses Aristippus of neglecting mathe­matics, as a study not concerned with good and evil, which, he said, are the objects even of the carpenter and tanner. (Metapliys. ii. 2.) They divided Philosophy into five parts, viz. the study of (1) Objects of Desire and Aversion, (2) Feel­ings and Affections, (3) Actions, (4) Causes, (5) Proofs. Of these (4) is clearly connected with physics, and (5) with logic.

1. The first of the five divisions of science is the only one in which the Cyrenaic view is con­nected with the Socratic. Socrates considered happiness (i. e. the enjoyment of a well-ordered mind) to be the aim of all men, and Aristippus, taking up this position, pronounced pleasure the chief good, and pain the chief evil; in proof of which he referred to the natural feelings of men, children, and animals; but he wished the mind to preserve its authority in the midst of pleasure. Desire he could not admit into his system, as it subjects men to hope and fear: the reAos of hu­man life was momentary pleasure ([Aovoxpovos., jiie/jtKTj). For the Present only is ours, the Past is gone, and the Future uncertain ; present happiness therefore is to be sought, and not eu5at/uoz'ia, which is only the sum of a number of happy states, just as he considered life in general the sum of particular states of the soul. In this point the Cyrenaics were opposed to the Epicureans. All pleasures were held equal, though they might ad­mit of a difference in the degree of their purity. So that a man ought never to covet more than he possesses, and should never allow himself to be overcome by sensual enjoyment. It is plain that, even with these concessions, the Cyrenaic system destroys all moral unity, by proposing to a man as many separate re\r] as his life contains moments.

2. The next point is to determine what is plea-

* Hitter believes that Aristippus is hinted at (Eth. Nic. x. 6), where Aristotle refutes the opi­nion, that happiness consists in amusement, and speaks of persons holding such a dogma in order to recommend themselves to the favour of tyrants.



sure and what pain. Both are positive, «. e. plea­sure is not the gratification of a want, nor does the absence of pleasure equal pain. The absence of either is a mere negative inactive state, and both pleasure and pain are motions of the soul (& Kivtfcrei). Pain was denned to be a violent, plea­sure a moderate motion,—the first being compared to the sea in a storm, the second to the sea under a light breeze, the intermediate state of no-pleasure and no-pain to a calm—a simile not quite apposite, since a calm is not the middle state between a storm and a gentle breeze. In this denial of pleasure as a state of rest, we find Aristippus again opposed to Epicurus.

3. Actions are in themselves, morally indifferent, the only question for us to consider being their result; and law and custom are the only authori­ties which make an action good or bad. This monstrous dogma was a little qualified by the statement, that the advantages of injustice are slight; but we cannot agree with Brucker (Hist. Grit. ii. 2), that it is not clear whether the Cyre­naics meant the law of nature or of men. For Laertius says expressly, 6 cnrouScuos ouSev aroirov Trpd^et 5id tus eTn/cei/xeras ^rj^las Kal 5o£as, and to suppose a law of nature would be to destroy the whole Cyrenaic system. Whatever conduces to pleasure, is virtue—a definition which of course includes bodily exercise; but they seem to have conceded to Socrates, that the mind has the great­est share in virtue. We are told that they pre­ferred bodily to mental pleasure; but this state­ment must be qualified, as they did not even confine their pleasures to selfish gratification, but admitted the welfare of the state as a legitimate source of happiness, and bodily pleasure itself they valued for the sake of the mental state resulting from it.

4. There is no universality in human concep­tions ; the senses are the only avenues of know­ledge, and even these admit a very limited range of information. For the Cyrenaics said, that men could agree neither in judgments nor notions, in nothing, in fact, but names. We have all certain sensations, which we call white or siueet; but whether the sensation which A calls white is similar to that which B calls by that name, we cannot tell; for by the common term white every man denotes a distinct object. Of the causes which produce these sensations we are quite igno­rant ; and from all this we come to the doctrine of modern philological metaphysics, that truth is what each man troweth. All states of mind are motions; nothing exists but states of mind, and they are not the same to all men. True wisdom consists therefore in transforming disagreeable into agreeable sensations.

5. As to the Cyrenaic doctrine of proofs, no evidence remains.

In many of these opinions we recognize the happy, careless, selfish disposition which charac­terized their author; and the system resembles in most points those of Heracleitus and Protagoras, as given in Plato's Theaetetus. The doctrines that a subject only knows objects through the prism of the impression which he receives, and that man is the measure of all things, are stated or implied in the Cyrenaic system, and lead at once to the consequence, that what we call reality is appearance; so that the whole fabric of human knowledge becomes a fantastic picture. The prin­ciple on which all this rests, viz. that knowledge

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