The Ancient Library

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though only that he may heap the more unsparing ridicule on his intellectual endowments (Pint. Dion. 17). And indeed he is not comparable either to Plato or to Aristotle, though the latter appears, among all his Academic antagonists, to have deemed Speusippus worthy of the honour of being refuted, and is even said to have purchased his books for three talents (Diog. Lae'rt. iv. 5 ; A. Gellius, Nod. Att. iii. 17). The report about his sudden fits of anger, his avarice, and his propensity to vo­luptuousness, are probably derived from a very impure source : Athenaeus (vii. p. 279, e., xii. p. 546, d.) and Diogenes Laertius (iv. 1,2; comp. Suid. s. v.; Tertullian, ApoJog. c. 46) can adduce as authority for them scarcely any thing more than some abuse in certain letters of the younger Diony-sius, who was banished by Dion, not without the co-operation of Speusippus. Having been selected by Plato as his successor in the office of president of the Academv, he was at the head of the school

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for only eight years (b. c. 347—339). He died, as it appears, of a lingering paralytic illness (Diog. Lae'rt. iv. 1, 3, 4). Another account, at variance with this, appears to rest upon a misunderstanding (I. c. iv. 4, ib. Interp.). From the list of his numerous dialogues and commentaries Diogenes Laertius gives us an extract, which contains only titles, which do not always admit of any conclusion as to their contents, and the scanty notices in other writers furnish us with little that can supply the void or throw any light upon them. Speusippus seems to have continued Plato's polemical attacks upon the hedonistic theory of Aristippus ('ApiVrtTrTros a', TLepl rjfiovris a', TLepl irXovrov a'), to have de­veloped somewhat further the ideas of justice and of the citizen, and the fundamental principles of legislation (Tltpl SiKaiocrvvrjs a', Tlo\trrjs a', lie/?! vofjLoQeffias}. He appears also to have discussed the idea of the philosopher, and philosophy, and to have treated of preceding philosophers (<$>i\6-ffoQos a', Tlepl (j)i\oao(f)(as a', or Tlepl fyiXocrotfxav', according to Menage's conjecture ; at any rate a book of that kind is quoted by Diogenes, in his life of Parmenides, ix. 23).

His efforts, however, were especially directed to the bringing together of those things that were similar as regards their philosophic treatment (Diog. Lae'rt. L c. 5, SiaXoyoi rcvv irepl rr]v irpayfjLareiav 6fJ.oi(t)V a.'—/, Aiaipeaeis /cat irpbs ra o/j.oia vnoQe-creis' comp. Athenaeus, vii. passim), and to the derivation therefrom, and lay ing down, of the ideas of genera and species (Ilepi yevwv ko\ tlfiwv irapa-Sery^uarcoz/ [ ? J ) : for in the sciences he had di­rected his attention especially to what they had in common, and to the mode in which they might be connected (Diodorus, ap. Diog. Lacrt., I. c. 2 ; Casaubon is hardly correct in restricting the word (.ia.Qrip.ara to the mathematical sciences). Thus he seems to have endeavoured to carry out still further the threefold division of philosophy into Dialectics, Ethics, and Physics, for which Plato had laid the foundation, without, however, losing sight of the mutual connection of those branches of philosophy. For he maintained that no one could arrive at fi complete definition, who did not know all the dif­ferences by which that which was to be defined was separated from the rest (Themist. in Arist. Anal. Post. vid. Schol. in Aristot. ed. Brandis, p. 248, a.). "With Plato, moreover, he distinguished between that which is the object of thought, and that which is the object of sensuous perception,


between the cognition of the reason and sensuous perception. He endeavoured, however, to show how the latter can be taken up and transformed into knowledge, by the assumption of a perception, which, by participation in rational truth (rrjs Kara rov \6yov aArjflefas), raises itself to the rank of knowledge. By this he seems to have understood an immediate, in the first instance aesthetic, mode of conception ; since he appealed, in support of his view, to the consideration that artistic skill has its foundation not in sensuous activity, but in an un­erring power of distinguishing between its objects, that is, in a rational perception of them (Sext. Emp. adv. Math. vii. 145, &c.). The idea of essence also he endeavoured to seize more distinctly by sepa­rating its kinds, the difference between which he considered would result from the difference be­tween the principia on which they are based. Thus he distinguished essences of numbers, of size, of soul, while Plato had referred them, as separate de-finitudes, to the ideal numbers (Arist. Met. vi. 2, 11, xii. 10, de Anima, i. 2 ; lamblich. ap. Stob. Eclog. i. 862). Nevertheless Speusippus also must have recognised something common in those dif­ferent kinds of essences, inasmuch as in the first place he set out from absolute unity, and regarded it as a formal principium which they had in com­mon (Arist. Met. vi. 2, p. 1028, xiv. 3, xiii. 9 ; comp. Ravaisson, Speusippi de Primis Rerum Prin-cipiis Placita, Paris, 1838), and in the next place he appears to have presupposed multitude and multi­formity as a common primary element in their com­position. But it is only the difficulties which led him to make this and similar deviations from the Platonic doctrine, of which we can get any clear idea, not the mode in which he thought he had obviated those difficulties by distinguishing dif­ferent kinds of principia. The criticism of Aris­totle, directed apparently against Speusippus, shows how little satisfied he was with the modification of the original Platonic doctrine. With this devia­tion from Plato's doctrine is connected another which takes a wider range. As the ultimate prin­cipium, Speusippus would not, with Plato, re­cognise the Good, but, with others, who doubtless were also Platonics, going back to the older Theo-logi, maintained that the primordium or principia of the universe were to be set down, indeed, as causes of the good and perfect, but were not the good and perfect itself, which must rather be regarded as the result of generated existence, or development, just as the seeds of plants and animals are not the fully formed plants or animals themselves (Arist. Met. xiv. 4, 5, xiii. 7, xii. 10, Eth. Nic. i. 4 ; Cic. de Nat. Deor. i. 13 ; Stob. Ed. i. p. 862 ; Theo-phrast. Met. 9). The ultimate primordium he de­signated, like Plato, as the absolutely one, but would not have it to be regarded as an existing entity, since all definitude can onlv be the result of de-


velopment (ib. xii. 7, ix. 8, xiv. 5 ; comp. Ra­vaisson, I.e. p. 11, &c.). When, however, with the Pythagoreans, he reckoned the One in the series of good things (Arist. Eth. Nic. i. 4), he probably conceived it only in its opposition to the manifold, and wished to indicate that it was from the One and not from the Manifold, that the good and perfect is to be derived (comp. Arist. Met. xiv. 4, xii. 10 ; Ravaisson, I.e. p. 15, &c.). Never­theless Speusippus seems to have attributed vit;sl activity to the primordial unity, as inseparably be­longing to it (Cic. de Nat. Deor. i. 13; comp.

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