Like the Cynics and the Cyrenaics, Euclides started from the Socratic principle that virtue is knowledge.
As a disciple of the Cynics he must have started.
The extreme nominalism of some of the Cynics also, who denied the possibility of any but identical judgments, must be similarly regarded as a solvent of knowledge.
The leading earlier Cynics were Antisthenes, Diogenes of Sinope, Crates of Thebes, and Zeno; in the later Roman period, the chief names are Demetrius (the friend of Seneca), Oenomaus and Demonax.
Nor is it unjust to infer that the sense of opposition provoked some of the Cynics to an overweening display of superiority.
It is probable that these later Cynics adapted themselves somewhat to the times in which they lived and avoided the crude extravagance of Diogenes and others.
See also Eleatic School; Cynics; Stoics; and, for the connexion between the Megarians and the Eretrians, Menedemus and Phaedo.
Thus, in the end, Aristippus, the founder of ' the purest hedonism in the history of thought, comes very near not only to the Cynics, but to the more cultured hedonism of Epicurus and modern thinkers.
We saw that Socrates, while not claiming to have found the abstract theory of good or wise conduct, practically understood by it the faithful performance of customary duties, maintaining always that his own happiness was therewith bound up. The Cynics more boldly discarded both pleasure and mere custom as alike irrational; but in so doing they left the freed reason with no definite aim but its own freedom.
To have no positive reply but "of the good"; but the Cynics do not seem to have made any serious effort to escape from this absurdity.
The intellectual descent of its ethical doctrines is principally to be traced to Socrates through the Cynics, though an important element in them seems attributable to the school that inherited the " Academy " of Plato.
It is true that the Cynics were more concerned to emphasize the negative side of the sage's well-being, while the Stoics brought into more prominence its positive side.
Both Cynics and Stoics agreed that the most important part of it was the knowledge that the sole good of man lay in this knowledge or wisdom Stoicism.
The Cynics made no attempt to solve this difficulty; they were content to mean by virtue what any plain man meant by it, except in so far as their sense of independence led them to reject certain received precepts and prejudices.
Now, when without qualification he affirmed that the unlike thing cannot be like, nor the like thing unlike, he was on the high road to the doctrine maintained three-quarters of a century later by the Cynics, that no predication which is not identical is legitimate.
Cynics view this as the rich paying off the poor to keep them from revolting.
These payments, the cynics would argue, bribe the poor to back the system.
For his philosophy see Cynics, and for his pupils, Diogenes and Crates, see articles under these headings.
Here he attached himself in succession to the Academy, the Cynics, the Cyrenaics and the Peripatetics.
Intellectually in agreement with the Megarian dialectic, he followed the practical ethics of the Cynics both in theory and in practice.
Pointing out that the sophists of that dialogue " profess Eis ap€riffs E7rt,u XELav 7rporpNiaL by means of dialogue," that ' they challenge the interlocutor inr w Xoyov," that " their examples are drawn from common objects and vulgar trades," that " they maintain positions that we know to have been held by Megarians and Cynics," he infers that " what we have here presented to us as ' sophistic ' is neither more nor less than a caricature of the Megarian logic "; and further, on the ground that " the whole conception of Socrates and his effect on his contemporaries, as all authorities combine to represent it, requires us to assume that his manner of discourse was quite novel, that no one before had systematically attempted to show men their ignorance of what they believed themselves to know," he is " disposed to think that the art of disputation which is ascribed to sophists in the Euthydemus and the Sophistes (and exhaustively analysed by Aristotle in the HEpi originated entirely with Socrates, and that he is altogether responsible for the form at least of this second species of sophistic."
That Plato was not careful to distinguish the Megarians and the Cynics from the eristical sophists, and that the disputants of the 4th century affected some of the mannerisms of the greatest disputant of the 5th century, he willingly concedes.
But he cannot allow either that the Megarians and the Cynics were the only eristics, or that eristical sophistry began with Socrates.
For older thinkers like Plato and Aristotle the perfect life was that of the citizen and householder; but the Cynics were individualists, citizens of the world without loyalty or respect for the ancient city state, the decay of which was coincident with their rise.
Zeno visited all the schools in turn, but seems to have attached himself definitely to the Cynics;, as a Cynic he composed at least one of his more important works, " the much admired Republic," which we know to have been later on a stumbling-block to the school.
Thus, quite apart from the general similarity of their ethical doctrine, the Cynics were materialists; they were also nominalists, and combated the Platonic ideas; in their theory.
It was left for Cleanthes to discover this motive cause in a conception familiar to Zeno, as to the Cynics before him, but restricted to the region of ethics - the conception of tension or effort.
The soul of the sage, thought the Cynics, should be strained and braced for judgment and action; his first need is firmness (Ebrovia) and Socratic strength.
Now, however effective against Plato's contemporary Cynics or Atomists, the reasoning is thrown away upon the Stoics, who take boldly the one horn of this dilemma.
Socrates had rightly said that Virtue is Knowledge, but he had not definitely shown in what this knowledge consists, nor had his immediate successors, the Cynics, made any serious attempt to solve the difficulty.
Doubtless, at the first founding of the school Zeno himself and Zeno's pupils were inspired with this hope; they emulated the Cynics Antisthenes and Diogenes, who never shrank out of modesty from the name and its responsibilities.
2 Thus the gulf between Stoicism and the later Cynics, who were persistently hostile to culture, could not fail to be widened.