Potamo of Alexandria and the Emergence of Eclecticism in by Myrto Hatzimichali

By Myrto Hatzimichali

Eclecticism is an idea accepted within the historical past of historical philosophy to explain the highbrow stance of numerous thinkers corresponding to Plutarch, Cicero and Seneca. during this booklet the historic and interpretative difficulties linked to eclecticism are for the 1st time approached from the viewpoint of the single self-described eclectic thinker from antiquity, Potamo of Alexandria. The facts is tested intimately almost about the philosophical and wider highbrow history of the interval. Potamo's perspectives are put within the context of key debates on the vanguard of past due Hellenistic philosophical job to which he contributed, resembling the criterion of fact, the 1st rules in physics, the ethical finish and the translation of Aristotle's esoteric works. The emergence of eclecticism is therefore handled in reference to the main shift in philosophical pursuits and techniques that marked the passage from Hellenistic to Imperial philosophy.

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We are not told anything about the exact role and degree of participation of Aristus, Aristo and Dio in the Alexandrian debate between Antiochus and Heraclitus. Other information on them is not extensive either. From Philodemus’ Syntaxis we learn that Aristus continued his brother’s school (see below). Aristus seems to have been a good-natured and able man who took up his brother’s teachings without much adventure or originality. A passage at Tusc. 21–2, where the view that there are good things besides virtue is ascribed to both Aristus and Antiochus, suggests that Aristus held and defended his brother’s positions; in this context, Cicero is reminiscing about a debate in Athens where Aristus reproduced ideas found in Antiochus’ writings.

L. 37 and 58). L. 111–12; cf. 115; Suda s 1114). The Epicurean Colotes addressed a philosophical treatise to Ptolemy Philadelphus (Plu. Col. 1107E), but it is not clear whether he 1 See Fraser 1972; El-Abbadi 1990; Erskine 1995. 25 26 Alexandria in the first century bc had any particular Alexandrian connections or whether this was in compliment for Ptolemy’s support of Athens during the Chremonidean war in the third century bc. L. 185, 177). All these passages speak of special invitations from the Ptolemies, aiming to bring to Alexandria philosophers that were already established elsewhere.

Cicero gives a fairly clear picture of the circumstances of these discussions in the Egyptian capital: Antiochus and Heraclitus were engaged in earnest debate, Heraclitus arguing against Antiochus and Antiochus against the Academics (Heraclitum studiose audirem contra Antiochum disserentem et item Antiochum contra Academicos, Luc. 12). Presumably these arguments were more animated than their exchanges before the arrival of Philo’s books – the leniter of Luc. 11 does not apply any more. In the context of an inquiry into philosophical activity in Alexandria, the most pressing questions concern the setting and audience of these debates, in order to estimate whether there could have been any impact of this Academic controversy upon a wider circle of locals.

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