Philosopher (450 BC – 380 BC)
Euclid was a philosopher from Megara, a student of Socrates and founder of the Megarean School of Philosophy. His work, although all of it lost, was profoundly influenced by Socratic and Eleatic philosophy and exerted important influence in the world of philosophy itself there after, most notably ethics of biology.
Euclid was one of Socrates’ most loyal students. After the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War Megara and Athens became rivals. As a result, in order to avoid being caught, Euclid would dress as a woman and go to Athens to listen to Socrates’ teachings. Euclid was one of the students who were present in Socrates’ death. Afterwards, Euclid became a student and close friend of Plato.
Euclid’s philosophy was a combination of Eleatic philosophy and the teachings of Socrates and Plato. He wrote 6 books, presumably similar in structure to Plato’s dialogues. According to Euclid the Being is one. Anything that different from the Being does not exist. Diogenes Laertius wrote that Euclid identified the Being as Socrates’ and Plato’s Agathon (Good). For him, anything that constituted an antithesis to the Good/Being did not exist. An example of this would be Evil. Furthermore, all motion and degeneration are non-existent. This ideology corresponds to the contemporary ethics of biology as well as Darwinism, according to which ethical is considered that which contributes to the integration of existence. In biological ethics, whatever promotes existence and living is good, while whatever harms it is evil.
Logic was another field with which Euclid was involved. He was characterized for his rigidity and his insistence on logical facts to prove a statement. Euclid proposed to always adhere to logical facts and to never overcome them with irrational generalizations.
Like most philosophers, Euclid was not without criticism. Disputes were one of the main teaching methods employed in the dialogues of his philosophical school and as such, he was accused of having spread eristic dialectic to the Megareans. These dialogues, as a result, would often take a more vehement tone. Nevertheless, Euclid is credited to have been an influential philosopher, revered by many for his ethos and dignity of his character.
- Euclides. Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosphy. Iep.utm.edu.com. Web. August 28, 2018.
- “Euclides of Megara”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens: 1946. Print.
- Pleures, Konstantinos. Greek Philosophers. Hilektron Publications: Athens, 2013. Print.