Zeno

, called the Eleatic, to distinguish from the preceding, and 'from others, flourished about 463 B.C. He was a zealous friend of civil liberty, and is celebrated for his courageous and successful opposition to tyrants j but the inconsistency of the stories related by different writers concerning him, in a great measure destroys their credit. He chose to reside in his small native city of Elea, rather than at Athens, because it afforded freer scope to his independent and generous spirit, which could not easily submit to the restraints of authority. It is related that he vindicated the warmth with which he resented reproach, by saying, “If I were indifferent to censure, I should also be indifferent to praise.” The invention of the dialecticart has been improperly ascribed to Zeno; but there can be no doubt that this philosopher, and other metaphysical disputants in the Eleatic sect, employed much ingenuity and subtlety in exhibiting examples of most of the logical arts which were afterwards reduced to rule by Aristotle and others. | According to Aristotle, Zeno of Elea taught that nothing fcan be produced either from that which is similar or dissimilar; that there is only one being, and that is God; that this being is eternal, homogeneous, and spherical, neither finite nor infinite, neither quiescent nor moveable; % that there are many worlds; that there is in nature no vacuum; that all bodies are composed of four elements, heat and moisture, cold and dryness; and that the body of man is from the earth, and his soul an equal mixture of these four elements. He argued with great subtlety against the possibility of motion. If Seneca’s account of this philosopher deserves credit, he reached the highest point of scepticism, and denied the real existence of external objects. The truth is, that after all that has been advanced by different writers, it is impossible to determine whether Zeno understood the term one, metaphysically, logically, or physically; or whether he admitted or denied a nature properly divine. 1

1

Diog. Laert. Gen. Dict. Brucker.