ZENO

, Eleates, or of Elea, one of the greatest philosophers among the Ancients, flourished about 500 years before the Christian æra. He was the disciple of Parmenides, and even, according to some writers, his adopted son. Aristotle asserts that he was the inventor of logic: but his logic seems to have been calculated and employed to perplex all things, and not to clear up any thing. For Zeno employed it only to dispute against all comers, and to silence his opponents, whether they argued right or wrong. Among many other subtleties and embarrassing arguments, he proposed some with regard to motion, denying that ther was any such thing in nature; and Aristotle, in the 6th book of his physics, has preserved some of them, which are extremely subtile, especially the famous argument named Achilles; which was to prove this proposition, that the swiftest animal could never overtake the slowest, as a greyhound a tortoise, if the latter set out a little fore the former: for suppose the tortoise to be 100 yards before the dog, and that this runs 100 times as fast as the other; then while the dog runs the first 100 yards, the tortoise runs <*>, and is therefore 1 yard before the dog; again, while the dog runs over this yard, the tortoise will run the 100th part of a yard, and will be so much before the dog; and again, while the dog runs over this 100th part of a yard, the tortoise will have got the 100th part of that 100th part before him; and so on continually, says he, the dog will always be some small part behind the tortoise. But the fallacy will soon be detected, by considering where the tortoise will be when the dog has run over 200 yards; for as the former can have run only two yards in the same time, and therefore must then be 98 yards behind the dog, he consequently must have overtaken and passed the tortoise. It has been said that, to prove to him, or some disciple of his, that there is such a thing as motion, Diogenes the Cynic rose up and walked over the floor.—Zeno shewed great courage in suffering pain; for having joined with others to endeavour to restore liberty to his country, which groaned under the oppression of a tyrant, and the enterprize being discovered, he supported with extraordinary firmness the sharpest tortures. It is even said that he had the courage to bite off his tongue, and spit it in the tyrant's face, for fear of being forced, by the violence of his torments, to discover his accomplices. Some say that he was pounded to death in a mortar.

Zeno

, a celebrated Greek philosopher, was born at Citium, in the Isle of Cyprus, and was the founder of the Stoics; a sect which had its name from that of a portico at Athens, where this philosopher chose to hold his discourses. He was cast upon that coast by shipwreck; and he ever after regarded this as a great happiness, praising the winds for having so happily driven him into the port of Piræum.—Zeno was the disciple of Crates, and had a great number of followers. He made the sovereign good to consist in dying in conformity to nature, guided by the dictates of right reason. He acknowledged but one God; and admitted an inevitable destiny over all events. His | servant taking advantage of this last opinion, cried, while he was beating him for dishonesty, “I was destined to steal;” to which Zeno replied, “Yes, and to be beaten too.” This philosopher used to say, “That if a wise man ought not to be in love, as some pretended, none would be more miserable than beautiful and virtuous women, since they would have none for their admirers but fools.” He also said, “That a part of knowledge consists in being ignorant of such things as ought not to be known: that a friend is another self: that a little matter gives perfection to a work, though perfection is not a little matter.” He compared those who spoke well and lived ill, to the money of Alexandria, which was beautiful, but composed of bad metal.—It is said that being hurt by a fall, he took that as a sign he was then to quit this life, and laid violent hands on himself, about 264 years before Christ.

Cleanthes, Crysippus, and the other successors of Zeno maintained, that with virtue we might be happy in the midst even of disgrace and the most dreadful torments. They admitted the existence of only one God, the soul of the world, which they considered as his body, and both together forming a perfect being. It is remarked that, of all the sects of the ancient philosophers, this was one of those which produced the greatest men.

We ought not to confound the two Zenos above mentioned, with

Zeno

, a celebrated Epicurean philosopher, born at Sidon, who had Cicero and Pomponius Atticus for his disciples, and who wrote a book against the mathematics, which, as well as that of Possidonius's refutation of it, is lost; nor with several other Zenos mentioned in history.

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Entry taken from A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary, by Charles Hutton, 1796.

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ZENITH
* ZENO
ZENSUS
ZETETICE
ZOCCO
ZODIAC
ZONE