Philon or Philon the Megarian
2. The MEGARIAN or DIALECTICIAN, was a disciple of Diodorus Cronus, and a friend of Zenon, though older than the latter, if the reading in Diogenes Läertins (7.16) is correct.
In his Menexenus he mentioned the five daughters of his teacher (Clem. Alex. Strom.
iv. p. 528a. ed. Potter), and disputed with him respecting the idea of the possible, and the criteria of the truth of hypothetical propositions.
With reference to the first point Philon approximated to Aristotle, as he recognized that not only what is, or will be, is possible (as Diodorns maintained), but also what is in itself conformable to the particular purpose of the object in question, as of chaff to burn (κατὰ ψιλὴν λεγόμενον ἐπιτηδειότητα
; Alex. Aphrod. Nat. Qual.
1.14. Compare on the whole question J. Harris, in Upton's Arriani Dissertat. Epict.
2.19, ap. Schweighäser, vol. ii. p. 515, &c.) Diodorus had allowed the validity of hypothetical propositions only when the antecedent clause could never lead to an untrue conclusion, whereas Philon regarded those only as false which with a correct antecedent had an incorrect conclusion (Sext. Empir. ad v. Math.
8.113, &c. Hypotyp.
2.110, comp.Cic. Ac. 2.4
7, de Fato,
6). Both accordingly had sought for criteria for correct sequence in the members of hypothetical propositions, and each of them in a manner corresponding to what he maintained respecting the idea of the possible. Chrysippus attacked the assumption of each of them.
The Philon who is spoken of as an Athenian and a disciple of Pyrrhon, though ridiculed by Timon as a sophist, can hardly be different from Philon the dialectician (D. L. 9.67
). Hieronymus (Jov.
1) speaks of Philon the dialectician and the author of the Menexenus, as the instructor of Carneades, in contradiction to chronology, perhaps in order to indicate the sceptical direction of his doctrines.