1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Eudoxus of Cnidus

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EUDOXUS, of Cnidus, Greek savant, flourished about the middle of the 4th century B.C. It is chiefly as an astronomer that his name has come down to us (see Astronomy and Zodiac). From a life by Diogenes Laërtius, we learn that he studied at Athens under Plato, but, being dismissed, passed over into Egypt, where he remained for sixteen months with the priests of Heliopolis. He then taught physics in Cyzicus and the Propontis, and subsequently, accompanied by a number of pupils, went to Athens. Towards the end of his life he returned to his native place, where he died. Strabo states that he discovered that the solar year is longer than 365 days by 6 hours; Vitruvius that he invented a sun-dial. The Phaenomena of Aratus is a poetical account of the astronomical observations of Eudoxus. Several works have been attributed to him, but they are all lost; some fragments are preserved in the extant Τῶν Ἀράτου καὶ Εὐδόξου φαινομένων ἐξηγήσεωμ βιβλία τρία of the astronomer Hipparchus (ed. C. Manitius, 1894). According to Aristotle (Ethics x. 2), Eudoxus held that pleasure was the chief good, because (1) all beings sought it and endeavoured to escape its contrary, pain; (2) it is an end in itself, not a relative good. Aristotle, who speaks highly of the sincerity of Eudoxus’s convictions, while giving a qualified approval to his arguments, considers him wrong in not distinguishing the different kinds of pleasure and in making pleasure the summum bonum.

See J. A. Letronne, Sur les écrites et les travaux d’Eudoxe de Cnide, d’après L. Ideler (1841); G. V. Schiaparelli, Le Sfere omocentriche di Eudosso (Milan, 1876); T. H. Martin in Académie des inscriptions, 3rd of October, 1879; article in Ersch and Gruber’s Allgemeine Encyklopädie.