Who is Antiphon?

Who is Antiphon?

December 13, 2020 Off By Felso

Greek sophist philosopher and mathematician.

He probably lived in Athens in the 5th century BC.

He tried to achieve quadrature of the circle by a method based on squaring regular polygons drawn inside a circle and increasing the edges of the polygon by two cards infinitely. The squared geometric shapes thus obtained are very close to a circle, but never a full circle.

Antiphon advocated a view similar to world citizenship. According to him, whether noble or not, all human beings are equal in birth. It is barbaric for people not to behave equally (Kranz, 1948: DK B44). Another remarkable feature of Antiphon is his views on the relationship between man and law. According to him, people should act according to the law when they are in the public environment, that is, in an area open to the control of the law. However, when man is alone, that is, not under the power and domination of the law, he must act according to the requirements of his own nature. The criterion here is to feel ashamed or not. According to Antiphon, situations that others do not know and do not cause problems with the legislator do not embarrass people. But any act contrary to natural law is embarrassing, even if no one knows about it.

Antiphon Prodikos, a late sophist, continues the doctrine of the equality of all human beings and states that every human being is the same in nature, that the differences are made by the laws, customs etc. By stating that he finds a source, he places the contradiction of nature-law (physis-nomos) at the center of his philosophy. From this point of view, he clearly states that there can be no difference in value between the Greeks and the barbarians (non-Greeks). Some fragments from his main work titled on the truth are as follows:

“We regard those who are the children of noble fathers and respect them. We neither respect nor respect those who do not come from a noble family. In our relations with each other, we thus act like barbarians. However, whether Greek or barbarian in nature, we are all created to be the same in everything. Obeying the mandatory laws of nature applies to everyone. Likewise, all this can be achieved by anyone, and in none of these things can one of us be distinguished from the other as Greek or barbarian. We all breathe with our mouth and nose; we all eat with our hands. “

“Justice is that it does not violate the law of the site of which a person is a citizen. If a person keeps the commands of nature high when he is not accompanied by witnesses and when he is alone, he will behave in a fair way. Because the orders of the laws are imposed on man artificially. Yet nature’s commands are compelling. again, the orders of the laws are decided by consent and agreement. However, the commands of nature are not a matter of consent and compliance, they are natural. “

“… If the people who obeyed the law do not know what the violator does, that person will be saved from shame and punishment. But what a person who violates any of the laws that has its source in nature is bad, even if it is not known by people, and this evil is not greater with their knowledge. Because the damage that occurs here is not a harm in terms of blood, but a harm in terms of reality … Most of the acts that the law determines as right (fair) are against nature … The things prohibited by the law are not more friendly or appropriate to nature than the things it orders. However, life and death belong to nature. Those who are beneficial to nature create life, and those harmful to nature produce death. However, what the laws determine as useful is a hindrance to nature, and what nature determines is free. “

Prepared by:  Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source:  Ömer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Department of Sociology First Class “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2., 3., 4. Class “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook