Chapter

The Cynics

TERENCE IRWIN

in The Development of Ethics: Volume 1

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780198242673
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680519 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198242673.003.0004

Series: Development of Ethics

The Cynics

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The Cynic school had a long life, extending well into the Roman Empire. It appears to have included sharply different attitudes on central moral questions. The early founders of Cynicism, Antisthenes and Diogenes, seem to have denied that pleasure is a good, and to have maintained that virtue is sufficient for happiness. This side of Cynicism helps to explain why the Stoics trace their origins to Cynicism. Zeno the Stoic was a pupil of Crates the Cynic. The Stoic Ariston of Chios shows the continuing appeal of Cynicism for Stoics; he deviates from other Stoics in a markedly Cynic direction. However, the aspect of Cynicism that appeals to Stoics is only one side of later Cynicism; other aspects are independent of Stoicism, and even opposed to it. The most helpful approach to the Cynics begins from their connection with Socrates. Antisthenes appears in Xenophon's Memorabilia and Symposium, where he is one of Socrates' closest associates. He wrote a number of works on different virtues, overlapping in content with Plato's Socratic dialogues.

Keywords: Cynicism; Antisthenes; Diogenes; Zeno; Crates; Stoics; Cynics; Socrates; Plato

Chapter.  7364 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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