Cynics (Ancient Philosophies)
Cynics (Ancient Philosophies)
University of California Press

Cynics (Ancient Philosophies)

  • Publish Date: 2008-10-28
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: William Desmond;Steven Gerrard

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Far from being pessimistic or nihilistic, as modern uses of the term cynic suggest, the ancient Cynics were astonishingly optimistic regarding human nature. They believed that if one simplified one's lifegiving up all unnecessary possessions, desires, and ideasand lived in the moment as much as possible, one could regain one's natural goodness and happiness. It was a life exemplified most famously by the eccentric Diogenes, nicknamed the Dog, and his followers, called dog-philosophers, kunikoi, or Cynics. Rebellious, self-willed, and ornery but also witty and imaginative, these dog-philosophers are some of the most colorful personalities from antiquity. This engaging introduction to Cynicism considers both the fragmentary ancient evidence on the Cynics and the historical interpretations that have shaped the philosophy over the course of eight centuriesfrom Diogenes himself to Nietzsche and beyond. Approaching Cynicism from a variety of thematic perspectives as welltheir critique of convention, praise of natural simplicity, advocacy of self-sufficiency, defiance of Fortune, and freedomWilliam Desmond offers a fascinating survey of a school of thought that has had a tremendous influence throughout history and is of continuing interest today.

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