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A History Of Cynicism by Dudley, Donald. Rare Free PDF book 1937

A History Of Cynicism by Dudley, Donald.  Free PDF book 1937
A History Of Cynicism by Dudley, Donald.

Review by MR. Andrew Cowan
Although it is about Cynicism it has informed my understanding of Stoicism greatly.

Although the Stoics generally revered much of Cynicism esp. Antisthenes, Diogenes of Sinope and, Crates; and Zeno seemed to have based much of Stoicism on the teachings of Crates, and the idea that Cynicism is a short cut to virtue! , there are also conflicts. And the Cynics, in particular, seem to see much of the physics and logic Studies of the Stoics as unnecessary to the main purpose of ethics as the way to live. Likewise the middle Stoics Panaetius, Posidonius seems to want to distance themselves from aspects of both Diogenes and Zeno’s ‘republics and ideas associated such as incest and cannibalism as being in accord with nature.
There also seemed to be two wings to the Stoic school at this time Panaetius vrs Apollodorus, the former wanting to cut links with the cynics and the latter seeing them as fundamental to Stoic philosophy!
It’s interesting that the Cynics seemed to find no difficulty in justifying living with virtue (ethics) without seeing a need for the physics and logic to justify it as the Stoics seemed to require. Indeed the Cynics thought much of Stoic studies were superfluous?
Cynicism, In fact, seems to be far more aimed at the life of the ordinary man and not so much at the elite circles of the other philosophies including Stoicism at that time!
An excerpt from the author:
Emperor Julian, speaking of the Cynic philosophy, says that ' it has been practiced in all ages ... it does not need any special study, one need only hearken to the god of Delphi when he enjoins the precepts " know thyself " and " alter the currency " '. In claiming the Delphic god as the founder of Cynicism Julian is guilty of an obvious anachronism; for Cynicism cannot be shown to antedate Diogenes of Sinope. But from the fourth century B.C. Cynicism endured to the last days of the ancient world; Cynics were common in the days of Augustine; they may have been known in the Empire of Byzantium. Long life is not of itself a criterion of worth; and^it cannot be denied that Cynicism survived when much of immeasurably greater intellectual value perished. To the student of ancient philosophy, there is in Cynicism scarcely more than a rudimentary and debased version of the ethics of Socrates, which exaggerates his austerity to a fanatic asceticism, hardens his irony to sardonic laughter at the follies of mankind, and affords no parallel to his genuine love of knowledge. Well, might Plato have said of the first and greatest Cynic, * That man is Socrates gone mad.' But to the student of social history, and of ancient thought as distinct from philosophy, there is much of interest in Cynicism. The Cynics are the most characteristically Greek expression of that view of the World as Vanity Fair, and the consequent rejection of all current values, and the desire to revert to a life based on the minimum of demands. It is a phenomenon to be found at several stages of Western civilization; at different periods the moving causes have been political or economic injustice, religious enthusiasm, or reaction from an over-developed urban civilization. * Vanity of Vanities, saith the preacher, all is Vanity * the author of Ecclesiastes was, like the Cynics, a product of the Hellenistic Age, a time when old standards had been discarded, and the individual was left to the mercy of capricious but irresistible forces. The Cynics were missionaries, and their message was/ that life could be lived on any terms the age could impose. It is particularly easy for the modern observer to see only the grotesque aspect of Cynicism, and to miss its real significance. This is partly due to the fact that Cynicism is usually presented to us in histories of Greek philosophy, where it forms an interlude of semi-comic relief between Socrates and Plato, or between Plato and the Stoics. But the most important reason is that the Cynics represented a standard with which we are unfamiliar that of the minimum. Through long exposure to statistics, we can readily grasp any conception that involves a norm the cost of living, the real wage of the working man, and so on but in the modern world, no one voluntarily lives, as did the Cynics, at subsistence level. Our civilization admittedly has the disadvantage that it may be completely shattered by war: but in other respects, we have far greater security than was known to the Hellenistic world. Slavery, in particular, is so remote from us that it is hard to comprehend how real a terror it was to the Greeks of that period. Yet one has only to consider how powerful were the pirates in the Mediterranean until their suppression by Pompeius, to see that any traveler by ship was running a real risk of being captured and sold into slavery. Exile has only recently been a lot of thousands of citizens of European States; in the Hellenistic world, it existed not only as a common form of punishment but also as one of the normal risks attendants on a high position in politics. Again, during this period several cities were completely destroyed, as Thebes by Alexander, Lebedos and Kolophon by Lysimachus, and most notable of all such catastrophes in the Greek world, Corinth by the Romans.

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philosophy books club: A History Of Cynicism by Dudley, Donald. Rare Free PDF book 1937
A History Of Cynicism by Dudley, Donald. Rare Free PDF book 1937
A History Of Cynicism by Dudley, Donald. Rare Free PDF book 1937
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