Cynics has 77 ratings and 13 reviews. Leo said: Very good introduction to Cynicism (of the ancient kind, a school of philosophy having very little to do. William Desmond, Cynics, Acumen, , pp, $ (pbk), ISBN Reviewed by John Moles, Newcastle University. Far from being pessimistic or nihilistic, as modern uses of the term “cynic” suggest, the ancient Cynics were astonishingly optimistic regarding human nature.

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The brilliant satirist, Lucian of Samosata, admired Diogenes as well as Menippus of Gadara while despising contemporaries.

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Diogenes’ attitude to worldly rulers; his practical response to them; his cgnics, bravery and culture of nature; Alexander’s knowledge of contemporary philosophers; and Onesicritus ‘ portrayal of Diogenes and of Diogenes’ role in his portrayal of Alexander.

The diachronic survey, however, moves back and forth from practicing Cynics, literary sources, admirers, and critics. Lucian’s ‘digging-up’ of ‘ Bion ‘ 61; Bis. They believed that if one simplified one’s life–giving up all unnecessary possessions, desires, and ideas–and lived in the moment as much as possible, one could regain one’s natural goodness and happiness.

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Lists with This Book. On the question of Diogenes’ writings, Desmond begins To my mind, Desmond and elsewhere over-emphasizes Cynic ‘opportunism’. Yet despite these limitations the book is a treasure trove of information on the various ways the Cynics and the idea of Cynicism have appeared in history and literature from antiquity to contemporary times.

Far from being pessimistic or nihilistic, as modern uses of the term “cynic” suggest, the ancient Cynics were astonishingly optimistic regarding human nature. Onesicritus’s Alexander history was not formally a ‘biography’ Some considered Antisthenes the first “Cynic” in declaring that poverty was wealth, that labor was good, and that luxury was a curse.


Cynics by William Desmond – Paperback – University of California Press

It was a life exemplified most famously by the eccentric Diogenes, nicknamed “the Dog,” and his followers, called dog-philosophers, kunikoi, or Cynics. Desmond’s discussion of Onesicritus ‘ account of his visit to cjnics Gymnosophists is under-developed, nor does he desond the sheer chutzpah of Onesicritus ‘ ‘ cynicisation ‘ of Alexander on both: They seemed fixated on pointing out the foibles of elitism and conspicuous consumption as foolish wastes of efforts in trying to impress others, when one should be equal and love all of mankind.

Wells Lucas Santo rated it it was amazing Sep 23, A life according to nature. You can remove the unavailable item s now or we’ll automatically remove it at Checkout. While Desmond rightly stresses the schizophrenic appearance of Antisthenes’ thought, ‘the ancient tradition’ that ‘Antisthenes was the first Cynic’, though dominantis not ‘unanimous’ However, while ancient Cynics were admired, contemporary Cynics were often seen as hypocritical fakes.

The pages on claimed relationships between Cynicism and early Christianity should have ‘main-texted’ diatribe and Cynic influence on Paul convincingly expounded by Malherbe, referenced on Far from being pessimistic or nihilistic, as modern uses of the desmonf “cynic” suggest, the ancient Cynics were astonishingly optimistic regarding human nature.

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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 centuries—from Cynicd himself to Nietzsche and beyond. In order to avoid such sticky questions, the author wisely treats Cynicism “as a body of loosely related ideas that, as a whole, remain fairly constant from Diogenes to Chnics 6. The claim that modern day cynics must find a way to return to the cheekiness of the classics sits well with me, as well as the core cynical ideal of living naturally.


He then proceeds to examine Stoicism, Christianity, Renaissance and Enlightenment thinkers, and a few contemporary voices.

Furthermore, the distinction between Epicurean, Stoic, and Cynic versions of the nature argument could have been analyzed more productively. Some comments on d etail s in Chapter 6: Although the Cynic may appear hostile toward the masses, beneath the negativity and criticism lies a fundamental philanthropia. Jul 29, Erin Panjer rated it it was vynics.

Cynics Ancient Philosophies by William Desmond. To get to the point; cynics have no respect for custom, yet considering Prometheus act of enabling humans to bend the nature to their will and need a “crime” is one impacting cynic’ opinion.

In every age down to the present, its ideals of radical simplicity and freedom have alternately inspired and disturbed onlookers.

The third chapter examines how Cynic naturalism provides the philosophical underpinning for Cynic practices discussed in the previous chapter. But that was the intent. In fact, this well-attested ‘dog marriage’ perfectly enacts Diogenic sexology, as long ago demonstrated by RistStoic Philosophy 61 ff.

Desmond here 20 takes Aristotle’s ‘dog’ Rhet. Approaching Cynicism from a variety of thematic perspectives as well–their critique drsmond convention, praise of natural simplicity, advocacy of self-sufficiency, defiance of Fortune, and freedom–William Desmond offers a fascinating survey of a school of thought that has had a tremendous influence throughout history and is of continuing interest today.