Term papers writing service


The life and work of diogenes of sinope

  • For Diogenes, each individual should either allow reason to guide her conduct, or, like an animal, she will need to be lead by a leash; reason guides one away from mistakes and toward the best way in which to live life;
  • On a voyage to Aegina he was captured by pirates and sold as a slave in Crete;
  • He is alleged variously to have held his breath; to have become ill from eating raw octopus; [36] or to have suffered an infected dog bite.

References and Further Reading 1. He was a citizen of Sinope who either fled or was exiled because of a problem involving the defacing of currency. Thanks to numismatic evidence, the adulteration of Sinopean coinage is one event about which there is certainty.

  1. He lived as a beggar in the streets of Athens, living semi-naked in a tub by the temple of Cybele, making a virtue of his extreme poverty. It is likely that he was exiled from Sinope for adulterating the coins his father minted with base metals, and made his way to Athens with a slave named Manes, who abandoned him shortly thereafter.
  2. Following the debacle in Sinope, Diogenes decided that the oracle meant that he should deface the political currency rather than actual coins.
  3. In fact, this was a pun.
  4. He disproves an argument that a person has horns by touching his forehead, and in a similar manner, counters the claim that there is no such thing as motion by walking around. According to Lives, Antisthenes did not accept pupils and tried to repel Diogenes, but he persisted.
  5. For example, it was contrary to Athenian convention to eat in the marketplace, and yet there he would eat for, as he explained when reproached, it was in the marketplace that he felt hungry.

The details of the defacing, though, are murkier: For example, one story claims that Diogenes was urged by the oracle at Delphi to adulterate the political currency, but misunderstood and defaced the state currency Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Book 6, Chapter 20. A second version tells of Diogenes traveling to Delphi and receiving this same oracle after he had already altered the currency, turning his crime into a calling.

An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

Once in Athens, Diogenes famously took a tub, or a pithos, for an abode. The lesson the mouse teaches is that he is capable of adapting himself to any circumstance.

Whichever version may be true and, of course, they all could be falsethe purpose is the same: Diogenes the slave is freer than his master, who he rightly convinces to submit to his obedience. The possible cause of death includes a voluntary demise by holding his breath, an illness brought on by eating raw octopus, or death by dog bite.

Given the embellished feel of each of these reports, it is more likely that he died of old age. Certain scholars have understood Diogenes as an extreme version of Socratic wisdom, offering a fascinating, if crude, moment in the history of ancient thought, but which ought not to be confused with the serious business of philosophy. Specifically, though, it stems from a repositioning of convention below nature and reason.

One guiding principle is that if an act is not shameful in private, that same act is not made shameful by being performed in public. For example, it was contrary to Athenian convention to eat in the marketplace, and yet there he would eat for, as he explained when reproached, it was in the marketplace that he felt hungry.

He is labeled mad for acting against convention, but Diogenes points out that it is the conventions which lack reason: In these philosophical fragments, reason clearly has a role to play. For Diogenes, each individual should either allow reason to guide her conduct, or, like an animal, she will need to be lead by a leash; reason guides one away from mistakes and toward the best way in which to live life.

Diogenes of Sinope

Diogenes, then, does not despise knowledge as such, but despises pretensions to knowledge that serve no purpose. He is especially scornful of sophisms. He disproves an argument that a person has horns by touching his forehead, and in a similar manner, counters the claim that there is no such thing as motion by walking around. He elsewhere disputes Platonic definitions and from this comes one of his more memorable actions: This would, however, be a mistake.

Diogenes is clearly contentious, but he is so for the sake of promoting reason and virtue. In the end, for a human to be in accord with nature is to be rational, for it is in the nature of a human being to act in accord with reason.

Diogenes has trouble finding such humans, and expresses his sentiments regarding his difficulty theatrically.

Navigation menu

For the Cynics, life in accord with reason is lived in accord with nature, and therefore life in accord with reason is greater than the bounds of convention and the polis. Furthermore, the Cynics claim that such a life is the life worth living. As a homeless and penniless exile, Diogenes experienced the greatest misfortunes of which the tragedians write, and yet he insisted that he lived the good life: References and Further Reading Billerbeck, Margarethe.

Die Kyniker in der modernen Forschung.

  1. He traveled to Athens and made it his life's goal to challenge established customs and values. As a philosopher, Diogenes was taken surprising seriously, despite his shock tactics.
  2. Learn More in these related Britannica articles. Lives reports, however, that Diogenes was very persuasive, and that his followers refused to leave him.
  3. Diogenes has trouble finding such humans, and expresses his sentiments regarding his difficulty theatrically.
  4. At one time, he poured scorn on Plato 's characterization of man as a featherless biped, by bringing a plucked chicken into the lecture room.
  5. Several other incidents of his unconventional behavior are found in his biographies, such as; Diogenes would always eat in the marketplace even though the Athenian customs advised against it. On several occasions when his provocations occasioned some kind of violence against him, he received the support of the Athenian people who recognized the injustice that had been done to him.

University of California Press, 1996. Cambridge University Press, 1937. Le Cynisme ancien et ses prolongements. Presses Universitaires de France, 1993.

Diogenes of Sinope (c. 404—323 B.C.E.)

Lives of Eminent Philosophers Vol. Harvard University Press, 1979.

  • Diogenes died in 323 BC;
  • Both the Stoics and the Epicureans later adopted a similar stance, that a person could easily satisfy his physical needs if he kept them simple;
  • Diogenes used dialogue and rhetoric mainly for the purpose of exposing the weaknesses of those with whom he was conversing.

The Hellenistic Philosophers, Volume 1 and Volume 2. Cambridge University Press, 1987. The Man in the Tub.