Post the 'serious' stuff here. Little (that is, virtually nothing) survived from the ancient Cynics, what we know about them mostly comes from second-hand sources like Lucian. But other philosophers and scholars have commented on Cynicism, and this thread is supposed to be a compendium of what these people had to say (good or bad, right or wrong) on Anacharsis, Antisthenes, Diogenes, and their epigones.

Short comments are welcome, otherwise start a new discussion and link to it here, to keep the thread browsable and useful. Think about it more like a library than an agora.

Tags: Cynicism, exegesis, philosophy

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Replies to This Discussion

The Cynic Philosophers and their techniques - Michel Foucault, 1983, Berkeley

Lecture on Cynic parrhesiastic practices. With a strong focus on 'provocative dialogue'.
Dogs' Tales, Representations of Ancient Cynicism in French Renaissance Texts - essay, by Hugh Roberts, 2006. Browseable on Google Books.

This one is what prompted me to start this thread. I didn't finish it yet, but it's quite interesting so far.
OK, serious time. These are from my collection.

The current scholar at the top of the dung heap is Luis E. Navia, author of the only comprehensive study on the D man, which includes a complete translation of Diogenes Laertius' (unrelated) entry for him in Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers -

Diogenes The Cynic: The War Against The World

Navia has also published some other Cynic specific tomes that are on my next Amazon bulk order.

Also highly recommended as a general Cynic history from roots to present -

Cynics (Ancient Philosophies) - William Desmond.

Far heavier and more comprehensive, by numerous authors -

The Cynics: The Cynic Movement in Antiquity and Its Legacy (Hellenistic Culture and Society)

And for contemporary Cynicism and a crusade to rescue it from the negativity it has been slandered with, an excellent tour de force from Peter Sloterdijk -

Critique of Cynical Reason
Fletch, good list and recommendations, thanks.
Not exactly best sellers - which means they, very likely, require the effort of critical thinking and a reading comprehension level above the 9th grade.
Just checked on Critigue of Cynical Reason - 88 bucks plus for used -- Yike!
One relatiively modern Cynic, whose complete writings are free online are those of Robert Ingersol. The introduction to his essay on the bible, written in 1894, I have always thought to be a short and succinct critique.
Somebody ought to tell the truth about the Bible. The preachers dare not, because they would be driven from their pulpits. Professors in colleges dare not, because they would lose their salaries. Politicians dare not. They would be defeated. Editors dare not. They would lose subscribers. Merchants dare not, because they might lose customers. Men of fashion dare not, fearing that they would lose caste. Even clerks dare not, because they might be discharged. And so I thought I would do it myself.

There are many millions of people who believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God -- millions who think that this book is staff and guide, counselor and consoler; that it fills the present with peace and the future with hope -- millions who believe that it is the fountain of law, Justice and mercy, and that to its wise and benign teachings the world is indebted for its liberty, wealth and civilization -- millions who imagine that this book is a revelation from the wisdom and love of God to the brain and heart of man -- millions who regard this book as a torch that conquers the darkness of death, and pours its radiance on another world -- a world without a tear.

They forget its ignorance and savagery, its hatred of liberty, its religious persecution; they remember heaven, but they forget the dungeon of eternal pain. They forget that it imprisons the brain and corrupts the heart. They forget that it is the enemy of intellectual freedom. Liberty is my religion. Liberty of hand and brain -- of thought and labor, liberty is a word hated by kings -- loathed by popes. It is a word that shatters thrones and altars -- that leaves the crowned without subjects, and the outstretched hand of superstition without alms. Liberty is the blossom and fruit of justice -- the perfume of mercy. Liberty is the seed and soil, the air and light, the dew and rain of progress, love and joy.



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