The Info List - Antisthenes

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(/ænˈtɪsθɪniːz/;[1] Greek: Ἀντισθένης; c. 445 – c. 365 BC) was a Greek philosopher and a pupil of Socrates. Antisthenes
first learned rhetoric under Gorgias
before becoming an ardent disciple of Socrates. He adopted and developed the ethical side of Socrates' teachings, advocating an ascetic life lived in accordance with virtue. Later writers regarded him as the founder of Cynic philosophy.


1 Life 2 Philosophy

2.1 According to Diogenes
Laertius 2.2 Ethics 2.3 Physics 2.4 Logic 2.5 Philosophy of language

3 Antisthenes
and the Cynics 4 Notes 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links

Life[edit] Antisthenes
was born c. 445 BC and was the son of Antisthenes, an Athenian. His mother was a Thracian.[2] In his youth he fought at Tanagra (426 BC), and was a disciple first of Gorgias, and then of Socrates; so eager was he to hear the words of Socrates
that he used to walk daily from Peiraeus to Athens, and persuaded his friends to accompany him.[3] Eventually he was present at Socrates's death.[4] He never forgave his master's persecutors, and is said to have been instrumental in procuring their punishment.[5] He survived the Battle of Leuctra (371 BC), as he is reported to have compared the victory of the Thebans
to a set of schoolboys beating their master.[6] Although Eudokia Makrembolitissa
Eudokia Makrembolitissa
supposedly tells us that he died at the age of 70,[7] he was apparently still alive in 366 BC,[8] and he must have been nearer to 80 years old when he died at Athens, c. 365 BC. He is said to have lectured at the Cynosarges,[9] a gymnasium for the use of Athenians born of foreign mothers, near the temple of Heracles. Filled with enthusiasm for the Socratic idea of virtue, he founded a school of his own in the Cynosarges, where he attracted the poorer classes by the simplicity of his life and teaching. He wore a cloak and carried a staff and a wallet, and this costume became the uniform of his followers.[3] Diogenes Laërtius
Diogenes Laërtius
says that his works filled ten volumes, but of these, only fragments remain.[3] His favourite style seems to have been dialogues, some of them being vehement attacks on his contemporaries, as on Alcibiades
in the second of his two works entitled Cyrus, on Gorgias
in his Archelaus and on Plato
in his Satho.[10] His style was pure and elegant, and Theopompus even said that Plato
stole from him many of his thoughts.[11] Cicero, after reading some works by Antisthenes, found his works pleasing and called him "a man more intelligent than learned".[12] He possessed considerable powers of wit and sarcasm, and was fond of playing upon words; saying, for instance, that he would rather fall among crows (korakes) than flatterers (kolakes), for the one devour the dead, but the other the living.[13] Two declamations have survived, named Ajax and Odysseus, which are purely rhetorical. Antisthenes' nickname was the (Absolute) Dog (ἁπλοκύων, Diog. Laert.6.13) [14][15][16] Philosophy[edit]

Marble bust of Antisthenes
based on the same original (British Museum)

According to Diogenes
Laertius[edit] In his "Lives of the Eminent Philosophers," Diogenes
Laertius lists the following as the favorite themes of Antisthenes: "He would prove that virtue can be taught; and that nobility belongs to none other than the virtuous. And he held virtue to be sufficient in itself to ensure happiness, since it needed nothing else except the strength of a Socrates. And he maintained that virtue is an affair of deeds and does not need a store of words or learning; that the wise man is self-sufficing, for all the goods of others are his; that ill repute is a good thing and much the same as pain; that the wise man will be guided in his public acts not by the established laws but by the law of virtue; that he will also marry in order to have children from union with the handsomest women; furthermore that he will not disdain to love, for only the wise man knows who are worthy to be loved".[17] Ethics[edit] Antisthenes
was a pupil of Socrates, from whom he imbibed the fundamental ethical precept that virtue, not pleasure, is the end of existence. Everything that the wise person does, Antisthenes
said, conforms to perfect virtue,[18] and pleasure is not only unnecessary, but a positive evil. He is reported to have held pain[19] and even ill-repute (Greek: ἀδοξία)[20] to be blessings, and said that "I'd rather be mad than feel pleasure".[21] It is, however, probable that he did not consider all pleasure worthless, but only that which results from the gratification of sensual or artificial desires, for we find him praising the pleasures which spring "from out of one's soul,"[22] and the enjoyments of a wisely chosen friendship.[23] The supreme good he placed in a life lived according to virtue—virtue consisting in action, which when obtained is never lost, and exempts the wise person from error.[24] It is closely connected with reason, but to enable it to develop itself in action, and to be sufficient for happiness, it requires the aid of Socratic strength (Greek: Σωκρατικὴ ἱσχύς).[18] Physics[edit] His work on Natural Philosophy
Natural Philosophy
(the Physicus) contained a theory of the nature of the gods, in which he argued that there were many gods believed in by the people, but only one natural God.[25] He also said that God
resembles nothing on earth, and therefore could not be understood from any representation.[26] Logic[edit] In logic, Antisthenes
was troubled by the problem of universals. As a proper nominalist, he held that definition and predication are either false or tautological, since we can only say that every individual is what it is, and can give no more than a description of its qualities, e. g. that silver is like tin in colour.[27] Thus he disbelieved the Platonic system of Ideas. "A horse," said Antisthenes, "I can see, but horsehood I cannot see".[28] Definition is merely a circuitous method of stating an identity: "a tree is a vegetable growth" is logically no more than "a tree is a tree". Philosophy of language[edit] Antisthenes
apparently distinguished "a general object that can be aligned with the meaning of the utterance” from “a particular object of extensional reference." This "suggests that he makes a distinction between sense and reference."[29] The principal basis of this claim is a quotation in Alexander of Aphrodisias's “Comments on Aristotle's 'Topics'” with a three-way distinction:

the semantic medium, δι' ὧν λέγουσι an object external to the semantic medium, περὶ οὗ λέγουσιν the direct indication of a thing, σημαίνειν … τὸ …[30]

and the Cynics[edit]

Antisthenes, part of a fresco in the National University of Athens

In later times, Antisthenes
came to be seen as the founder of the Cynics, but it is by no means certain that he would have recognized the term. Aristotle, writing a generation later refers several times to Antisthenes[31] and his followers "the Antistheneans,"[27] but makes no reference to Cynicism.[32] There are many later tales about the infamous Cynic Diogenes of Sinope
Diogenes of Sinope
dogging Antisthenes' footsteps and becoming his faithful hound,[33] but it is by no means certain that the two men ever met. Some scholars, drawing on the discovery of defaced coins from Sinope dating from the period 350–340 BC, believe that Diogenes
only moved to Athens after the death of Antisthenes,[34] and it has been argued that the stories linking Antisthenes
to Diogenes
were invented by the Stoics
in a later period in order to provide a succession linking Socrates
to Zeno, via Antisthenes, Diogenes, and Crates.[35] These tales were important to the Stoics
for establishing a chain of teaching that ran from Socrates
to Zeno.[36] Others argue that the evidence from the coins is weak, and thus Diogenes
could have moved to Athens well before 340 BC.[37] It is also possible that Diogenes
visited Athens and Antisthenes
before his exile, and returned to Sinope.[34] Antisthenes
certainly adopted a rigorous ascetic lifestyle,[38] and he developed many of the principles of Cynic philosophy which became an inspiration for Diogenes
and later Cynics. It was said that he had laid the foundations of the city which they afterwards built.[39] Notes[edit]

^ Jones, Daniel; Roach, Peter James; Hartman, James; Setter, Jane, eds. (2006). Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (17th ed.). Cambridge UP. [page needed] ^ Suda, Antisthenes.; Laërtius 1925, § 1. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Antisthenes". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 146.  ^ Plato, Phaedo, 59b. ^ Laërtius 1925, § 9. ^ Plutarch, Lycurgus, 30. ^ Eudocia, Violarium, 96 ^ Diodorus Siculus, xv. 76.4 ^ Laërtius 1925, § 13. ^ Athenaeus, v. 220c-e ^ Athenaeus, xi. 508c-d ^ "Κῦρος δ᾽, ε᾽ mihi sic placuit ut cetera Antisthenis, hominis acuti magis quam eruditi". Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum, Book XII, Letter 38, section 2. In English translation: "Books four (δ᾽) and five (ε᾽) of Cyrus I found as pleasing as the others composed by Antisthenes, he is a man who is sharp rather than learned". ^ Laërtius 1925, § 4. ^ Prince, Susan (Dept. of Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder). Review of LE. Navia - Antisthenes
of Athens: Setting the World Aright. Retrieved 6 August 2017.  — Navia, Luis E. Antisthenes
of Athens: Setting the World Aright. Westport: Greenwood Press. pp. xii, 176. ISBN 0-313-31672-4.  ^ Magill, Frank N. (2003). The Ancient World: Dictionary of World Biography. Routledge. p. 89. ISBN 978-1-135-45740-2.  ^ Judge, Harry George; Blake, Robert (1988). World history. Oxford University Press. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-19-869135-8.  ^ Laërtius 1925, § 10. ^ a b Laërtius 1925, § 11. ^ Julian, Oration, 6.181b ^ Laërtius 1925, § 3, 7. ^ Laërtius 1925, § 3. ^ Xenophon, Symposium, iv. 41. ^ Laërtius 1925, § 12. ^ Laërtius 1925, § 11–12, 104–105. ^ Cicero, De Natura Deorum, i. 13. ^ Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, v. ^ a b Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1043b24 ^ Simplicius, in Arist. Cat. 208, 28 ^ Prince, Susan (2015). Antisthenes
of Athens: Texts, Translations, and Commentary. University of Michigan Press.  p. 20 ^ Prince 2015, pp. 518–522 (Antisthenes' literary remains: t. 153B.1). ^ Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1024b26; Rhetoric, 1407a9; Topics, 104b21; Politics, 1284a15 ^ Long 1996, page 32 ^ Laërtius 1925, § 6, 18, 21; Dio Chrysostom, Orations, viii. 1–4; Aelian, x. 16; Stobaeus, Florilegium, 13.19 ^ a b Long 1996, page 45 ^ Dudley 1937, pages 2-4 ^ Navia, Diogenes
the Cynic, page 100 ^ Navia, Diogenes
the Cynic, pages 34, 112-3 ^ Xenophon, Symposium, iv. 34–44. ^ Laërtius 1925, § 15.


Brancacci, Aldo. Oikeios logos. La filosofia del linguaggio di Antistene, Napoli: Bibliopolis, 1990 (fr. tr. Antisthène, Le discours propre, Paris, Vrin, 2005) Dudley, Donald R. (1937), A History of Cynicism from Diogenes
to the 6th Century A.D.. Cambridge  Laërtius, Diogenes
(1925). "The Cynics: Antisthenes". Lives of the Eminent Philosophers. 2:6. Translated by Hicks, Robert Drew (Two volume ed.). Loeb Classical Library. § 1–19.  Long, A. A. (1996), "The Socratic Tradition: Diogenes, Crates, and Hellenistic Ethics", in Bracht Branham, R.; Goulet-Caze Marie-Odile, The Cynics: The Cynic Movement in Antiquity and Its Legacy. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21645-8 Luis E. Navia, (2005), Diogenes
The Cynic: The War Against The World. Humanity Books. ISBN 1-59102-320-3 Prince, Susan (2015). Antisthenes
of Athens: Texts, Translations, and Commentary. University of Michigan Press. p. 20. 

Further reading[edit]

Branham, R. Bracht; Cazé, Marie-Odile Goulet, eds. (1996). The Cynics: The Cynic Movement in Antiquity and Its Legacy. Berkeley: University of California Press.  Fuentes González, Pedro Pablo (2013). En defensa del encuentro entre dos Perros, Antístenes y Diógenes: historia de una tensa amistad. Cuadernos de Filología Clásica: Estudios Griegos e Indoeuropeos. 23. pp. 225–267 (reprint in: V. Suvák [ed.], Antisthenica Cynica Socratica, Praha: Oikoumene, 2014, p. 11–71).  Guthrie, William Keith Chambers (1969). The Fifth-Century Enlightenment. A History of Greek Philosophy. 3. London: Cambridge University Press.  Navia, Luis E. (1996). Classical Cynicism: A Critical Study. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.  Navia, Luis E. (1995). The Philosophy of Cynicism An Annotated Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.  Prince, Susan (2015). Antisthenes
of Athens: Texts, Translations, and Commentary. University of Michigan Press.  Rankin, H. D. (1986). Anthisthenes Sokratikos. Amsterdam: A.M. Hakkert. ISBN 90-256-0896-5.  Rankin, H. D. (1983). Sophists, Socratics, and Cynics. London: Croom Helm.  Sayre, Farrand (1948). " Antisthenes
the Socratic". The Classical Journal. 43: 237–244. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Antisthenes.

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Antisthenes

"Antisthenes". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  Lives & Writings on the Cynics, directory of literary references to Ancient Cynics Xenophon, Symposium, Book IV

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 79142539 LCCN: n86119012 ISNI: 0000 0001 1030 089X GND: 118503456 SELIBR: 175569 SUDOC: 03494107X BNF: