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The Cynic Philosophers: from Diogenes to Julian (Penguin Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Lucian , Diogenes Of Sinope , Julian , Robert Dobbin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

'Poverty does not consist in the want of money,' I answered, 'nor is begging to be deplored. Poverty consists in the desire to have everything, and through violent means if necessary'



From their founding in the fifth century BC and for over 800 years, the Cynic philosophers sought to cure humanity of greed and vice with their proposal of living simply. They guaranteed happiness to their adherents through freedom of speech, poverty, self-sufficiency and physical hardiness. In this fascinating and completely new collection of Cynic writing through the centuries, from Diogenes and Hipparchia, to Lucian and the Roman emperor Julian, the history and experiences of the Cynic philosophers are explored to the full.



Robert Dobbin's introduction examines the public image of the Cynics through the ages, as well as the philosophy's contradictions and how their views on women were centuries ahead of their time. This edition also includes notes on the text, chronology, glossary and suggested further reading.



Translated, edited and with an introduction by Robert Dobbin



Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Dobbin received a Ph.D. in classics from the University of California at Berkeley and taught history and classics at the college level. He is the translator and editor of Epictetus' Discourses and Selected Writings for Penguin Classics, as well as articles on Virgil, Plato, and Pythagoras. He works as a book editor in Northern California.


Product Details

  • File Size: 487 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Reprint edition (December 6, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009NXUQG8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,652 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An easy gateway to doghood... September 15, 2013
Format:Paperback
Do we delude ourselves about happiness? The Cynics thought so. Named after the self-reliant and loyal animal they respected, the dog, they preached to and sometimes even harangued people they saw as misguided. They dismissed wealth, fame, consumerism and prestige as illusions that actually make people miserable. They wanted to live unencumbered by material things and societal norms that, they thought, limited pure human speech, thought and action. Though they flourished centuries ago, in Greek and Roman times, their ideas still resonate, or perhaps revolt, today. Many, though not all, actually lived their philosophies, often to still shocking extremes. Few 21st century people would attempt to follow their example, though perhaps a reality show could lure those hungry for fame to try, which would of course be completely antithetical to the spirit of Cynicism. Anyone who did try, at least in the industrialized world, would likely find themselves incarcerated or institutionalized. As such, the modern world seems to have rendered the Cynic lifestyle unfeasible. But this doesn't mean the Cynics have nothing to teach our highly technological and hierarchical society. Perhaps we remain deluded about our own happiness and need the Cynics now more than ever?

Like most philosophies and ideals, Cynicism evolved over time. Though Diogenes of Sinope often stands as the movement's famous exemplar, many others answered the call and introduced variations and nuanced interpretations. Many studies of Cynicism exist, but reading the primary sources probably serves as the best introduction to this topic as the original texts remain accessible to general audiences.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to nature! April 24, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This little volume covers the major figures of the Cynic school of philosophy (the opposite of modern "cynicism") well and at a cost a true Cynic would approve of. It provides, probably, the only fresh translations into English in decades and includes the rare fragments of the philosopher Teles which are usually neglected. Anyone interested in the philosophy of the Cynics, a philosophy that endured for nearly 800 years, and which stressed simplicity and living in harmony with nature will find this intriguing, perhaps enlightening, Well done, by a serious scholar.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable, Challenging Book August 15, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm no philosopher or philosophy major, but I enjoy the history of ideas. I'm very grateful to the editors at Penguin for making this highly readable introduction to the Cynics available to general readers. The anecdotes and sayings, especially those of Diogenes and Bion, really make you believe you are getting to know not just a philosophical doctrine but very memorable characters, even if some of the stories are apocryphal. I found myself laughing aloud at some of these characters' observations and stories and sharing them with family in the room.

Reading about the men who took the "shortcut to virtue" will probably challenge you as well as amuse you, as well as raise the question: are these men crazy (Diogenes would be locked away for pulling his stunts today), or were they the only sane people around?

Highly recommended.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Philosopher at work June 8, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good book as far as content goes. It explains the philosophy very clearly, especially when it comes to Diogenes. My main problem with this was the vocabulary used. It was annoying to search up the definitions after read every two words, and I don't think using such complex vocabulary was entirely necessary.
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