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Headword: *kunismo/s
Adler number: kappa,2712
Translated headword: Cynicism
Vetting Status: high
A philosophical school. Its definition [is] "a short-cut road to virtue".[1] The goal of Cynicism is to live according to virtue, as Diogenes[2] and Zeno of Citium[3] say. The Cynics held that one should live frugally, eating the necessary foods, and should despise wealth and reputation and nobility of birth. Some of them were vegetarians, drank cold water and used occasional shelters and casks as their dwellings. They said that to have need of nothing is proper to a god, and to need [only] a few things is proper to those who are similar to gods. They also hold that virtue is teachable and that it cannot be lost.[4]
Greek Original:
*kunismo/s: ai(/resis filoso/fwn. o( de\ o(rismo\s au)tou= su/ntomos e)p' a)reth\n o(do/s. te/los de\ tou= kunismou= to\ kat' a)reth\n zh=n, w(s *dioge/nhs kai\ *zh/nwn o( *kitieu/s. h)/reske d' au)toi=s litw=s biou=n, au)ta/rkesi xrwme/nois siti/ois, plou/tou kai\ do/chs kai\ eu)genei/as katafronei=n. e)/nioi de\ bota/nais kai\ u(/dati yuxrw=| e)xrw=nto ske/pais te tai=s tuxou/sais kai\ pi/qois kai\ e)/faskon qeou= me\n i)/dion ei)=nai to\ mhdeno\s dei=sqai, tw=n de\ qew=| o(moi/wn to\ o)li/gwn xrh/|zein. a)re/skei d' au)toi=s kai\ th\n a)reth\n didakth\n ei)=nai kai\ a)napo/blhton.
See generally John Moles in OCD(4) s.v. Cynics.
[1] Actually, this definition belongs to the Stoic philosopher Apollodorus: see Diogenes Laertius 7.121, and kappa 2711.
[2] Diogenes of Sinope (c.445-360): delta 1143. Despite what the Suda says, it is uncertain whether the Cynics were a established school or just a "philosophical movement". The fact that the Cynics never had any body of authoritative writings or doctrines reinforces the thesis that they never made up a real philosophical "school".
[3] See zeta 79; Diogenes Laertius 7.87; Stobaeus, Eclogae 2.62.7-8, 77.16-19 (ed. Wachsmuth); Cicero, de finibus 3.61.
[4] This passage reproduces, with minor changes, Diogenes Laertius 6.104-105. The Cynic lifestyle described here is attributed to Diogenes of Sinope; the thesis that virtue can be taught and cannot be lost was the work of Antisthenes.
R. Bracht Branham & Marie Odile Goulet-Caze (eds.) The Cynics. The Cynic Movement in Antiquity and its Legacy (Berkeley/Los Angeles/London 1996)
Marie-Odile Goulet-Caze & Richard Goulet (eds.), Le cynisme ancien et ses prolongements. Actes du colloque international du CNRS (Paris 1993)
Keywords: daily life; definition; economics; ethics; food; philosophy; religion
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 7 January 2000@10:12:32.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (modified translation, added cross-references) on 22 July 2003@18:25:34.
Catharine Roth (added keyword) on 22 July 2003@21:50:30.
David Whitehead (added primary note; augmented keywords; cosmetics) on 23 July 2003@02:55:00.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 4 December 2005@09:20:30.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 22 March 2013@04:54:14.
David Whitehead on 4 August 2014@07:53:18.


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