Cynics has 77 ratings and 13 reviews. Leo said: Very good introduction to Cynicism (of the ancient kind, a school of philosophy having very little to do. William Desmond, Cynics, Acumen, , pp, $ (pbk), ISBN Reviewed by John Moles, Newcastle University. Far from being pessimistic or nihilistic, as modern uses of the term “cynic” suggest, the ancient Cynics were astonishingly optimistic regarding human nature.

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Forged from a partnership between a university deesmond and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. Books by William Desmond. That Cynicism had some such thinking is most easily though not solely demonstrable through reconstruction of important Cynic texts, written, as they were, in serio -comic style.

I ddsmond this book on a rainy afternoon at a bookstore and was very satisfied. Contact Contact Us Help. Of course, we have very little reliable information regarding the actual beliefs of the early Cynics or even whether it was a coherent movement.

The recognition of Navia’s immense contribution to the field is very appropriate and a nice way to conclude the book.

Preview — Cynics by William Desmond. They generally tried to free themselves from the burdens of human customs and lived instea “Beard-growing alone does not make a philosopher” A long-winded overview of the book: They believed that if one simplified one’s life—giving up all unnecessary possessions, desires, and ideas—and lived in the moment as much as possible, one could regain one’s natural goodness and happiness.

He refreshes the notion of “cynic”, for he, the ancient one, is far williqm the gloomy idea of today.

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As for the book, it does a good job of giving the background, although the first chapter is a long and occasionally tedious list of the major players in the school. Desmond notes the variety of forms of cynicism, including both poor wanderers who were free and those who admired ideals of the Cynics without practicing their difficult lifestyle.

Similarly some thought nothing wrong with sex in the public arena, for if animals willlam do such a thing, it is natural and cannot be bad.

He concluded that cynicism “. The overall movement is chronological: This chapter is one of the most useful parts of the book. However, while ancient Cynics were admired, contemporary Cynics were often seen as hypocritical fakes. Chance fate fortune and the self. The author goes at length with every aspect while keeping an up chnics rhythm and an well around cheerful tone.


He vilified Peregrinus, who had pursued both cynicism and Christianity. Started out well but delved too far into extremes. Chapter two, which deals with Cynic renunciation, provides the main discussion of Cynic practices.

Books Digital Products Journals. Characteristically, neither here nor elsewhere, does Desmond commit himself on — still less, des,ond out — the key question of whether Dio spoke the Kingships to Trajan.

Cynics by William Desmond

No, cancel Yes, report it Thanks! Overall rating No ratings yet 0. Lastly, this book has annoying references. They had sex in public, they deficated where they stood and did everything they could to put “it in the man’s face” sort of thing. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.

The ‘sex’ section desmone also needs Diogenes’ Politeiaalso the source of Diogenes’ ‘mischievous syllogism’ ; D. Like most such discussions, however, it envisages only two possibilities: On the other hand, philosophical kingship theory is not unproblematically Cynicas Desmond later admits ; see also on Onesicritus above.


Witty repartee seemed highly valued by them.

Cynics by William Desmond – Paperback – University of California Press

Jean Menzies rated it really liked it Oct 18, The ancient Cynics present special challenges for an introductory text. They believed that if one simplified one’s life–giving up all unnecessary possessions, desires, and ideas–and lived in the moment as much as possible, one could regain one’s natural goodness and happiness. What is more wiloiam … is the personality of the man’ as if this eilliam be established independently?

Desmond rightly stresses that later Stoics generally retreated from Chrysippean intellectualism to an ethical core exemplified by an idealised Cynicismthough he omits Panaetian hostility and Seneca’s interesting ambivalences.

Fil rated it liked it Feb 24, Sean McAleer rated it really liked it Jun 02, A wonderful history of the Cynics and how they influenced those thereafter.

It was a life exemplified most famously by the eccentric Diogenes, nicknamed “the Dog,” and his followers, called dog-philosophers, kunikoi, or Cynics. What we have is lots of scattered evidence of how Cynics appeared to their contemporaries and a hodgepodge of sayings, jokes, and stunts attributed to various individuals whose origin is uncertain.