Hegel’s Lectures on the History of Philosophy
Part One: Greek Philosophy. First Period, Second Division.
The result of the death of Socrates was, that the little company of his friends went off from Athens to Megara, where Plato also came. Euclides had settled there and received them gladly. When Socrates’ condemnation was retracted and his accusers punished, certain of the Socratics returned, and all was again brought into equilibrium The work of Socrates was far-reaching and effectual in the kingdom of Thought, and the stimulation of a great amount of interest is always the principal service of a teacher. Subjectively, Socrates had the formal effect of bringing about a discord in the individual; the content was subsequently left to the free-will and liking of each person, because the principle was subjective consciousness and not objective thought. Socrates himself only came so far as to express for consciousness generally the simple existence of one’s own thought as the Good, but as to whether the particular conceptions of the Good really properly defined that of which they were intended to express the essence, he did not inquire. But because Socrates made the Good the end of the living man, he made the whole world of idea, or objective existence in general, rest by itself, without seeking to find a passage from the Good, the real essence of what is known as such, to the thing, and recognizing real essence as the essence of things. For when all present speculative philosophy expresses the universal as essence, this, as it first appears, has the semblance of being a single determination, beside which there are a number of others. It is the complete movement of knowledge that first removes this semblance, and the system of the universe then shows forth its essence as Notion, as a connected whole.
The most varied schools and principles proceeded from this doctrine of Socrates, and this was made a reproach against him, but it was really due to the indefiniteness and abstraction of his principle. And in this way it is only particular forms of this principle which can at first be recognized in philosophic systems which we call Socratic. Under the name of Socratic, I understand, however, those schools and methods which remained closer to Socrates and in which we find nothing but the one-sided understanding of Socratic culture. One part of these kept quite faithfully to the direct methods of Socrates, without going any further. A number of his friends are mentioned as being of this description, and these, inasmuch as they were authors, contented themselves with correctly transcribing dialogues after his manner, which were partly those he actually had held with them, and partly those they had heard from others; or else with working out similar dialogues in his method. But for the rest they abstained from speculative research, and by directing their attention to what was practical, adhered firmly and faithfully to the fulfilment of the duties of their position and circumstances, thereby maintaining calm and satisfaction. Xenophon is the most celebrated of those mentioned, but besides him a number of other Socratics wrote dialogues. Æschines, some of whose dialogues have come down to us, Phædo, Antisthenes and others are mentioned, and amongst them a shoemaker, Simon, “with whom Socrates often spoke at his workshop, and who afterwards carefully wrote out what Socrates said to him.” The title of his dialogues, as also those of the others which are left to us, are to be found in Diogenes Laërtius (II. 122, 123; 60, 61; 105; VI. 15-18); they have, however, only a literary interest, and hence I will pass them by.
But another section of the Socratics went further than Socrates, inasmuch as they, starting from him, laid hold of and matured one of the particular aspects of his philosophy and of the standpoint to which philosophic knowledge was brought through him. This standpoint maintained the absolute character of self-consciousness within itself, and the relation of its self-existent universality to the individual. In Socrates, and from him onward, we thus see knowledge commencing, the world raising itself into the region of conscious thought, and this becoming the object. We no longer hear question and answer as to what Nature is, but as to what Truth is; or real essence has determined itself not to be the implicit, but to be what it is in knowledge. We hence have the question of the relationship of self-conscious thought to real essence coming to the front as what concerns us most. The true and essence are not the same; the true is essence as thought, but essence is the simply implicit. This simple is, indeed, thought, and is in thought, but when it is said that essence is pure Being or Becoming, as the being-for-self of the Atomists, and then that the Notion is thought generally (the nouς of Anaxagoras), or finally measure, this is asserted directly, and in an objective manner. Or it is the simple unity of the objective and of thought; it is not purely objective — for Being cannot be seen, heard, &c.; nor is it pure thought in opposition to. the existent — for this is the explicitly existent self-consciousness which separates itself from essence. It is finally not the’ unity going back into itself from the difference in the two sides, which is understanding and knowledge. In these self-consciousness on the one hand presents itself as being-for-self, and on the other, as Being; it, is conscious of this difference, and from this difference turns back into the unity of both. This unity, the result, is the known, the true. One element in the true is the certainty of itself; this moment has attained to reality — in consciousness and for consciousness. It is through this movement and the investigation of the subject, that the succeeding period of Philosophy is distinguished, because it does not contemplate essence as left to itself, and as purely objective, but as in. unity with the certainty of itself. It is not to be understood by this that such knowledge had itself been made into essence, so that it is held to be the content and definition of absolute essence, or that essence had been determined for the consciousness of these philosophers as the unity of Being and Thought, i.e. as if they had thought of it thus; but they could merely no longer speak of essence and actuality without this element of self-certainty. And this period is hence. so to speak, the middle period, which is really the movement of knowledge, and considers knowledge as the science of essence, which first brings about that unity.
From what has been said, it can now be seen what philosophic systems can come before us. That is to say, because in this period the relation of Thought to Being, or of the universal to the individual, is made explicit, we see, on the one hand, as the object of Philosophy, the contradiction of consciousness coming to consciousness — a contradiction as to which the ordinary modes of thought have no knowledge, for they are in a state of confusion, seeing that they go on unthinkingly. On the other hand we have Philosophy as perceiving knowledge itself, which, however, does not get beyond its Notion, and which, because it is the unfolding of a more extensive knowledge of a content, cannot give itself this content, but can only think it, i.e. determine it in a simple manner. Of those Socratics who hold a place of their own, there are, according to this, three schools worthy of consideration; first the Megaric School, at whose head stands Euclid of Megara, and then the Cyrenaic and Cynic Schools; and from the fact that they all three differ very much from one another, it is clearly shown that Socrates himself was devoid of any positive system. With these Socratics the determination of the subject for which the absolute principle of the true and good likewise appears as end, came into prominence; this end demands reflection and general mental cultivation, and also requires that men should be able to tell what the good and true really are. But though these Socratic schools as a whole rest at saying that the subject itself is end, and reaches its subjective end through the cultivation of its knowledge, the form of determination in them is still the universal, and it is also so that it does not remain abstract, for the development of the determinations of the universal gives real knowledge. The Megarics were most abstract, because they held to the determination of the good which, as simple, was to them the principle; the unmoved and self-related simplicity of thought becomes the principle of consciousness as individual, as it is of conscious knowledge. The Megaric school associated with the assertion of the simplicity of the good, the dialectic, that all that was defined and limited is not true. But because with the Megarics the principal point was to know the universal, and this universal was to them the Absolute which had to be retained in this form of the universal, this thought, as Notion which holds a negative position in relation to all determinateness and thus to that of Notion also, was equally turned against knowledge and perception.
The Cyrenaics take knowledge in its subjective signification, and as signifying individuality as certainty of self, or feeling; to this as to that which is essential, they restrict the exercise of consciousness, and, generally speaking, make existence for consciousness consist therein. Now because they thereby sought to define the Good more closely, they called it simply pleasure or enjoyment, by which, however, anything can be understood. This principle of the Cyrenaic school would seem to have been far removed from that of Socrates, since we at once think of the transient existence of feeling as directly in opposition to the Good; this, however, is not the case. The Cyrenaics likewise upheld the universal, for, if it is asked what the Good is, we find they certainly made pleasurable feeling, which presents the. appearance of a determinate, to be its content, but seeing that a cultured mind is also requisite, enjoyment, as it is obtained through thought, is here indicated.
The Cynics also further defined the principle of the Good, but in another way from the Cyrenaics; its content, they said, lay in man’s keeping to what is in conformity with nature and to the simple needs of nature. They similarly call all that is particular and limited in the aims of men that which is not to be desired. To the Cynics, too, mental culture through the knowledge of the universal is the principle; but through this knowledge of the universal the individual end must be attained, and this is, that the individual should keep himself in abstract universality, in freedom and independence, and be indifferent to all he formerly esteemed. Thus we see pure thought recognized in its movement with the individual, and the manifold transformations of the universal coming to consciousness. These three schools are not to be treated at length. The principle of the Cyrenaics became later on more scientifically worked out in Epicureanism, as that of the Cynics did in Stoicism.
Because Euclides (who is regarded as the founder of the Megaric way of thinking) and his school held to the forms of universality, and, above all, sought, and with success, to show forth the contradictions contained in all particular conceptions, they were reproached with having a rage for disputation, and hence the name of Eristics was given them. The instrument for bringing all that is particular into confusion and annulling this particular, was supplied by dialectic, which, indeed, was brought by them to very great perfection, but, as was privately stated, they did it in a kind of anger, so that others said that they should not be called a School (scolh) but a gall (colh). With a dialectic thus constituted, we find them taking the place of the Eleatic School and of the Sophists; and it seems as though the Eleatic School had merely been reproduced,’ since they were essentially identical with it. But this was only partly true — in that the Eleatic dialecticians maintained Being as the one existence in relation to which nothing particular is a truth, and the Megarics considered Being as the Good. The Sophists, on the other hand, did not seek their impulse in simple universality as fixed and as enduring; and similarly we shall find in the Sceptics, dialecticians who maintain that the subjective mind rests within itself. Besides Euclides Diodorus and Menedemus are mentioned as distinguished Eristics, but particularly Eubulides, and later on Stilpo, whose dialectic likewise related to contradictions which appeared in external conception and in speech, so that it in great measure passed into a mere play upon words.
Euclides, who is not to be confused with the mathematician, is he of whom it is said that during the enmity between Athens and his birthplace, Megara, and in the period of most violent animosity, he often secretly went to Athens, dressed as a woman, not fearing even the punishment of death in order to be able to hear Socrates and be in his company. Euclides is said, in spite of his stubborn manner of disputing, to have been, even in his disputation, a most peaceful man. It is told that once in a quarrel his opponent was so irritated, that he exclaimed, “I will die if I do not revenge myself upon you!” Euclides replied, (“And I will die if I do not soften your wrath so much by the mildness of my speech that you will love me as before.” It was Euclides who said that “the Good is one,” and it alone is, “though passing under many names; sometimes it is called Understanding, sometimes God; at another time Thought (nouς), and so on. But what is opposed to the good does not exist.” This doctrine Cicero (ibid.) calls noble, and says that it differs but little from the Platonic. Since the Megarics make the Good, as the simple identity of the true, into a principle, it is clearly seen that they expressed the Good as the absolute existence in a. universal sense, as did Socrates; but they no longer, like him, recognized all the approximate conceptions, or merely opposed them as being indifferent to the interests of man, for they asserted definitely that they were nothing at all. Thus they come into the category of the Eleatics, since they, like them, showed that only Being is, and that all else, as negative, does not exist. While the dialectic of Socrates was thus incidental, in that he merely shook some current moral ideas, or the very first conceptions of knowledge, the Megarics, on the contrary, raised their philosophic dialectic into something more universal and real, for they applied themselves more to what is formal in idea and speech, though not yet, like the later Sceptics, to the determinations of pure Notions; for knowledge, thought, was not yet present in abstract conceptions. Of their own dialectic not much is told, but more is said of the embarrassment into which they brought ordinary consciousness, for they were in all kinds of ways alert in involving others in contradictions. Thus they applied dialectic after the manner of an ordinary conversation, just as Socrates applied his mind to every side of ordinary subjects, and as we also, in our conversation, try to make an assertion interesting and important. A number of anecdotes are told of their disputations, from which we see that what we call joking was their express business. Others of their puzzles certainly deal with a positive category of thought; they take these and show how, if they are held to be true, they bring about a contradiction.
Of the innumerable multitude of ways in which they tried to confuse our knowledge in the categories, many are preserved with their names, and the principal of these are the Sophisms, whose discovery is ascribed to Eubulides of Miletus, a pupil of Euclides. The first thing which strikes us when we hear them is that they are common sophisms which are not worth contradiction, and scarcely of being heard, least of all have they a real scientific value. Hence we call them stupid, and look at them as dreary jokes, but it is in fact easier to set them aside than to refute them. We let ordinary speech pass, and are content with it, so long as everyone knows what the other means (when this is not so — we trust that God understands us), but these sophisms seem in a way to mislead common speech, for they show the contradictory and unsatisfactory nature of it when taken strictly as it is spoken. To confuse ordinary language so that we do not know how to reply, seems foolish, as leading to formal contradictions, and if it is done we are blamed for taking mere empty words and playing upon them. Our German seriousness, therefore, dismisses this play on words as shallow wit, but the Greeks honoured the word in itself, and the mere treatment of a proposition as well as the matter. And if word and thing are in opposition, the word is the higher, for the unexpressed thing is really irrational, since the rational exists as speech alone.
It is in Aristotle, and in his Sophistical Elenchi that we first find numerous examples of these contradictions (coming from the old Sophists equally with the Eristics), and also their solutions. Eubulides, therefore, likewise wrote against Aristotle, but none of this has come down to us. In Plato we also find, as we saw before (p. 370), similar jokes and ambiguities mentioned to make the Sophists ridiculous, and to show with what insignificant matters they took up their time. The Eristics went yet further, for they, like Diodorus, became jesters to courts, such as to that of the Ptolemies. From historic facts we see that this dialectic operation of confusing others and showing how to extricate them again was a general amusement of the Greek philosophers, both in public places and at the tables of kings. Just as the Queen of the East came to Solomon to put riddles to him, we find at the tables of kings witty conversation and assemblages of philosophers joking and making merry over one another. The Greeks were quite enamoured of discovering contradictions met with in speech and in ordinary ideas. The contradiction does not make its appearance as a pure contradiction in the conception, but only as interwoven with concrete ideas; such propositions neither apply to the concrete content nor to the pure Notion. Subject and predicate, of which every proposition consists, are different, but in the ordinary idea we signify their unity; this simple unity, which does not contradict itself, is to ordinary ideas the truth. But in fact, the simple self-identical proposition is an unmeaning tautology; for in any affirmation, differences are present, and because their diversity comes to consciousness, there is contradiction. But the ordinary consciousness is then at an end, for only where there is a contradiction is there the solution, self-abrogation. Ordinary consciousness has not the conception that only the unity of opposites is the truth — that in every statement there is truth and falsehood, if truth is to be taken in the sense of the simple, and falsehood in the sense of the opposed and contradictory; in it the positive, the first unity, and the negative, this last opposition, fall asunder.
In Eubulides’ propositions the main point was that because the truth is simple, a simple answer is required; that thus the answer should not, as happened in Aristotle (De Sophist. Elench. c. 24), have regard to certain special considerations; and, after all, this is really the demand of the understanding. Thus the mistake is to desire an answer of yes or no, for since no one ventures on either, perplexity ensues, because it is a fool’s part not to know what to reply. The simplicity of the truth is thus grasped as the principle. With us this appears in the form of making such statements as that one of opposites is true, the other false; that a statement is either true or not true; that an object cannot have two opposite predicates. That is the first principle of the understanding, the principium exclusi tertii, which is of great importance in all the sciences. This stands in close connection with the principle of Socrates and Plato (supra, pp. 455, 456), “The true is the universal;” which is abstractly the identity of understanding, according to which what is said to be true cannot contradict itself. This comes more clearly to light in Stilpo (p. 464). The Megarics thus kept to this principle of our logic of the understanding, in demanding the form of identity for the Truth. Now in the cases that they put, they did not keep to the universal, but sought examples in ordinary conception, by means of which they perplexed people; and this they formed into a kind of system. We shall bring forward some examples that are preserved to us; some are more important, but others are insignificant.
a. One Elench was called the Liar (yeudomenoς); in it the question is Put: “If a man acknowledges that he lies, does he lie or speak the truth?” A simple answer is demanded, for the simple whereby the other is excluded, is held to be the true. If it is said that he tells the truth, this contradicts the content of his utterance, for he confesses that he lies. But if it is asserted that he lies, it may be objected that his confession is the truth. He thus both lies and does not lie; but a simple answer cannot be given to the question raised. For here we have a union of two opposites, lying and truth, and their immediate contradiction; in different forms this has at all times come to pass, and has ever occupied the attention of men. Chrysippus, a celebrated Stoic, wrote six books on the subject, and another, Philetas of Cos, died in the decline which he contracted through over-study of these paradoxes. We have the same thing over again when, in modern times, we see men worn out by absorbing themselves in the squaring of the circle — a proposition which has well nigh become immortal. They seek a simple relation from something incommensurable, i.e. they fall into the error of demanding a simple reply where the content is contradictory. That little history has perpetuated and reproduced itself later on; in Don Quixote the very same thing appears. Sancho, governor of the island of Barataria, was tested by many insidious cases as he sat in judgment, and, amongst others, with the following: In his domain there was a bridge which a rich man had erected for the good of passengers — but with a gallows close by. The crossing of the bridge was restricted by the condition that everyone must say truly where he was going, and if he lied, he would be hung upon the gallows. Now one man came to the bridge, and to the question whither he went, answered that he had come here to be hung on the gallows. The bridge-keepers were much puzzled by this. For if they hanged him, he would have spoken the truth and ought to have passed, but if he crossed he would have spoken an untruth. In this difficulty they applied to the wisdom of the governor, who uttered the wise saying that in such dubious cases the mildest measures should be adopted, and thus the man should be allowed to pass. Sancho did not break his head over the matter. The result which the statement was to have, is made its content, with the condition that the opposite of the content should be the consequence. Hanging, understanding it to be truly expressed, should not have hanging as result; non-hanging as an event, should, on the other hand, have hanging as result. Thus death is made the consequence of suicide, but by suicide death itself is made into the content of the crime, and cannot thus be the punishment.
I will give another similar example along with the answer. Menedemus was asked whether he had ceased to beat his father. This was an attempt to place him in a difficulty, since to answer either yes or no, would be equally risky. For if he said “yes,’ then he once beat him, and if “no,’ then he still beats him. Menedemus hence replied that he neither ceased to beat him, nor had beaten him; and with this his opponents were not satisfied. Through this answer, which is two-sided, the one alternative, as well as the other, being set aside, the question is in fact answered; and this is also so in the former question as to whether the man spoke truly who said he lied, when the reply is made, “He speaks the truth and lies at the same time, and the truth is this contradiction.” But a contradiction is not the true, and cannot enter into our ordinary conceptions; hence Sancho Panza likewise set it aside in his judgment. If the consciousness of opposition is present, our ordinary ideas keep the contradictory sides apart; but in fact the contradiction appears in sensuous things, such as space, time, &c., and has in them only to be demonstrated. These sophisms thus not only appear to be contradictory, but are so in truth: this choice between two opposites, which is set before us in the example, is itself a contradiction.
b. The Concealed one (dialanqanwn) and the Electra proceed from the contradiction of knowing and not knowing someone at the same time. I ask someone ‘Do you know your father?’ He replies ‘Yes.’ I then ask “Now if I show you someone hidden behind a screen, will you know him?’ ‘No.’ ‘But it is your father, and thus you do not know your father.’ It is the same in the Electra. ‘Can it be said that she knows her brother Orestes who stands before her or not?’ These twists and turns seem superficial, but it is interesting to consider them further. (aa) To know means, on the one hand, to have someone as ‘this one,’ and not vaguely and in general. The son thus knows his father when he sees him, i.e. when he is a this’ for him; but hidden, he is not a ‘this’ for him, but a ‘this’ abrogated. The hidden one as a ‘this’ in ordinary conception, becomes a general, and loses his sensuous being, thereby is in fact not a true ‘this.’ The contradiction that the son both knows and does not know his father, thus becomes dissolved through the further qualification that the son knows the father as a sensuous ‘this,’ and not as a ‘this’ of idea. (bb) On the other hand Electra knows Orestes, not as a sensuous ‘this,’ but in her own idea; the ‘this’ of idea and the ‘this’ here, are not the same to her. In this way there enters into these histories the higher opposition of the universal and of the ‘this,’ in as far as to have in the ordinary idea, means in the element of the universal; the abrogated ‘this’ is not only an idea, but has its truth in the universal. The universal is thus found in the unity of opposites, and thus it is in this development of Philosophy the true existence, in which the sensuous being of the ‘this’ is negated. It is the consciousness of this in particular which, as we shall soon see (p. 465), is indicated by Stilpo.
g. Other quibbles of the same kind have more meaning, like the arguments which are called the Sorites (swreithς) and the Bald (falakroς). Both are related to the false infinite, and the quantitative progression which can reach no qualitative opposite, and yet at the end finds itself at a qualitative absolute opposite. The Bald head is the reverse of the problem of the Sorites. It is asked, “Does one grain of corn make a heap, or does one hair less make a bald head?” The reply is “No.” “Nor one again?” “No, it does not.” This question is now always repeated while a grain is always added, or a hair taken away. When at last it is said that there is a heap or a bald head, it is found that the last added grain or last abstracted hair has made the heap or the baldness, and this was at first denied. But how can a grain form a heap which already consists of so many grains? The assertion is that one grain does not make a heap; the contradiction, that one thus added or taken away brings about the change into the opposite — the many. For to repeat one is just to obtain many, the repetition causes certain “many’ grains to come together. The one thus becomes its opposite, — a heap, and the taking of one away brings about baldness. One and a heap are opposed to one another, but yet one; or the quantitative progression seems not to change but merely to increase or diminish, yet at last it has passed into its opposite. We always separate quality and quantity from one another, and only accept in the many a quantitative difference; but this indifferent distinction of number or size here turns finally into qualitative distinction, just as an infinitely small or infinitely great greatness is no longer greatness at all. This characteristic of veering round is of the greatest importance, although it does not come directly before our consciousness. To give one penny or one shilling is said to be nothing, but with all its insignificance the purse becomes emptied, which is a very qualitative difference. Or, if water is always more and more heated, it suddenly, at 80° Reamur, turns into steam. The dialectic of this passing into one another of quantity and quality is what our understanding does not recognize; it is certain that qualitative is not quantitative, and quantitative not qualitative. In those examples which seem like jokes, there is in this way genuine reflection on the thought-determinations which are in question.
The examples which Aristotle brings forward in his Elenchi, all show a very formal contradiction, appearing in speech, since even in it the individual is taken into the universal. “Who is that? It is Coriscus. Is Coriscus not masculine? Yes. That is neuter sex, and thus Coriscus is said to be neuter.” Or else Aristotle (De Sophist. Elench. c. 24) quotes the argument: “To thee a dog is father (sos o kuwn pathr). Thou art thus a dog;” that is what Plato, as we already mentioned (p. 370), made a Sophist say: it is the wit of a journeyman such as we find in Eulenspiegel. Aristotle is really at great pains to remove the confusion, for he says the ‘thy’ and the ‘father’ are only accidentally (para to sumbebhkoς), and not in substance (kata thn ousian) joined to one another. In the invention of such witticisms, the Greeks of that and of later times were quite indefatigable. With the Sceptics we shall later on see the dialectic side further developed and brought to a higher standpoint.
Stilpo, a native of Megara, is one of the most celebrated of the Eristics. Diogenes tells us that “he was a very powerful debater, and excelled all so greatly in readiness of speech that all Greece, in looking to him, was in danger (mikrou dehsai) of becoming Megareans.” He lived in the time of Alexander the Great, and after his death (Ol. 114, 1; 324 B.C.) in Megara, when Alexander’s generals fought together. Ptolemy Soter, Demetrius Poliorcetes, Antigonus’ son, when they conquered Megara, bestowed many honours on him. “In Athens all came out of their workplaces to see him, and when anyone said that they admired him like a strange, animal, he replied, No, but like a true man.” With Stilpo it was pre-eminently true that the universal was taken in the sense of the formal abstract identity of the understanding. The main point in his examples is, however, always the fact of his having given prominence to the form of universality as opposed to the particular.
a. Diogenes (II. 119) first quotes from him in relation to the opposition of the ‘this’ and the universal, “Who ever speaks of any man (anqrwpon einai), speaks of no-one, for he neither speaks of this one nor that. For why should it rather be of this one than that? Hence it is not of this one.” That man is the universal, and that no one is specially indicated, everyone readily acknowledges, but some one still remains present to us in our conception. But Stilpo says that the ‘this’ does not exist at all, and cannot be expressed — that the universal only exists. Diogenes Laërtius certainly understands this as though “Stilpo abolished distinction of genera (anhrei kai ta eidh),” and Tennemann (Vol II., p. 158) supports him. But from what is quoted from him the opposite may clearly be deduced — that he uphold the universal and did away with the individual. And the fact that the form of universality is maintained, is further expressed in a number of anecdotes which are taken by Stilpo from common life. Thus he says: “The cabbage is not what is here shown (to lacanon ouk esti to deiknumenon). For the cabbage has existed for many thousand years, and hence this (what is seen) is not cabbage,” i.e. the universal only is, and this cabbage is not. If I say this cabbage, I say quite another thing from what I mean, for I say all other cabbages. An anecdote is told in the same reference.
He was conversing with Crates, a Cynic, and broke off to buy some fish; Crates said, “What, you would avoid the question?” (for even in ordinary life anyone is laughed at or thought stupid who is unable to reply, and here where the subject was so important and where it would seem better to reply anything than nothing at all, no answer was forthcoming). Stilpo replied, “By no means, for I have the conversation, but I leave you, since the conversation remains but the fish will be sold.” What is indicated in these simple examples seems trivial, because the matter is trivial, but in other forms it seems important enough to be the subject of further inquiry.
That the universal should in Philosophy be given a place of such importance that only the universal can be expressed, and the ‘this’ which is meant, cannot, indicates a state of consciousness and thought which the philosophic culture of our time has not yet reached. As regards the ordinary human understanding, or the scepticism of our times, or in general the Philosophy which asserts that sensuous certainty (that which we see, hear, &c.), is the or else that it is true that there are sensuous things outside of us — as to these, nothing, so far as the reasons for disbelieving them are concerned, need be said. For because the direct assertion that the immediate is the true is made, such statements only require to be taken with respect to what they say, and they will always be found to say something different from what they mean. What strikes us most is that they cannot say what they mean; for if they say the sensuous, this is a universal; it is all that is sensuous, a negative of the ‘this,’ or ‘this’ is all ‘these.’ Thought contains only the universal, the ‘this’ is only in thought; if I say ‘this’ it is the most universal of all. For example, here is that which I show; now I speak; but here and now is all here and now. Similarly when I say ‘I,’ I mean myself, this individual separated from all others. But I am even thus that which is thought of and cannot express the self which I mean at all. ‘I’ is an absolute expression which excludes every other ‘I,’ but everyone says ‘I’ of himself, for everyone is an ‘I.’ If we ask who is there, the answer ‘I’ indicates every ‘I.’ The individual also is thus the universal only, for in the word as an existence born of the mind, the individual, if it is meant, cannot find a place, since actually only the universal is expressed. If I would distinguish myself and establish my individuality by my age, my place of birth, through what I have done and where I have been or am at a particular time, it is the same thing. I am now so many years old, but this very now which I say is all now. If I count from a particular period such as the birth of Christ, this epoch is again only fixed by the “now’ which is ever displaced. I am now thirty-five years old, and now is 1805 A.D.; each period is fixed only through the other, but the whole is undetermined. That “now’ 1805 years have passed since Christ’s birth, is a truth which soon will become empty sound, and the determinateness of the “now’ has a before and after of determinations without beginning or end. Similarly everyone is at a ‘here’ — this here, for everyone is in a ‘here.’ This is the nature of universality, which makes itself evident in speech. We hence help ourselves through names with which we define perfectly anything individual, but we allow that we have not expressed the thing in itself. The name as name, is no expression which contains what I am; it is a symbol, and indeed a contingent symbol, of the lively recollection.
b. Inasmuch as Stilpo expressed the universal as the independent, he disintegrated everything. Simplicius says (in Phys. Arist. p. 26), “Since the so-called Megarics took it as ascertained that what has different determinations is different (wn oi logoi eteroi, tauta etera estin), and that the diverse are separated one from the other (ta etera kecwristai allhlwn), they seemed to prove that each thing is separated from itself (auto autou kecwrismenon ekaston). Hence since the musical Socrates is another determination (logoς) from the wise Socrates, Socrates was separated from himself’.” That means that because the qualities of things are determinations for themselves, each of these is fixed independently, but yet the thing is an aggregate of many independent universalities. Stilpo asserted this. Now because, according to him, universal determinations are in their separation only the true reality, and the individual is the unseparated unity of different ideas, to him nothing individual has any truth.
g. It is very remarkable that this form of identity came to be known in Stilpo, and he in this way only wished to know propositions identically expressed. Plutarch quotes from him.. “A different predicate may in no case be attributed to any object (eteron eterou mh kathgoreisqai). Thus we could not say that the man is good or the man is a general, but simply that man is only man, good is only good, the general is only the general. Nor could we say ten thousand knights, but knights are only knights, ten thousand are only ten thousand, &c. When we speak of a horse running, he says that the predicate is not identical with the object to which it is attributed. For the concept-determination man is different (tou ti hn einai ton logon) from the concept-determination good. Similarly horse and running are distinct: when we are asked for a definition of either, we do not give the same for both. Hence those who say something different of what is different are wrong. For if man and good were the same, and likewise horse and running, how could good be used of bread and physic, and running of lions and dogs"? Plutarch remarks here that Colotes attacks Stilpo in a bombastic manner (tragwdian epagei) as though he ignored common life (ton bion anaireisqai). “But what man,” Plutarch reflects, “lived any the worse for this? Is there any man who hears this said, and who does not know that it is an elaborate joke (paizontos estin eumouswς)?
The Cyrenaics took their name from Aristippus of Cyrene in Africa, the originator and head of the school. Just as Socrates wished to develop himself as an individual, his disciples, or those of the Cyrenaic and Cynic Schools, made individual life and practical philosophy their main object. Now if the Cyrenaics did not rest content with the determination of good in general, seeing that they inclined to place it in the enjoyment of the individual, the Cynics appear to be opposed to the whole doctrine, for they expressed the particular content of satisfaction as natural desires in a determination of negativity with regard to what is done by others. But as the Cyrenaics thereby satisfied their particular subjectivity, so also did the Cynics, and both schools have hence on the whole the same end — the freedom and independence of the individual. Because we are accustomed to consider happiness, which the Cyrenaics made the highest end of man, to be contentless, because we obtain it in a thousand ways, and it may be the result of most various causes, this principle appears at first to us as trivial, and indeed, generally speaking, it is so; we are likewise accustomed to believe that there is something higher than pleasure. The philosophic development of this principle which, for the rest, has not much in it, is mainly ascribed to Aristippus’ follower, Aristippus the younger. But Theodorus, Hegesias, and Anniceris, of the later Cyrenaics, are specially mentioned as having scientifically worked out the Aristippian principle, until it degenerated and merged into Epicureanism. But the consideration of the further progress of the Cyrenaic principle is specially interesting because this progression, in the essential nature of things, is carried quite beyond the principle, and has really abrogated it. Feeling is the indeterminate individual. But if thought, reflection, mental culture, are given a place in this principle, through the principle of the universality of thought that principle of contingency, individuality, mere subjectivity, disappears; and the only really remarkable thing in this school is that this greater consistency in. the universal is therefore an inconsistency as regards the principle.
Aristippus went about with Socrates for a long time, and educated himself under him, although at the same time he was a strong and highly cultivated man before he sought out Socrates at all. He heard of him either in Cyrene or at the Olympian Games, which, as Greeks, the Cyrenians likewise visited. His father was a merchant, and he himself came to Athens on a journey which had commerce as its object. He was first amongst the Socratics to ask money of those whom he instructed; he also sent money to Socrates, who, however, returned it. He did not content himself with the general expressions, good and beautiful, to which Socrates adhered, but took existence reflected in consciousness in its extreme determinateness as individuality; and because universal existence, as thought, was to him, from the side of reality, individual consciousness, he fixed on enjoyment as the only thing respecting which man had rationally to concern himself. The character and personality of Aristippus is what is most important, and what is preserved to us in his regard is his manner and life rather than his philosophic doctrines. He sought after enjoyment as a man of culture, who in that very way had raised himself into perfect indifference to all that is particular, all passions and bonds of every kind. When pleasure is made the principle, we immediately have the idea before — us that in its enjoyment we are dependent, and that enjoyment is thus opposed to the principle of freedom. But neither of the Cyrenaic teaching, nor the Epicurean, whose principle is on the whole the same, can this be stated. For by itself the end of enjoyment may well be said to be a principle in opposition to Philosophy; but when it is considered in such a way that the cultivation of thought is made the only condition under which enjoyment can be attained, perfect freedom of spirit is retained, since it is inseparable from culture. Aristippus certainly esteemed culture at its highest, and proceeded from this position — that pleasure is only a principle for men of philosophic culture; his main principle thus was that what is found to be pleasant is not known immediately but only by reflection.
Aristippus lived in accordance with these principles, and what in him interests us most is the number of anecdotes to ld about him, because they contain traces of a mentally rich and free disposition. Since in his life he went about to seek enjoyment, not without understanding (and thereby he was in his way a philosopher), he sought it partly with the discretion which does not yield itself to a momentary happiness, because a greater evil springs therefrom; and partly (as if philosophy were merely preservation from anxiety) without that anxiety which on every side fears possible evil and bad results; but above all without any dependence on things, and without resting on anything which is itself of a changeable nature. He enjoyed, says Diogenes, the pleasures of the moment, without troubling himself with those which were not present; he suited himself to every condition, being at home in all; he remained the same whether he were in regal courts or in the most miserable conditions. Plato is said to have told him that it was given to him alone to wear the purple and the rags. He was specially attached to Dionysius, being very popular with him; he certainly clung to him, but always retained complete independence. Diogenes, the Cynic, for this reason called him the royal dog. When he demanded fifty drachms from someone who wished to hand over to him his son, and the man found the sum too high, saying that he could buy a slave for it, Aristippus answered, “Do so, and you will have two.” When Socrates asked him, “How do you have so much money?” he replied, “How do you have so little?” When a courtesan said to him that she had a child by him, he replied, “You know as little whether it is mine as, were you walking through briars, would you know which thorn pricked you.” A proof of his perfect indifference is given in the following: When Dionysius once spat at him, he bore it patiently, and when blamed, said, “The fishermen let themselves be wet by the sea to catch the little fish, and I, should I not bear this to catch such a good one?” When Dionysius asked him to choose one of three courtesans, he took them all with him, observing that it had been a dangerous thing even to Paris to choose out one; but after leading them to the vestibule of the house, he let all three go. He made nothing of the possession of money as contrasted with the results which appear to follow from pursuing pleasure, and hence he wasted it on dainties. He once bought a partridge at fifty drachms (about twenty florins). When. someone rebuked him, he asked, “Would you not buy it for a farthing?” And when this was acknowledged, he answered, “Now fifty drachms are no more than that tome.” Similarly in journeying in Africa, the slave thought it hard to be troubled with a sum of money. When Aristippus knew this he said, “Throw away what is too much and carry what you can.”
As regards the value of culture, he replied to the question as to how an educated man differs from an uneducated, that a stone would not fit in with the other, i.e. the difference is as great as that of a man from the stone. This is not quite wrong, for man is what he ought to be as man, through culture; it is his second nature through which he first enters into possession of that which he has by nature, and thus for the first time he is Mind. We may not, however, think in this way of our uncultured men, for with us such men through the whole of their conditions, through customs and religion, partake of a source of culture which places them far above those who do not live in such conditions. Those who carry on other sciences and neglect Philosophy, Aristippus compares to the wooers of Penelope in the Odyssey, who might easily have Melantho and the other maidens, but who could not obtain the queen.
The teaching of Aristippus and his followers is very simple, for he took the relation of consciousness to existence in its most superficial and its earliest form, and expressed existence as Being as it is immediately for consciousness, i.e. as feeling simply. A distinction is now made between the true, the valid, what exists in and for itself, and the practical and good, and what ought to be our end; but in regard to both the theoretic and practical truth, the Cyrenaics make sensation what determines. Hence their principle is more accurately not the objective itself, but the relation of consciousness to the objective; the truth is not what is in sensation the content, but is itself sensation, it is not objective, but the objective subsists only in it. “Thus the Cyrenaics say, sensations form the real criterion; they alone can be known and are infallible, but what produces feeling is neither knowable nor infallible. Thus when we perceive a white and sweet, we may assert this condition as ours with truth and certainty. But that the causes of these feelings are themselves a white and sweet object we cannot with certainty affirm. What these men say about ends is also in harmony with this, for sensations also extend to ends. The sensations are either pleasant or unpleasant or neither of the two. Now they call the unpleasant feelings the bad, the end of which is pain; the pleasant is the good, whose invariable end is happiness. Thus feelings are the criteria of knowledge and the ends for action. We live because we follow them from testimony (enargeia) received and satisfaction (eudokhsei) experienced, the former in accordance with theoretic intuitions (kata ta alla paqh), and the latter with what gives us pleasure.” That is to say, as end, feeling is no longer a promiscuous variety of sensuous affections (ta alla paqh), but the setting up of the Notion as the positive or negative relation to the object of action, which is just the pleasant or the unpleasant.
Here we enter on a new sphere where two kinds of determinations constitute the chief points of interest; these are everywhere treated of in the many Socratic schools which were being formed, and though not by Plato and Aristotle, they were specially so by the Stoics, the new Academy, &c. That is to say, the one point is determination itself in general, the criterion; and the second is what determination for the subject is. And thus the idea of the wise man results — what the wise do, who the wise are, &c. The reason that these two expressions are now so prominent is one which rests on what has gone before. On the one hand the main interest is to find a content for the good, for else men may talk about it for years. This further definition of the good is just the criterion. On the other hand the interest of the subject appears, and that is the result of the revolution in the Greek mind made by Socrates. When the religion, constitution, laws of a people, are held in esteem, and when the individual members of a people are one with them, the question of what the individual has to do on his own account, will not be put. In a moralized, religious condition of things we are likely to find the end of man in what is present, and these morals, religion and laws are also present in him. When, on the contrary, the individual exists no longer in the morality of his people, no longer has his substantial being in the religion, laws, &c., of his land, he no longer finds what he desires, and no longer satisfies himself in his present. But if this discord has arisen, the individual must immerse himself in himself, and there seek his end. Now this is really the cause that the question of what is the essential for the individual arises. After what end must he form himself and after what strive? Thus an ideal for the individual is set up, and this is the wise man: what was called the ideal of the wise man is the individuality of self-consciousness which is conceived of as universal essence. The point of view is the same when we now ask, What can I know? What should I believe? What ought I to hope? What is the highest interest of the subject? It is not what is truth, right, the universal end of the world, for instead of asking about the science of the implicitly and explicitly objective, the question is what is true and right in as far as it is the insight and conviction of the individual, his end and a mode of his existence? This talk about wise men is universal amongst the Stoics, Epicureans, &c., but is devoid of meaning. For the wise man is not in question, but the wisdom of the universe, real reason. A third definition is that the universal is the good; the real side of things is enjoyment and happiness as a simple existence and immediate actuality. How then do the two agree? The philosophic schools which now arise and their successors have set forth the harmony of both determinations, which are the higher Being and thought.
Of the later Cyrenaics, Theodorus must be mentioned first; he is famous for having denied the existence of the gods, and being, for this reason, banished from Athens. Such a fact can, however, have no further interest or speculative significance, for the positive gods which Theodorus denied, are themselves not any object of speculative reason. He made himself remarkable besides for introducing the universal more — into the idea of that which was existence for consciousness, for “he made joy and sorrow the end, but in such away that the former pertained to the understanding and the latter to want of understanding. He defined the good as understanding and justice, and the bad as the opposite; enjoyment and pain, however, were indifferent.” When we reach the consciousness that the individual sensuous feeling, as it is immediately, is not to be considered as real existence, it is then said that it must be accepted with understanding; i.e. feeling, just as it is, is not reality. For the sensuous generally, as sensation, theoretic or practical, is something quite indeterminate, this or that unit; a criticism of this unit is hence required, i.e. it must be considered in the form of universality, and hence this last necessarily reappears. But this advance on individuality is culture, which, through the limitation of individual feelings and enjoyments, tries to make these harmonious, even though it first of all only calculates as to that by which the greater pleasure is to be found. Now, to the question as to which of the many enjoyments which I, as a many-sided man, can enjoy, is the one which is in completest harmony with me, and in which I thus find the greatest satisfaction, it must be replied that the completest harmony with me is only found in the accordance of my particular existence and consciousness with my actual substantial Being. Theodorus comprehended this as understanding and justice, in which we know where to seek enjoyment. But when it is said that felicity must be sought by reflection, we know that these are empty words and thoughtless utterances. For the feeling in which felicity is contained, is in its conception the individual, self-changing, without universality and subsistence. Thus the universal, understanding, as an empty form, adheres to a content quite incongruous with it; and thus Theodorus distinguished the Good in its form, from the end as the Good in its nature and content.
It is remarkable that another Cyrenaic, Hegesias, recognized this incongruity between sensation and universality, which last is opposed to the individual, having what is agreeable as well as disagreeable within itself. Because, on the whole, he took a firmer grasp of the universal and gave it a larger place, there passed from him all determination of individuality, and with it really the Cyrenaic principle. It came to his knowledge that individual sensation is in itself nothing; and, as he nevertheless made enjoyment his end, it became to him the universal. But if enjoyment is the end, we must ask about the content; if this content is investigated, we find every content a particular which is not in conformity with the universal, and thus falls into dialectic. Hegesias followed the Cyrenaic principle as far as to this consequence of thought. That universal is contained in an expression of his which we often enough hear echoed,” There is no perfect happiness. The body is troubled with manifold pains, and the soul suffers along with it; it is hence a matter of indifference whether we choose life or death. In itself nothing is pleasant or unpleasant.” That is to say, the criterion of being pleasant or unpleasant, because its universality is removed, is thus itself made quite indeterminate; and because it has no objective determinateness in itself, it has become unmeaning; before the universal, which is thus held secure, the sum of all determinations, the individuality of consciousness as such, disappears, but with it even life itself as being unreal. “The rarity, novelty, or excess of enjoyment begets in some cases enjoyment and in others discontent. Poverty and riches have no meaning for what is pleasant, since we see that the rich do not enjoy pleasures more than the poor. Similarly, slavery and liberty, noble and ignoble birth, fame and lack of fame, are equivalent as regards pleasure. Only to a fool can living be a matter of moment; to the wise man it is indifferent,” and he is consequently independent. “The wise man acts only after his own will, and he considers none other equally worthy. For even if he attain from others the greatest benefits, this does not equal what he gives himself. Hegesias and his friends also take away sensation,, because it gives no sufficient knowledge,” which really amounts to scepticism. “They say further that we ought to do what we have reason to believe is best. The sinner should be forgiven, for no one willingly sins, but is conquered by a passion. The wise man does not hate, but instructs; his endeavours go not so much to the attainment of good, as to the avoidance of evil, for his aim is to live without trouble and sorrow.” This universality, which proceeds from the principle of the freedom of the individual self-consciousness, Hegesias expressed as the condition of the perfect indifference of the wise men — an indifference to everything into which we shall see all philosophic systems of the kind going forth, and which is a surrendering of all reality, the complete withdrawal of life into itself. It is told that Hegesias, who lived in Alexandria, was not allowed to teach the Ptolemies of the time, because he inspired many of his hearers with such indifference to life that they took their own.
We also hear of Anniceris and his followers, who, properly speaking, departed from the distinctive character of the principle of the Cyrenaic school, and thereby gave philosophic culture quite another direction. It is said of them that “they acknowledged friendship in common life, along with gratitude, honour to parents, and service for one’s country. And although the wise man has, by so doing, to undergo hardship and work, he can still be happy, even if he therein obtains few pleasures. Friendships are not to be formed on utilitarian grounds alone, but because of the. good will that develops; and out of love to friends, even burdens and difficulties are to be undertaken.” The universal, the theoretically speculative element in the school, is thus lost; it sinks more into what is popular. This is then the second direction which the Cyrenaic school has taken; the first was the overstepping of the principle itself. A method of philosophizing in morals arises, which later on prevailed with Cicero and the Peripatetics of his time, but the interest has disappeared, so far as any consistent system of thought is concerned.
There is nothing particular to say of the Cynics, for they possess but little Philosophy, and they did not bring what they had into a scientific system; it was only later that their tenets were raised by the Stoics into a philosophic discipline. With the Cynics, as with the Cyrenaics, the point was to determine what should be the principle for consciousness, both as regards its knowledge and its actions. The Cynics also set up the Good as a universal end, and asked in what, for individual men, it is to be sought. But if the Cyrenaic. in accordance with his determinate principle, made the consciousness of himself as an individual, or feeling, into real existence for consciousness, the Cynic took this individuality, in as far as it has the form of universality directly for me, i.e. in as far as I am a free consciousness, indifferent to all individuality. Thus they are opposed to the Cyrenaics for while to these feeling, which, because it has to be determined through thought, is undoubtedly extended into universality and perfect freedom, is made the principle, the former begin with perfect freedom and independence as the property of man. But since this is the same indifference of self-consciousness which Hegesias expressed as real existence, the extremes in the Cynic and Cyrenaic modes of thought destroy themselves by their own consequences, and pass into one another. With the Cyrenaics there is the impulse to turn things back into consciousness, according to which nothing is real existence for ine; the Cynics had also only to do with themselves, and the individual self-consciousness was likewise principle. But the Cynic, at least in the beginning, set up for the guidance of men the principle of freedom and indifference, both in regard to thought and actual life, as against all external individuality, particular ends, needs, and enjoyments; so that culture not only sought after indifference to these and independence within itself, as with the Cyrenaics, but for express privation, and for the limitation of needs to what is necessary and what nature demands. The Cynics thus maintained as the content of the good, the greatest independence of nature, i.e. the slightest possible necessities; this meant a rebound from enjoyment, and from the pleasures of feeling. The negative is here the determining; later on this opposition of Cynics and Cyrenaics likewise appeared between Stoics and Epicureans. But the same negation which the Cynics made their principle, had already shown itself in the further development which the Cyrenaic philosophy had taken. The School of the Cynics had no scientific weight; it only constitutes an element which must necessarily appear in the knowledge of the universal, and which is that consciousness must know itself in its individuality, as free from all dependence on things and on enjoyment. To him who relies upon riches or enjoyment such dependence is in fact real consciousness, or his individuality is real existence. But the Cynics so enforced that negative moment that they placed freedom in actual renunciation of so-called superfluities; they only recognized this abstract unmoving independence, which did not concern itself with enjoyment or the interests of an ordinary life. But true freedom does not consist in flying from enjoyment and the occupations which have as their concern other men and other ends in life; but in the fact that consciousness, though involved in all reality, stands above it and is free from it.
Antisthenes, an Athenian and friend of Socrates, was the first who professed to be a Cynic. He lived at Athens, and taught in a gymnasium, called Cynosarges, and he was called the “simple dog” (aplokuwn). His mother was Thracian, which was often made a reproach to him — a reproach which to us would be unmeaning. He replied that the mother of the gods was a Phrygian, and that the Athenians, who make so much of their being native born, are in no way nobler than the native fish and grasshoppers. He educated himself under Gorgias and Socrates, and went daily from the Piraeus to the city to hear Socrates. He wrote several works, the titles of which Diogenes mentions, and, according to all accounts, was esteemed a highly cultivated and upright man.
Antisthenes’ principles are simple, because the content of his teaching remains general; it is hence superfluous to say anything further about it. He gives general rules, which consist of such excellent maxims as that “virtue is self-sufficing, and requires nothing more than a Socratic strength of character. The good is excellent, the bad discreditable. Virtue consists of works, and does not require many reasons or theories. The end of man is a virtuous life. The wise man is contented with himself, for he possesses everything that others seem to possess. His own virtue satisfies him; he is at home all over the world. If he lacks fame. this is not to be regarded as an evil, but as a good,” &c. We here, once more, have the tedious talk about the wise man, which by the Stoics, as also by the Epicureans, was even more spun out and made more tedious. In this ideal, where the determination of the subject is in question, its satisfaction is placed in simplifying its needs. But when Antisthenes says that virtue does not require reasons and theories, he forgets that he himself acquired, through the cultivation of mind, its independence and the power of renouncing all that men desire. We see directly that virtue has now obtained another signification; it no longer is unconscious virtue, like the simple virtue of a citizen of a free people, who fulfils his duties to fatherland, place, and family, as these relationships immediately require. The consciousness which has gone beyond itself must, in order to become Mind, now lay hold of and comprehend all reality, i.e. be conscious of it as its own. But conditions such as are called by names like innocence or beauty of soul, are childish conditions, which are certainly to be praised in their own place, but from which man, because he is rational, must come forth, in order to re-create himself from the sublated immediacy. The freedom and independence of the Cynics, however, which consists only in lessening to the utmost the burden imposed by wants, is abstract, because it, as negative in character, has really to be a mere renunciation. Concrete freedom consists in maintaining an indifferent attitude towards necessities, not avoiding them, but in their satisfaction remaining free, and abiding in morality and in participation in the moral life of man. Abstract freedom, on the contrary, surrenders its morality, because the individual withdraws into his subjectivity, and is consequently an element of immorality.
Yet Antisthenes bears a high place in this Cynical philosophy. But the attitude he adopted comes very near to that of rudeness, vulgarity of conduct and shamelessness; and later on Cynicism passed into such. Hence comes the continual mockery of, and the constant jokes against the Cynics; and it is only their individual manners and individual strength of character which makes them interesting. It is even told of Antisthenes that he began to attribute value to external poverty of life. Cynicism adopted a simple wardrobe — a thick stick of wild olive, a ragged double mantle without any under garment, which served as bed by night, a beggar’s sack for the food that was required, and a cup with which to draw water.’ This was the costume with which these Cynics used to distinguish themselves. That on which they placed highest value was the simplification of their needs; it seems very plausible to say that this produces freedom. For needs are certainly dependence upon nature,, and this is antagonistic to freedom of spirit; the reduction of that dependence to a minimum is thus an idea which commends itself. But at the same time this minimum is itself undetermined. and if such stress is laid on thus merely following nature, it follows that too great a value is set on the needs of nature and on the renunciation of others. This is what is also evident in the monastic principle. The negative likewise contains an affirmative bias towards what is renounced; and the renunciation and the importance of what is renounced is thus made too marked. Socrates hence declares the clothing of the Cynics to be vanity. For “when Antisthenes turned outside a hole in his cloak, Socrates said to him, I see thy vanity through the hole in thy cloak.” Clothing is not a thing of rational import, but is regulated through needs that arise of themselves. In the North the clothing must be different from that in Central Africa; and in winter we do not wear cotton garments. Anything further is meaningless, and is left to chance and to opinion; in modern times, for instance, old-fashioned clothing had a meaning in relation to patriotism. The cut of my coat is decided by fashion, and the tailor sees to this; it is not my business to invent it, for mercifully others have done so for me. This dependence on custom and opinion is certainly better than were it to be on nature. But it is not essential that men should direct their understanding to this; indifference is the point of view which must reign, since the thing itself is undoubtedly perfectly indifferent. Men are proud that they can distinguish themselves in this, and try to make a fuss about it, but it is folly to set oneself against the fashion. In this matter I must hence not decide myself, nor may I draw it within the radius of my interests, but simply do what is expected of me.
Diogenes of Sinope, the best known Cynic, distinguished himself even more than Antisthenes by the life he led, as also by his biting and often clever hits, and bitter and sarcastic retorts; but he likewise received replies which wore often aimed as well. He is called the Dog, just as Aristippus was called by him the royal Dog, for Diogenes bore the same relation to idle boys as Aristippus did to kings. Diogenes is only famed for his manner of life; with him, as with the modern s, Cynicism came to signify more a mode of living than a philosophy. He confined himself to the barest necessities, and tried to make fun of others who did not think as he, and who laughed at his ways. That he threw away his cup when he saw a boy drinking out of his hands is well known. To have no wants, said Diogenes, is divine; to have as few as possible is to come nearest to the divine. He lived in all sorts of places, in the streets of Athens, in the market in tubs; and he usually resided and slept in Jupiter’s Stoa in Athens; he hence remarked that the Athenians had built him a splendid place of residence. Thus the Cynics thought not only of dress, but also of other wants. But a mode of life such as that followed by the Cynics, which professed to be a result of culture, is really conditioned by the culture of the mind. The Cynics were not anchorites; their consciousness was still essentially related to other consciousness. Antisthenes and Diogenes lived in Athens, and could only exist there. But in culture the mind is also directed to the most manifold needs, and to the methods of satisfying these. In more recent times the needs have much increased, and hence a division of the general wants into many particular wants and modes of satisfaction has arisen; this is the function of the activity of the understanding, and in its application luxury has a place. We may declaim against the morality of this, but in a State all talents, natural inclinations and customs must have free scope and be brought into exercise, and every individual may take what part he will, only he must in the main make for the universal, Thus the chief point is to place no greater value on such matters than what is demanded, or generally, to place no importance either on possessing or dispensing with them.
Of Diogenes we have only anecdotes to relate. In a voyage to Ægina he fell into the hands of sea-robbers, and was to be sold as a slave in Crete. Being asked what he understood, he replied, “To command men,” and told the herald to call out, ‘Who will buy a ruler?’ A certain Xeniades of Corinth bought him, and he instructed his sons.
There are very many stories told of his residence in Athens. There he presented a contrast in his rudeness and disdainfulness to Aristippus’ fawning philosophy. Aristippus set no value on his enjoyments any more than on his wants, but Diogenes did so on his poverty. Diogenes was once washing his greens when Aristippus passed by, and he called out, “lf you knew how to wash your greens yourself, you would not run after kings.” Aristippus replied very aptly, “If you knew how to associate with men, you would not wash greens.” In Plato’s house he once walked on the beautiful carpets with muddy feet, saying, “I tread on the pride of Plato.” “Yes, but with another pride,” replied Plato, as pointedly. When Diogenes stood wet through with rain, and the bystanders pitied him, Plato said, “If you wish to compassionate him, just go away. His vanity is in showing himself off and exciting surprise; it is what made him act in this way, and the reason would not exist if he were left alone.” Once when he got a thrashing, as anecdotes often tell, he laid a large plaster on his wounds, and wrote on it the names of those who had struck him in order that they might be blamed of all. When youths standing by him said, “We are afraid that you will bite us,” he replied, “Don’t mind, a dog never eats turnips.” At a feast a guest threw bones to him like a dog, and he went up to him and behaved to him like a dog. He gave a good answer to a tyrant who asked him from what metal statues should be cast: “From the metal from which the statues of Harmodius and Aristogiton were cast.” He tried to eat raw meat, which did not, however, agree with him; he could not digest it, and died at a very great age, as he lived — in the streets.
Antisthenes and Diogenes, as already mentioned, were men of great culture. The succeeding Cynics are not any the less conspicuous by their exceeding shamelessness, but they were, generally speaking, nothing more than swinish beggars, who found their satisfaction in the insolence which they showed to others. They are worthy of no further consideration in Philosophy, and they deserve in its full the name of dogs, which was early given to them; for the dog is a shameless animal. Crates, of Thebes, and Hipparchia, a Cynic, celebrated their nuptials in the public market. This independence of which the Cynics boasted, is really Subjection, for while every other sphere of active life contains the affirmative element of free intelligence, this means the denying oneself the sphere in which the element of freedom can be enjoyed.
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