Antisthenes: Practical Socratic Ethics

Filozofia 65 (3):239-248 (2010)
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Abstract

The paper gives an outline of Antisthenes’ ethics. The first part questions the accounts of modern historians, who try to include Antisthenes in one or another philosophical schools of that time . In the second part it shows the affiliations between Antisthenes´ thinking and socratic tradition: It comes out, that the interconnection between the former and sophistics and kynicism might have come into existence as late as in the later doxographic accounts of his doctrine. The third part deals in more details with the writings Kyros and Heracles, which exemplify a mimetic depiction of the way of acting of a socratic sapient. The analysis of the preserved fragments shows, that the Antisthenian ethics is practical, differing from the Platonic conception of practice in that in it moral knowledge and moral action became one. Thus it represents a non-theoretical expansion of socratic ethics and as such cannot be grasped by the classical approaches which draw a sharp line between socratics and sophistics

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