If You Love South Park, Learn About the Originals–The Ancient Cynics

What kinds of philosophers choose the name for their school of philosophy from the word for dogs? The cynics, who were basically social-convention flouting performance artists and proto-south park scatalogical/philosophical satirists of their time. Learn plenty about them in a very accessible 22 minutes, filled with charming anecdotes. An ancient philosophy specialist and friend of mine recommended to me the book The Cynics: The Cynic Movement in Antiquity and Its Legacy for more on the Cynics.

One special thing I learned from the podcast, Diogenes once carried a lantern into the marketplace during broad daylight saying he was looking for a human being and insisting he could find none. I infer this must have been the inspiration for Nietzsche’s madman carrying a lantern in the broad daylight seeking God and then claiming God is dead in The Gay Science section 125.

Via Andrew Taggart

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • peterh

    I’d always hear it that Diogenes was looking for “an honest person.” The point, however, remains undimmed. heh

  • Mary C. Young

    I’ve been reading a lot of the texts of the skeptics for my Ancient Medicine seminar. It’s amazing, literally amazing, how many modern parallels they have with the atheist movement. I guess the only real difference is that there is never really a denouncement of imperial cult religion as such, but the arguments against superstition, beliefs, rituals, myths etc. are very much the same AND they are very funny!

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    Diogenes was probably looking for whoever killed Kenny. The bastard.


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