As regards the members of the school, the separate articles On Antisthenes, Crates, Diogenes and Demetrius contain all biographical information.
The leading earlier Cynics were Antisthenes, Diogenes of Sinope, Crates of Thebes, and Zeno; in the later Roman period, the chief names are Demetrius (the friend of Seneca), Oenomaus and Demonax.
Antisthenes was a pupil of Socrates, from whom he imbibed the fundamental ethical precept that virtue, not pleasure, is the end of existence.
Antisthenes adopted this principle in its most literal sense, and proceeded to explain "knowledge" in the narrowest terms of practical action and decision, excluding from the conception everything except the problem of individual will realizing itself in the sphere of ordinary existence.
In logic Antisthenes was troubled by the problem of the One and the Many.
"A horse," said Antisthenes, "I can see, but horsehood I cannot see."
But they undoubtedly maintained the spirit of Antisthenes unimpaired and held an honourable place in Roman thought.
ANTISTHENES (c. 444-365 B.C.), the founder of the Cynic school of philosophy, was born at Athens of a Thracian mother, a fact which may account for the extreme boldness of his attack on conventional thought.
The Cynosarges, from earliest times a sanctuary of Heracles, later a celebrated gymnasium and the school of Antisthenes The Cyno- Cynic, has hitherto been generally supposed to on the eastern slope of Lycabettus; its situation, however, has been fixed by D6rpfeld at a point a little to the south of the Olympieum, on the left bank of the Ilissus.
Escape from this impasse, and among his Socratic contemporaries he seems to have singled out Antisthenes 4 as most in need of refutation.
Antisthenes, starting with the doctrine of identity without difference, recognizes as the only exthenes.
Euclides 7 found no difficulty in fixing Antisthenes' mode of illustrating his simple elements by comparison, and therewith perhaps the " induction " of Socrates, with the dilemma; so far as the example is dissimilar, the comparison is invalid; so far as it is similar, it is useless.
Between Euclides and Antisthenes the Socratic induction and universal definition were alike discredited from the point of view of the Eleatic logic. It is with the other point of doctrine that Plato comes to grips, that which allows of a certainty or knowledge consisting in an analysis of a compound into simple elements themselves not known.
A whole which is more than its parts is from Antisthenes' point of view inconceivable.
Sqq., where, however, Antisthenes is not named, and the reference to him is sometimes doubted.
But if Antisthenes is to be answered, a further step must be taken.
Amongst the Socratic schools, and canonized Antisthenes and Diogenes; while reverence for Socrates was the tie which united to them such an accomplished writer upon lighter ethical topics, as the versatile Persaeus, who, at the capital of Antigonus Gonatas, with hardly anything of the professional philosopher about him, reminds us of Xenophon, or even Prodicus.
Doubtless, at the first founding of the school Zeno himself and Zeno's pupils were inspired with this hope; they emulated the Cynics Antisthenes and Diogenes, who never shrank out of modesty from the name and its responsibilities.
Posidonius left even Socrates, Diogenes and Antisthenes in the state of progress towards virtue.
Heraclides Lembus, Agatharchides and Antisthenes of Rhodes are names to us and nothing more.
It would seem then that, not to Antisthenes only, but to Plato also, Zeno's paradox of predication was a substantial difficulty; and we shall be disposed to give Zeno credit accordingly for his perception of its importance.
Among these were Antisthenes the Cynic and Aristippus of Cyrene.
It is by their recognition of the duty of living consistently by theory instead of mere impulse or custom, their sense of the new value given to life through this rationalization, and their effort to maintain the easy, calm, unwavering firmness of the Socratic temper, that we recognize both Antisthenes and Aristippus as " Socratic men," in spite of the completeness with which they divided their master's positive doctrine into systems diametrically opposed.
Of their contrasted principles we may perhaps say that, while Aristippus took the most obvious logical step for reducing the teaching of Socrates to clear dogmatic unity, Antisthenes certainly drew the most natural inference from the Socratic life.
Far otherwise was the Socraticspirit understood by Antisthenes and the Cynics.
Exhibited, not in the skilful pursuit, but in the rational disregard of pleasure, - in the clear apprehension of the intrinsic worthlessness of this and most other objects of men's ordinary desires and aims. Pleasure, indeed, Antisthenes declared roundly to be an evil; " Better madness than a surrender to pleasure."