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The cynics were an ancient school of philosophy in Greece and Rome who practiced cynicism, in which the purpose of life was to live in agreement with nature and follow virtue. Cynics rejected materialism and pursued lives of simplicity, free of possessions. Paper Masters can compose a custom written research paper on Cynics that follows your guidelines.

The Greek philosopher Anisthenes, a follower of Socrates, founded Cynicism. The word “cynic” comes from a Greek word meaning “dog” or “dog-like” and was used as an insult. Diogenes of Sinope, a famous early cynic, lived in a tub on the streets of Athens. Cynics, in the most extreme, were characterized by the following:

  • Did not hold property
  • Rejected all of society’s conventions
  • Lived free of possessions
  • Pursued lives of simplicity

Cynics Held Six Principles

Cynics held six principles. First, mental clarity was the goal in life. Second, this is to be obtained by living in accord with nature. Third, ignorance is caused by false judgments. Fourth, human happiness results from self-sufficiency and an indifference to life. Fifth, aesthetic practices can lead to self-sufficiency, and sixth, cynics reject the norms of society.

In Greece and Rome, cynicism became popular among those who believed that only adherence to virtue as necessary for happiness. Cynics were often seen as idealized Stoics, but the philosophy died about by the 5th century AD. Revivals of ancient philosophy in the 19th century tended to stress the more negative aspects of the cynics, which is how the term has come to mean a disbelief in the sincerity of a person’s motivations.

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