Ideals of Conduct: An Exposition of Moral Attitudes

By John Dashiell Stoops | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
THE DISASSOCIATION OF THE INNER LIFE FROM THE STATE, THE FAMILY, PROPERTY AND THE BODY

The Inner Life and the State

The Cynic and Cyrenaic schools of philosophy, both springing from the immediate disciples of Socrates, were negative in their relations toward society. The Cynic philosophy, founded by Antisthenes, regarded intellectual possessions as the only good. Everyone is familiar with the example of Diogenes. The family, property, the state, the wise man could do without; for the wise have as few wants as possible. According to Aristippus, who founded the Cyrenaic school, pleasure was the end of life; this the reason of the Cyrenaic school declared to be the only object of conduct. About one hundred years after Socrates' death, these two schools or tendencies were developed into definite systems, for Stoicism, founded by Zeno, was an outgrowth of the Cynic teaching; and the philosophy of Epicurus had its source in Aristippus. In the Epicurean view of life, pleasure, through rational self- control, was the object of all endeavor. The only necessary form of social life was friendship; family ties and political offices were affairs that threatened the individual's pleasure. The Stoic, finding in reason the

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