ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Greek Philosopher: Antisthenes

Updated on December 8, 2016

444 to 371 BC

Greek philosopher, founder of the school of philosophy called Cynicism. He was born in Athens and became a disciple of Socrates.

Antisthenes taught in the gymnasium known as the Cynosarges outside Athens; his followers were called Cynics, probably after the Cynosarges.

Antisthenes regarded happiness as attainable only through virtue. He denounced art and literature, condemned luxury and comfort, and extolled hard work. Antisthenes' most famous pupil was the Greek Cynic philosopher Diogenes.


Doctrine of a school of Greek philosophers founded during the second half of the 4th century BC.

Although Diogenes is generally regarded as the founder, there has been some debate as to whether it may not been Antisthenes, a pupil of Socrates.

According to Aristotle, Diogenes was a well-known figure, nicknamed "Kyon", the Greek word for dog. The word Cynic may be derived from Kyon, or from Kynosrages, a gymnasium where Antisthenes taught.

The Cynics contended that civilization, with its attendant ills, was an artificial condition, as opposed to a natural one, and must be shunned. Hence, they advocated a return to natural life, which they equated with a simple life. That is, man could be completely happy although lacking luxuries of any kind, if he were truly self-sufficient, having all that he needed within himself.

It follows that the Cynics were exceedingly ascetic, regarding abstemiousness as the means to human liberation. They did not propose gratification of natural appetites so much as non-gratification of artificial ones.

Diogenes' pupil. Crate of Thems, had some influence on Zeno, the Cyprian philosopher and founder of Stoicism.

The general attitude of the Cynics, as distinguished from that of the Stoics, is that the former viewed the external, material world with contempt; the Stoics with indifference.

Although not an important philosophical school, the Cynics attracted attention by their eccentricities and insolence, and their name is given to those distrustful of human nature and motives.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is the life I have permanently looked for: wise and proud. Seriously it's open to being taken as an opinion if that's what Antisthenes thinks. But it's so true, the daintiness of beauty is so simple: chocolate, wine, and car-driving, alcohol, etc are not happy of themselves, they lead to obesity, poisoning and polluting the environment, and the pleasures of reading are oftentimes reading useless books and believing phoney nonsense and useless logic that doesn't solve problems, and valuables are a waste of money, for stealing is promoted and you lose love and life quite easily by possessing it or having it stolen. It has to be true, furthermore that leads to a subconscious desire in Antisthenes to think matter is evil, for a life of luxury and comfort is often the pursuit of greed and no exercise, and one is truly happy when superior values are found not in valuables, money, and luxuries, but in nature, simplicity and virtue, and only virtue leads to a good, happy, honest, true, and useful life to save money, be environmentalistic and save resources, as these thoughts are so simple to know yet plentiful once learned.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This isn't a name just for fun, but I rarely change philosophies for the secondary reason that they must be changed to fit more closely to a good way of life. No it ain't anti-intellectual per se, but cynicism has an aesthetic beauty of which waste of vocals and electricity (listening to music) is only fine in small amounts, but I must be clear with my relatives of my beliefs, by saying that these pleasures: chocolate, reading, car-driving are not right, and explain that true virtue is that of Antisthenes. I'm the former epicurean and I want to be a cynic.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)