“Antisthenes of Athens” author Susan Prince on the Virtue of Cynicism

by Shaun Manning on November 8, 2012

Cynicism may be an unexpected route to happiness–or so says Susan Prince, who presented a paper on the ancient Cynic Antisthenes at the Unisa Classics Colloquium last month. Prince is the author Antisthenes of Athens, forthcoming from the Press in late 2013 or early 2014.

“Research by the University of Cincinnati’s Susan Prince shows that despite the historical perception of the ancient Cynics as harsh, street-corner prophets relentlessly condemning all passersby and decrying society’s lack of virtue, these Greek philosophers, indirectly descended from Socratic teaching, weren’t all doom and gloom. They actually might have espoused a shortcut to happiness,” reports Tom Robinette at Phys.org. The article quotes Prince as saying, “They’re seen as misanthropes and as sloppy and dirty people who want to cut down the elite. … But there’s a positive strand that needs to be recovered, and I’m really going to punch that hard with my research.”

Prince’s paper, entitled “Antisthenes and the Short Route to Happiness,” was presented at the colloquium in Praetoria, South Africa, at the end of October. More information on Antisthenes, the Cynics, and Prince’s research can be found in the Phys.org article. Antisthenes of Athens is not yet available for preorder, but keep an eye on the University of Michigan Press site later next year!

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