- (Gk., kynikos, dog-like) The ‘dog philosophers’, probably called after the nickname of Diogenes of Sinope, their most prominent member and founder. In the ancient world, dogs were symbols of lack of shame. For Cynics the virtuous life consisted in an independence achieved by mastery over one's desires and needs: happiness demands that one desires nothing and hence lacks nothing. To encourage people to renounce the desires engendered by civilization and convention the Cynics waged a crusade of antisocial mockery, hoping to show by their own example the hollow illusions of social life. For some of the results see Diogenes, Crates, Hipparchia.
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.
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