How to explain the purpose of life? How to understand the world? What destiny is? All these concepts may be explained by the only one science. It is philosophy. But depending on the various people, there are different thoughts and interpretations. The combination of philosophers who follow one certain belief is called a school of philosophy. Let’s find out the major schools of philosophy that affected and influenced the society.

Cynicism as a school of philosophy had appeared in ancient Greece. The philosophers believed that purpose is to live a life of Virtue by Nature. The devotion to Nature, as an eternal power, meant to reject all the materially-minded concepts, such as wealth, health, glory, and power. People devoted to this philosophy chose to live without personal property. Also, the Cynics neglected the traditional disciplines, such as geometry, music, and astronomy, which they characterized as useless. In their view, such theoretical pursuits distract humankind from its proper study – the human being. The movement of Cynics was frank and direct.

Researchers distinguish two phases of the movement: early Cynicism and its reception in the Roman Empire. The founder of this philosophy is traditionally regarded to be Antisthenes, who had been one of the most crucial followers of Socrates. He tried to popularize a life of poverty, but his preaches also covered dialogue, language, and literature in addition to the pure Ethics which is the later Cynics focused on.

Antisthenes also had his fans one of the greatest was Diogenes of Sinope. The philosopher lived in a tub in Athens. He is regarded as, the archetypal Cynic philosopher. He devoted his life to self-sufficiency, austerity, and shamelessness. Additionally, Diogenes committed himself in the most thoroughgoing way imaginable – defacing the currency. His mission was to scratch out, remove, reject and revalue, not the coins themselves, but the values and customs that underpinned all transactions in Greek culture. These values were detrimental to human flourishing, and Diogenes’ rejection of them had to be visible, public, theatrical and shocking if people were to notice him and learn anything from him.

Another famous and respected Cynic philosopher was Crates of Thebes, who donated his considerable wealth and could peaceably live a life of poverty. Several other prominent figures of Cynicism include Onesicritus, Hipparachia, Metrocles, Bion of Borysthenes, Menippus, Cercidas, and Teles.

The Decline of Cynicism, the Rise of Stoicism

came a decline of Cynicism as philosophical movement. However, it is still discussable question whether Cynicism was a philosophy or just a way of life. In the 3d century, B.C. started a new epoch of philosophical thought – Stoicism.

Stoicism was one of the most significant schools of philosophy in antiquity, and its influence has persisted to the present day. The Stoics offer a distinctive and challenging view of both the world as a whole and individual human being. They present the human being as a thoroughly rational animal, for whom violent emotions are the product of errors in reasoning.

The school was founded by Zeno of Citium. The school-members met informally at the Painted Stoa, a covered colonnade on the northern edge of the Agora (marketplace) in Athens. Zeno attracted a large audience, and after his death, his pupil Cleanthes continued the movement. Stoicism covers a complex of philosophical theories in the ontology (theory of what exists), epistemology (theory of knowledge) and ethics.

The Stoics developed a materialist ontology in which God permeates the entire cosmos as a material force. They claimed that virtue alone is sufficient for happiness and that external goods and circumstances are irrelevant. The Stoics claimed that our emotions are merely the product of mistaken judgments and can be eradicated by a form of cognitive psychology. Famous Stoics include Demetrius, Demonax, Oenomaus, Peregrinus Proteus and Sallustius.

An interesting fact, some of the Cynicism theories were used by early Christians. You have read about basic schools of philosophy in Ancient Greece.