Antisthenes of Athens

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Antisthenes of Athens


Born circa 435 B.C.; died 370 B.C. Ancient Greek philosopher and founder of the school of Cynics.

Antisthenes was a student of the Sophist Gorgias and later of Socrates, after whose death he founded his own school. The highest criterion of truth was seen by Antisthenes in virtue, and he considered the goal of cognition and philosophy to be the joining together of the ethical and the natural in an “autarky,” or independence from social influences and human institutions. Connected with Antisthenes’ ethical sensualism is his view of general concepts as abstractions of concrete things fixated in words. Antisthenes opposed the idea, traditional since the time of the Eleatic School, of dividing the world into orders of being accessible to the mind (“by truth”) and to the senses (“by opinion”). In this Antisthenes anticipated the Aristotelian criticism of Plato’s ideas.


Antisthenis fragmenta. Turin, 1842.
Fragmenta philosophorum graecorum, vol. 2. Paris, 1867.


Istoriia filosofii, vol. 1 [Moscow,] 1940. Pages 146–149.
Gomperz, T. Grechetskie mysliteli, vol. 2. St. Petersburg, 1913. (Translated from German.)
Chappuis, C. Antisthène. Paris, 1854.
Duemmler, F. Antisthenica. Halle, 1882.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Navia, Antisthenes of Athens: Setting the World Aright.