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Antisthenes of Athens | Lucian, Hermotimus 13-15

Ly . I thank you for it, Hermotimus, by your name-God Hermes.

Now, is there only one road to philosophy - the Stoic way? they tell me there are a great many other philosophers; is that so?

Her . Certainly - Peripatetics, Epicureans, Platonists, followers of Diogenes, Antisthenes, Pythagoras, and more yet.

Ly . Quite so; numbers of them. Now, are their doctrines the same, or different?

Her . Entirely different.

Ly . But the truth, I presume, is bound to be in one of them, and not in all, as they differ?

Her . Certainly.

Ly . Then, as you love me, answer this: when you first went in pursuit of philosophy, you found many gates wide open; what induced you to pass the others by, and go in at the Stoic gate? Why did you assume that that was the only true one, which would set you on the straight road to Virtue, while the rest all opened on blind alleys? What was the test you applied then ? Please abolish your present self, the self which is now instructed, or half-instructed, and better able to distinguish between good and bad than we outsiders, and answer in your then character of a layman, with no advantage over me as I am now.

Her . I cannot tell what you are driving at.

Ly . Oh, there is nothing recondite about it. There are a great many philosophers - let us say Plato, Aristotle, Antisthenes, and your spiritual fathers, Chrysippus, Zeno, and all the rest of them; what was it that induced you, leaving the rest alone, to pick out the school you did from among them all, and pin your philosophic faith to it? Were you favoured like Chaerephon with a revelation from Apollo? Did he tell you the Stoics were the best of men, and send you to their school? I dare say he recommends different philosophers to different persons, according to their individual needs?

Her . Nothing of the kind, Lycinus; I never consulted him upon it.

Source: The Works of Lucian of Samosata. Translated by Fowler, H W and F G. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. 1905.

antisthenes_of_athens/lucian_hermotimus.txt · Last modified: 2014/03/02 14:33 by frank