The Cyrenaics
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Author(s): Ugo Zilioli  
ISBN: 1844657639
ISBN-13: 9781844657636
Publication Date: 03 Oct 2012
Pages: 240 (234 x 156 mm)
Format: Paperback
Published Price: £22.99
Discount Price: £18.39
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The Cyrenaic school of philosophy (named after its founder Aristippus’ native city of Cyrene in North Africa) flourished in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. Ugo Zilioli’s book provides the first book-length introduction to the school in English. The book begins by introducing the main figures of the Cyrenaic school beginning with Aristippus and by setting them into their historical context. Once the reader is familiar with those figures and with the genealogy of the school, the book offers an overview of ancient and modern interpretations of the Cyrenaics, to provide readers with alternative accounts of the doctrines they endorsed and of the role they played in the context of ancient thought. Finally, the book offers a reconstruction of Cyrenaic philosophy and shows how the ethical side of their speculation connected with the epistemology and ontology they endorsed and that, as a result, the Cyrenaics were able to offer a quite sophisticated philosophy. Indeed, Zilioli demonstrates that they represented, in ancient philosophy, an important and original metaphysical position and alternative to the kind of realism endorsed by Plato and Aristotle.

"A pleasure to read. A welcome re-evaluation of an interesting group of philosophers often relegated to the sidelines . . . the book becomes especially interesting to Platonists because of the line taken by Zilioli, finding traces of a developed Cyrenaic philosophy in such Platonic works as Theaetetus and Philebus." – Harold Tarrant, International Journal of the Platonic Tradition

"The Cyrenaics taps into streams of fourth-century philosophical thought that have not received nearly the attention they deserve; it offers challenging new perspectives on the wider context in which Aristotle and the early Academy were working, and a stimulating reminder of just how rich the legacy of Socrates was. It is essential reading for all students of ancient philosophy – and a special provocation to anyone tempted to write as if 'Classical' thought is exhausted by Plato and his school." – George Boys-Stones, Professor of Ancient Philosophy, Durham University

"Aristippus of Cyrene, a contemporary of Plato and an associate of Socrates, was not the philosophically easy-going hedonist he is commonly thought to have been. Critical scrutiny of the ancient testimonia enables Ugo Zilioli to piece together a distinctive theory of perception and reality that takes to extremes the relativism inherent in the theory of perception that Plato took over from Democritus. The Cyrenaics will be compulsive reading for anyone who hopes to grasp the wide range of philosophical opinions that vied for attention in the two golden centuries that followed the death of Socrates." – Denis O'Brien, former Directeur de recherche, Centre Nationale de Recherche Scientifique, Paris

"The Cyrenaics aims to locate what used to be labelled dismissively as a 'minor Socratic school' within the development of metaphysical and ethical thinking in the fourth century BCE. The book is an important contribution to the continuing rehabilitation of Hellenistic philosophy, using the sparse but tatalising evidence about the thinking of Aristippus and his successors to show why later generations, including our own, may have been wrong to dismiss them as 'minor' – but right to treat them as 'Socratics', however much Socrates himself would probably (like Plato) have disapproved of their conclusions." – C. J. Rowe, Emeritus Professor of Greek, Durham University

Ugo Zilioli is Marie Curie Research Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Pisa, Italy.

1. Aristippus
2. Plato's testimony: the Theaetetus
3. Metaphysics: idealism and indeterminacy
4. Epistemology: affections and perceptions
5. Language and ethics: conventionalism and anti-eudemonism
6. Conclusion
Further Reading

Also available in Hardback (1844652904), priced 50.00

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