|3. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of The Philosophers, 2.7, 2.68-2.69, 2.73, 2.78, 2.91, 2.93 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE) Tagged with subjects: •wisdom (sophia), aristippus on Found in books: Wolfsdorf (2020), Early Greek Ethics, 394, 395
| 2.7. For, when they accused him of neglecting it, he replied, Why then do you not look after it? And at last he went into retirement and engaged in physical investigation without troubling himself about public affairs. When some one inquired, Have you no concern in your native land? Gently, he replied, I am greatly concerned with my fatherland, and pointed to the sky.He is said to have been twenty years old at the invasion of Xerxes and to have lived seventy-two years. Apollodorus in his Chronology says that he was born in the 70th Olympiad, and died in the first year of the 88th Olympiad. He began to study philosophy at Athens in the archonship of Callias when he was twenty; Demetrius of Phalerum states this in his list of archons; and at Athens they say he remained for thirty years. 2.68. Diogenes, washing the dirt from his vegetables, saw him passing and jeered at him in these terms, If you had learnt to make these your diet, you would not have paid court to kings, to which his rejoinder was, And if you knew how to associate with men, you would not be washing vegetables. Being asked what he had gained from philosophy, he replied, The ability to feel at ease in any society. Being reproached for his extravagance, he said, If it were wrong to be extravagant, it would not be in vogue at the festivals of the gods.Being once asked what advantage philosophers have, he replied, Should all laws be repealed, we shall go on living as we do now. 2.69. When Dionysius inquired what was the reason that philosophers go to rich men's houses, while rich men no longer visit philosophers, his reply was that the one know what they need while the other do not. When he was reproached by Plato for his extravagance, he inquired, Do you think Dionysius a good man? and the reply being in the affirmative, And yet, said he, he lives more extravagantly than I do. So that there is nothing to hinder a man living extravagantly and well. To the question how the educated differ from the uneducated, he replied, Exactly as horses that have been trained differ from untrained horses. One day, as he entered the house of a courtesan, one of the lads with him blushed, whereupon he remarked, It is not going in that is dangerous, but being unable to go out. 2.73. Being once compelled by Dionysius to enunciate some doctrine of philosophy, It would be ludicrous, he said, that you should learn from me what to say, and yet instruct me when to say it. At this, they say, Dionysius was offended and made him recline at the end of the table. And Aristippus said, You must have wished to confer distinction on the last place. To some one who boasted of his diving, Are you not ashamed, said he, to brag of that which a dolphin can do? Being asked on one occasion what is the difference between the wise man and the unwise, Strip them both, said he, and send them among strangers and you will know. To one who boasted that he could drink a great deal without getting drunk, his rejoinder was, And so can a mule. 2.78. But some make his answer to have been, When I needed wisdom, I went to Socrates; now that I am in need of money, I come to you. He used to complain of mankind that in purchasing earthenware they made trial whether it rang true, but had no regular standard by which to judge life. Others attribute this remark to Diogenes. One day Dionysius over the wine commanded everybody to put on purple and dance. Plato declined, quoting the line:I could not stoop to put on women's robes.Aristippus, however, put on the dress and, as he was about to dance, was ready with the repartee:Even amid the Bacchic revelryTrue modesty will not be put to shame. 2.91. They do not accept the doctrine that every wise man lives pleasantly and every fool painfully, but regard it as true for the most part only. It is sufficient even if we enjoy but each single pleasure as it comes. They say that prudence is a good, though desirable not in itself but on account of its consequences; that we make friends from interested motives, just as we cherish any part of the body so long as we have it; that some of the virtues are found even in the foolish; that bodily training contributes to the acquisition of virtue; that the sage will not give way to envy or love or superstition, since these weaknesses are due to mere empty opinion; he will, however, feel pain and fear, these being natural affections; 2.93. They also held that nothing is just or honourable or base by nature, but only by convention and custom. Nevertheless the good man will be deterred from wrong-doing by the penalties imposed and the prejudices that it would arouse. Further that the wise man really exists. They allow progress to be attainable in philosophy as well as in other matters. They maintain that the pain of one man exceeds that of another, and that the senses are not always true and trustworthy.The school of Hegesias, as it is called, adopted the same ends, namely pleasure and pain. In their view there is no such thing as gratitude or friendship or beneficence, because it is not for themselves that we choose to do these things but simply from motives of interest, apart from which such conduct is nowhere found.