By Ava Chitwood
How does one die through philosophy? In Diogenes Laertius, philosophers bounce into volcanoes, bury themselves in dung, get eaten by means of canines, hold themselves, drown, and vanish into skinny air -- occasionally all in one lifetime. yet what occurs once we glance past the glorious and absurd to ascertain the actual ways in which the philosophers' lives and deaths are recounted?
Ava Chitwood's reexamination of Diogenes Laertius's philosophical biographies opens a brand new window at the highbrow tradition and context within which the paintings of philosophers like Empedocles, Heraclitus, and Democritus was once learn, bought, and transmitted. Chitwood's research additionally indicates a technique for knowing the interaction among biography and philosophy and for comparing biographical sources.
While Chitwood's strategy combines the disciplines of classical philology and philosophy, dying through Philosophy isn't meant exclusively for the expert. This research bargains the fashionable reader a desirable, clean, and wonderful view of the traditional literary and philosophical world.
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Extra info for Death by Philosophy: The Biographical Tradition in the Life and Death of the Archaic Philosophers Empedocles, Heraclitus, and Democritus
For they develop into extra miserly and extra acquisitive, and compete with one another. And funds made in universal don’t misery up to person ones, nor the source of revenue cheer, yet a ways much less so. (fr. 279) τοις παισι µαλιστα χρ η των ανυστων δατεισθαι τα χρηµατα, και αµα επιµελεσθαι αυτων, µη τι ατηρον ποιεωσι δια χειρος εχοντες αµα µεν γαρ πολλον ειδοτεροι γιγνονται ες τα χρηµατα και προθυµοτεροι κτασθαι, και αγωνιζονται αλληλοισιν. εν γαρ τωι ξυνωι τα τελευµενα ουκ ανιαι ωσπερ ιδιηι ουδ ευθυµει τα επικτωµενα, αλλα πολλωι ησσον. Democritus’ father, unfortunately, turns out to have acted with no the good thing about his son’s recommendation, and Democritus’ prediction has come precise. within the anecdote, his brothers became extra miserly and acquisitive; their “craftiness” manifests the reality of Democritus’ statements. fifty one The brothers’ anecdotal greed was once steered to the biographers, without doubt, through these of Democritus’ statements that handle enmity in the kin. 108 D E AT H B Y P H I L O S O P H Y sixteen. The hatred of kinsmen is much extra painful than that of strangers. (fr. ninety) η των συγγενων εχθρη της των οθνειων χαλεπωτερη µαλα. 17. now not all kin are pals, in basic terms those that agree approximately what's constructive. (fr. 107) ιλοι ου παντες ο ι ξυγγενεες, αλλ ο ι ξυµωνεοντες περι του ξυµεροντος. within the anecdote approximately department of the property (citation 10), the biographers exhibit Democritus tricked and cheated out of his fair proportion via his brothers. this means not just his brothers’ guile, yet a definite impractical, summary, or imprecise trait in Democritus’ personality; he did, in the end, allow himself be cheated, no matter if for a extra excellent, much less mercenary, finish. those characteristics are introduced out much more strongly within the subsequent anecdote, that's additionally set between his kin. 18. Democritus was once so industrious that, appropriating a bit residence within the backyard, he close himself away there. as soon as, even if his father led in a bull for sacrifice and tied it up in that very spot, Democritus was once now not conscious of it for a substantial time, until eventually his father, rousing him for the sacrifice, instructed him concerning the bull. (DL nine. 36) λεγει δε οτι τοσουτον ην ιλοπονος, ωστε του περικηπου δωµατιον τι αποτεµοµενος κατακλειστος ην και ποτε του πατρος αυτου προς θυσιαν βουν αγαγοντος και αυτοθι προσδησαντος, ικανον χρονον µη γνωναι, εως αυτον εκει νος διαναστησας προασει της θυσιας και τα περι τον βουν διηγησατο. This or zeal for learn and paintings is remarked upon a number of instances within the biography. Diogenes Laertius takes the anecdote of quotation 18 from Demetrius of Magnesia, and follows it with a moment tale from an analogous resource. 19. it sort of feels, Demetrius says, that Democritus went to Athens and used to be now not longing for acceptance, simply because he despised reputation. And he knew of Socrates, yet was once now not identified to him, for as he says, “I went to Athens and not anyone knew me. ” (fr. 116 ap. DL nine. 36) Democritus 109 δοκει δε, ησι, και Αθηναζε ελθει ν και µη σπουδασαι γνωσθηναι δοξης καταρονων. και ε ιδεναι µεν Σωκρατη, αγνοεισθαι δε υπ αυτου “ηλθον γαρ, ησιν, ε ις Αθηνας και ουτις µε εγνωκεν.