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Me, I'm dishonest, and you can always trust a dishonest man to be dishonest. Honestly, it's the honest ones you have to watch out for. Votes: 4. An honest man is always. Votes: 3.


Diogenes of Sinope l. He rejected the concept of "manners" as a lie and advocated complete truthfulness at all times and under any circumstance. He was most likely a student of the philosopher Antisthenes l.

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He made a home for himself in Athens in the agoraliving in a rain barrel and surviving off gifts from admirers, foraging, and begging. Diogenes famous "search for an honest man" was his way of exposing the hypocrisy and sham of polite societal conventions.

By holding a literal light up to people's faces in broad daylight, he forced them to recognize their participation in practices that prevented them from living truthfully. He inspired others to follow his example, most notably Crates of Thebes l.

Diogenes is still highly regarded in the present day for his commitment to truth and living according to his beliefs. Diogenes came to Athens where he met Antisthenes one of many of Socrates' students who established his own school who at first refused him as a student but, eventually, was worn down by his persistence and accepted him.

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He was so ardent in his beliefs that he lived them very publicly in the market place of Athens. He took up residence in a large wine cask some sources claim it was an abandoned bathtubowned nothing, and seems to have lived off the charity of others. He owned a cup which served also has a bowl for food but threw it away when he saw a boy drinking water from his hands and realized one did not even need a cup to sustain oneself. This much can be said with more or less assurance but any other details become increasingly uncertain owing to the many fables which grew up around Diogenes and his time in Athens.

Even the claim that he was Antisthenes' student has been challenged as a fable. He was known for brutal honesty in conversation, paid no attention to any kind of etiquette regarding social class, and seems to have had no problem urinating or even masturbating in public and, when criticized, pointed out that such activities were normal and that everyone engaged in them but hid in private what he did openly.


According to Diogenes, society was an artificial contrivance set up True honest man looking human beings which did not accord well with truth or virtue and could not in any way make someone a good and decent human being; and so follows the famous story of Diogenes holding the light up to the faces of passers-by in the market place looking for an honest man or a true human being.

Everyone, he claimed, was trapped in this make-believe world which they insisted was reality and, because of this, people were living in a kind of dream state. He was not the first philosopher to make this claim; Heraclitus, Xenophanes, and, most famously, Socrates all pointed out the need for human beings to wake from their dream state to full awareness of themselves and the world.

Plato's famous Allegory of the Cave is devoted to this very theme. Diogenes, however, confronted the citizens of Athens daily with their lifelessness and shallow values, emulating his hero Socrates whom he never met but would have learned of from Antisthenes. Although it seems many people thought he was simply mentally ill, Diogenes would have claimed he was living a completely honest life and others should have the courage to do the same. This behavior of Diogenes was informed in part by the belief that if an act is not shameful in private then it should not be shameful in public.

The rules by which people lived, then, were non-sensical in that they forced people to behave in a way different from how they would naturally have behaved.

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Manners and etiquette were both regarded by him as staples of the false life in the dream world and should not be indulged in. Accordingly, he insulted his social superiors regularly, including Plato and Alexander the Great. When Plato defined a human being as "a featherless biped", and was praised for the cleverness of the definition, Diogenes plucked a chicken, brought it to Plato's Academy, and declared, "Behold - Plato's human being. This is not the only time Diogenes insulted Plato publicly but is the best known incident. In the case of Alexander the Great, both Diogenes Laertius l.

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He found Diogenes resting in the sunlight, introduced himself, and asked if there was anything he could do for him. Diogenes replied, "Yes. Get out of my sunlight. On another occasion, when some people were discussing a man named Callisthenes and the fine treatment he received from Alexander, Diogenes said, "The man then is wretched, for he is forced to breakfast and dine whenever Alexander chooses.

In spite of, or because of, his outrageous behavior, the Athenians loved him and, Laertius relates, when a boy broke Diogenes' cask, the people had the boy beaten and replaced the broken cask. It is unlikely, however, that Diogenes cared very much for the cask or what state it was in; to him, possessions were a trap.

To be truly free, and live a virtuous life of complete awareness, was the ultimate meaning of one's existence. As Diogenes Laertius writes:. But it is not absurd to dine, therefore it is not absurd to dine in the market-place'. This was in reference to the prohibition on eating in the agora the public market and communal space of the city which, like all such prohibitions, Diogenes ignored.

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Laws and rules, like manners, were artificial constructs to him which only separated one from reality and a clear understanding of one's self and the world. For Diogenes, a reasonable life is one lived in accordance with nature and with one's natural inclinations.

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Whether true or another fable, the tale of Diogenes' capture by pirates and his being sold into slavery in Corinth bears testimony to the strength of his convictions. Xeniades, for example, placed Diogenes in charge of tutoring his young sons and, in time, the philosopher became part of the family.

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He lived in Corinth with Xeniades' family for the rest of his life and died there at the age of ninety. His cause of death has been given as either severe food poisoning from eating a raw ox's foot, rabies from a dog bite, or suicide by holding his breath.

The citizens of Corinth, like those of Athens, had come to greatly admire the philosopher and buried him in honor by the city gate, erecting a monument over his grave. This would have amused Diogenes who, when asked what he wished done with his body after his death, replied that it should be thrown outside the city for the dogs to feed on. A statue of him stands in modern-day Sinop, Turkeydepicting him holding out his lantern with a dog sitting by his side. World History Encyclopedia is a non-profit organization.

Mark, J. Diogenes of Sinope.

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World History Encyclopedia. Mark, Joshua J. Last modified August 02, World History Encyclopedia, 02 Aug Written by Joshua J. This lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and their new creations under the identical terms. Please note that content linked from this may have different licensing terms. Mark published on 02 August Listen to this article.


Remove Advertisement. Diogenes famously requested Alexander the Great to "Get out of my sunlight". Editorial Review This article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication. Great Dialogues of Plato. et Classics, Plutarch's Lives Volume 1.

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Modern Library, Plutarch's Lives, Volume 2. Waterfield, R. Oxford University Press, Translations We want people all over the world to learn about history. Help us and translate this definition into another language!

About the Author Joshua J. Mark has lived in Greece and Germany and traveled through Egypt. He has taught history, writing, literature, and philosophy at the college level.

Related Content Filters: All. Teaching Materials 4. Become a Member Donate. Diogenes of Sinope: The Man in the Tub. The Complete Diogenes of Sinope Collection. Chicago Style Mark, Joshua J. Free Newsletter Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week:. History Enthusiast Teacher Student Librarian.

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I f asked to identify important topics for a new journal on national affairs, few of us would think first — if at all — of the humanities and their condition in American life today.


Honesty means doing things that are morally right.


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