|In addition to Aristippos of Kyrene, I recommend Parmenides of Velia. I wrote this a few years ago in a discussion of quantum mechanics:|
On the other hand, objective metaphysics (as developed from Parmenides of Velia to Ayn Rand of New York) asserts this: that which is true is both logical and observable. So, any apparent difference between a "rational" statement and an "empirical" perception results from incorrect logic and/or incomplete observation.We get caught up in Plato and some Aristotle, but there was much more. All we have are fragments. In fact, as for Aristotle, nice as all that is, you know that the best copies of his works were stored underground by the Macedonian ruling family which "treasured" what they could not understand. When dug up, the manuscripts were worm-eaten. There has never been a truly faithful production of his works.
I recommend Diogenes Laertius and I also recommend Ancilla to the Presocratic Philosophers by Kathleen Freeman. (Originally Fragmente der Vorsokratiker by Diehls.)
Do not read about. Read the words as close to the original as you can.
Researching an article about Diogenes the Cynic, I found wide deviations from the only source. Every writer re-interprets.
Bertrand Russell, in A History of Western Philosophy, called Diogenes "the son of a disreputable money-changer who had been sent to prison for defacing the coinage." According to the Encyclopedia Americana: "Diogenes is said to have gone to Athens as an exile with his father, when either his father or he himself was accused of counterfeiting or tampering in some other way with the currency of Sinope." In The Life of Greece, Will Durant called Diogenes "a bankrupt banker from Sinope." The citation in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy says that he was "... an eccentric tramp at Athens and Corinth, defacing the conventional human standards -- as he or his father, Hicesias, was supposed to have defaced in some way the currency of Sinope..." Yet another spin comes from the Encyclopedia Britannica Micropaedia: "Almost certainly forced into exile from Sinope with his father... He made it his mission to 'deface the currency,' perhaps meaning 'to put false coin out of circulation.' That is, he sought to expose the falsity of conventional standards and to call men back to a simple, natural life."
So, I went to that source, the Loeb Classic Library edition of Lives of the Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laertius. I did my own work.
Another way to approach the matter is to look at the specific wording of the source documents. Where the translator says "adulterate" the Greek word is "parachaksas” PARACAXAS. In modern Greek this is understood to mean "forge" in the sense of "fake" or "counterfeit."
However, we need to appreciate the sense of it in the context of the ancient world. There is a cliché: "The Greeks have a word for it." The ancient Greeks, living in changing times, took delight in making up new words. They attached prepositions to roots and they stuck roots together to form compound words. We can do both in English, as well, and we often use Greek (or Latin) when we do. We know "para" from paradox, paraphrase, and parasol. The root "charaks" means cut or dig and appears in our word "character." The ancient Greek word "para-charaksas" could have meant "deface" or even "counterstamp." The Anglo-French word "counterfeit" could be considered as a direct translation of "paracharaksas."
That is it. From that, Bertrand Russell -- no friend of commerce -- and the others all drew their inferences. Epicurius? Epitectus? Epicharmus? How do you know what they taught?