Historical Humanists- Aristippus

“The art of life lies in taking pleasures as they pass, and the keenest pleasures are not intellectual, nor are they always moral.”

“Native ability without education is like a tree without fruit”

“It is better to be a beggar than ignorant; For the beggar only wants money, but an ignorant person wants humanity.”
— Aristippus

Aristippus was a Greek philosopher born in Cyrene in Africa. He was evidently well-known as a follower of Socrates, since Plato in the Phaedo — his account of Socrates’ last day — makes an inquirer express surprise at the report that Aristippus was not at Socrates’ side when the latter was executed; it turned out that Aristippus happened to be away, on the island of Aegina with another of Socrates’ associates Cleombrotus. Aristippus goes otherwise unmentioned in Plato’s dialogues, though he does appear in Xenophon’s writings. According to Aeschines Socraticus, Aristippus was originally attracted to Athens “because of Socrates’ fame”.

Diogenes Laertius relates a number of stories involving Aristippus at the court of Dionysius or Dionysius the Younger. Either Aristippus himself or his grandson Aristippus was the founder of the Cyrenaic school, which endorsed hedonism and egoism. The elder Aristippus’ daughter Arete of Cyrene was said to have been a philosopher herself, who educated the younger Aristippus, who was consequently nicknamed Metrodidactus or “Mother-Taught”. None of the writings of either Aristippus has survived.

Aristippus founder of the Cyrenaic School of Greek philosophy. He was a pupil of Socrates who turned to the Skeptics and held that no knowledge beyond common human experience possible-in modern language Agnosticism. His native city Cyrene was in that part of Africa which is now called Libya but was at that time a lovely and populous region, the Florida of the Greek world. So what is called the philosophy of the Cyrenaic school was simply that man ought to make life as pleasant as possible. It is, however, false that he advocated surrender to sensual pleasure. He often abstained for a long period to show that he was master of himself and his pleasures.

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