By Ava Chitwood
How does one die via philosophy? In Diogenes Laertius, philosophers bounce into volcanoes, bury themselves in dung, get eaten via canine, cling themselves, drown, and vanish into skinny air -- occasionally all in one lifetime. yet what occurs after we glance past the glorious and absurd to envision 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 during which the paintings of philosophers like Empedocles, Heraclitus, and Democritus was once learn, acquired, and transmitted. Chitwood's research additionally indicates a technique for realizing the interaction among biography and philosophy and for comparing biographical sources.
While Chitwood's process combines the disciplines of classical philology and philosophy, demise via Philosophy isn't really meant exclusively for the expert. This research deals the trendy reader a desirable, clean, and unique view of the traditional literary and philosophical world.
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Additional info for Death by Philosophy: The Biographical Tradition in the Life and Death of the Archaic Philosophers Empedocles, Heraclitus, and Democritus
1634. 12. between those stories, we should always most likely contain statements from Glaucus and Hippobotus in DL eight. fifty two that recommend (with numerous measure of hesitation) that Empedocles went to Thuri simply after its beginning (ca. 445–44 BCE) and that he went to Syracuse to struggle opposed to the Notes to Pages 32–34 159 Athenians (ca. 415 BCE). Glaucus himself doubts the Syracuse file, remarking that Empedocles may both be useless or too previous for this to be believable; the journey or embassy to Thuri is perhaps not anything greater than the biographical wish to hyperlink a favourite son to a massive colony. There additionally exists, in DL eight. seventy two, the comment statue of Empedocles was once taken from Syracuse to Rome, the place it used to be on public exhibit. contemplating the Roman tendency to rob the conquered towns of Magna Graecia, the file may be real. fifty five. the 2 speeches “about freedom” (DL eight. sixty five and seventy two) may perhaps mirror the rhetorical tendency for set items, see B. A. van Gronigen, “General Literary traits within the moment Sophistic,” Mnemosyne ser. four, no. 18 (1965): 50 and Bowie 1970, five. fifty six. Empedocles, in spite of everything, “invented rhetoric. ” This mysterious assertion, which involves us from no much less an expert than Aristotle (ap. DL nine. 57), has as its merely corroboration the record that Gorgias, the well-known Leontine rhetorician, was once Empedocles’ pupil (Satyrus ap. DL nine. fifty eight; Sextus Emp. adv. math. 7. 6 and Quintilian three. 1, either ϭ DK 31A19. ) whereas the variety of philosophers who invent issues constitutes a really universal topos (see Riginos 1976, 188; Stuart 1967, ninety three; A. Kleingunther, “Πρωτο ευρετη,” Philologus suppl. 26 ), this can be one of many oddest examples. Wright means that the document of Gorgias as Empedocles’ pupil comes from Plato’s Meno 76C, while Socrates first asks Meno to respond to “in the style of Gorgias,” after which asks if Meno, “like Empedocles,” believes within the effluence of yes issues. The biographers could have reasoned as follows: if Meno himself used to be Gorgias’ scholar he could most likely have discovered Empedocles’ idea from him, and hence the highbrow succession is proven from Empedocles to Gorgias to Meno. The decision to set up such successions or genealogies is mentioned via Lefkowitz 1981, seventy seven and 87; Szegedy-Maszak 1978, 203; M. I. Finley, The Use and Abuse of background (New York, 1975), 15–26; Fairweather 1974, 262; see, in spite of the fact that, G. B. Kerferd, “Gorgias and Empedocles,” Siculorum gym 30 (1985): 595. fifty seven. R. D. Hicks (Diogenes Laertius. Lives of Eminent Philosophers [Cambridge, Mass. , 1925], three hundred) interprets as “when Acragas got here to remorse him”; see additionally Wright 1981, sixteen, and E. Bignone, Empedocle. Studio critico, traduzione e commento della testimonianze e dei frammenti (Turin, 1916), 106. fifty eight. It additionally offers a convenient, favourite atmosphere for violent demise, see Lefkowitz 1981, ninety five. For the topos of exile as a rule, see Lefkowitz 1981, 128; Szegedy-Maszak 1978, 206; Holford-Strevens 1988, seventy five; Fairweather 1974, 262; Wehrli 1973, 206. Philosophical exile was once additionally to develop into a customary topos within the lifetime of the Christian holy guy; see H¨aag and Rousseau 1997, 46–47.