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Cynicism from Diogenes to Dilbert Paperback – 30 Jun 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 235 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (30 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786420936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786420933
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.5 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,647,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

Description
Cynicism began as a school of philosophy that was largely inspired by Socrates and often decried by popular commentators as a social pathology, a nihilistic rebellion against the foundations of civilization. Modern definitions of the cynic describe an individual who is negative and sarcastic, violently opposed to established authority and social convention, and dedicated to existentialism.
This book attempts to vindicate cynicism, arguing that it is both a progressive approach to social dilemmas and an enlightened understanding of the human condition. Chapter One establishes the foundations of classical Greek cynicism, while later chapters illustrate the varied faces of the cynic phenomenon in the persons of such disparate characters as Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Diogenes, the Dadaists, George Bataille, Samuel Beckett, Auberon Waugh, the creators of South Park, and others. Nietzsche is portrayed as the most important representative of both classical and postmodern cynicism, as well as the pivotal link between the two. The book focuses on significant periods of historical change, such as the Renaissance, and the historical cynics responsible for several seminal social ideas, including cosmopolitanism (citizenship of the world), asceticism (personal growth through self-testing), and parrhesia (finding one’s voice in the presence of tyrannical forces). The author claims that aspects of Greek cynicism are present in contemporary society, offering a positive strategy for living in a hostile world.

About the Author
Ian Cutler is operational manager of mental health and learning disability services in the city of Cardiff, Wales.

About the Author

Cutler is the operational manager of mental health and learning disability ervices in the city of Cardiff, Wales.

Yiannis Gabriel is Professor of Organizational Theory at Bath University. Yiannis has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College London and a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Yiannis is well known for his work into organizational storytelling and narratives, leadership, management learning and the culture and politics of contemporary consumption. He has used stories as a way of studying numerous social and organizational phenomena including leader-follower relations, group dynamics and fantasies, nostalgia, insults and apologies. He has also carried out extensive research on the psychoanalysis of organizations. Yiannis is founder and coordinator of the Organizational Storytelling Seminar series, now in its fourteenth year (See http: //www.organizational-storytelling.org.uk/), the author of nine books and numerous articles. He is elected to the board of EGOS and is currently Senior Editor of Organization Studies. His enduring fascination as a researcher lies in what he describes as the unmanageable qualities of life in and out of organizations.

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Format: Paperback
This is a rare type of book. It shows how an ancient philosophy can be a guiding force in today's world. Cynical philosophers refused to write treatises. Instead, they offered their lean and mean lifestyles as the text of their philosophy; they scorned convention; they dismissed material comfort; they ridiculed the powerful and did not patronize the weak. Ian Cutler's book skilfully shows the many mutations of cynicism through the ages and eventually invents a version that is uniquely suited to our times. Well-written, well structured, well thought out -- I am sure Diogenes and his pals would have forgiven Cutler his sin of committing his ideas to paper.
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Format: Paperback
This book does exactly what it says on the cover - it guides the reader through cynicism from its origins to the present day. I enjoyed it: it was easy to read and understand and is clearly a well-researched and thorough study of cynicism - a philosophy much denigrated for spitting in the face of authority and the establishment. Ian Cutler helped me to understand what a cynic is and what a cynic does and why it pays to listen to the cynic and, if one thinks and feels `to hell with it', why one must shout down the walls defending the indefensible. Publish and be damned - or, in this case, applauded.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fine survey of all things cynical. Between the Diogenes and Dilbert of the title, we encounter Machiavelli and Nietzsche, Dadaism and post-modernism. I can't think of a single application of the word "cynical" that was not at least alluded to in the text.
However, in his urge to get his message across the author does froth a little at the mouth from time to time. Groups that attract his ire are cartoonishly stereotyped - including scientists, historians, doctors and the British, among others. I think it may be possible that some scientists, historians and doctors understand the limitations and shortcomings of their professions quite as well as - perhaps even better than - Cutler and his hero Baudrillard. And possibly some Brits are not mawkishly sentimental, socially repressed, cross-dressing Benny Hill fans.
So it's a polemic, championing cynicism. And the author is clear that he's a fan of the cynical power of polemics to shake people into re-examining their beliefs, so I'm sure it's a very deliberate and conscious polemic.
But (as a cynic) I take all polemics with a pinch of salt.
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Format: Paperback
as a cynic myself -- and a writer of a certain reputation -- I greatly enjoyed reading this book -- I found it intelligent - well documented -- even amusing a times -- and elegantly written -- what irritates me are those stuffy mediocre british academic who act like watchdogs over what they call the queen's english. English is witten and spoken all over the world -- beautifully written and spoken -- even in America -- only a narrow-minded reader would write the kind of review I just read -- he calls himself a guru -- we Americans have another name for these stuffy nit-picky readers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8fa6e750) out of 5 stars 1 review
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fcd4b10) out of 5 stars Cynicism resurrected 14 July 2005
By Luis E. Navia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ian Cutler has written an impressive and compelling book on the development of Cynicism from classical times to our own time. The book is simply extraordinary from the point of view of scholarship and because of its argument, namely, the Cynicism, the philosophical stance of Diogenes of Sinope, is the most relevant philosophy for the twenty-first century, a thesis with which I am in full agreement. I congratulate the author of his important philosophical and sociological contribution, and I urge prospective readers to plunge themselves into the pages of this book. They will surely learn a great deal and enjoy Cutler's persuasive prose.

L. E. Navia

Professor of Philosophy

New York Institute of Technology
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