Theory and History of Ontology

website ontology logoeBook version

My other websites:

History of Logic

website logic logoeBook version 


website bibliographia logoeBook version

Theory and History of Ontology by Raul Corazzon | e-mail:


Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laërtius. A Bibliography (Lew-Z)

English studies (Lew-Z)

  1. Lewis, Eric. 1988. "Diogenes Laertius and the Stoic Theory of Mixture." Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies no. 35:84-90.

    "Here I shall discuss the Stoic theory of mixture. Perhaps no other physical theory has ever been so ridiculed, by ancient and modern commentators alike.

    The Stoics are thought to have 'bitten the bullet', and claimed that the gin and the tonic in your mixed drink are actually coextensive; that it is a case of two bodies occupying exactly the sameplace at the same time. This 'absurdity' is thought to result not just from their theory of mixture, but from their whole natural philosophy. The Stoics are thought to have conceived of almost everything as a body, qualities, mental states, the soul, etc., and so coextensive bodies are thought to be found wherever one looks in the Stoic universe. My body and my soul are said to be two coextensive bodies, all of my qualities are claimed to be bodies distinct both from my body, and from each other. Aristotle made it axiomatic that no two bodies can be in the same place at the same time.(6) Most subsequent philosophers have agreed, the Stoics being seen as foolish metaphysicians who base their whole natural philosophy on an obvious falsehood.

    This is a mistaken view. Neither has the correct Stoic theory of mixture been discovered, nor has their theory of body, qualities and soul been properly worked out. Here I hope to correct the first error, but hinting at the proper explication of the second.

    The passages most useful for discussing the Stoic theory of mixture are as follows: Stobaeus Ecl. XVII 4.153.24-55 14 Wachsmuth (= Ar. Did. Fr. Phys. 28 = SVF 2.471), Alexander de mixt. 3.216.14-217.2 (= SVF 2.473), and, perhaps most importantly, Diogenes Laertius VII.151 (= SVF2.479)." (pp. 85-86, some notes omitted)

    (6) Aristotle denies this possibility at the following: Phys. 4.1 209a4-7, 4.6 213b7: Cael. 3.6 305al9-20: GC 1.5 32la5-10; DA 1.5 409b3, 2.7 418bl3-18.

  2. Long, Anthony A. 1986. "Diogenes Laertius, Life of Arcesilaus." Elenchos.Rivista di Studi sul Pensiero Antico no. 7:429-449.

    "No philosopher in the Hellenistic period is more intriguing than Arcesilaus of Pitane, and none is of greater historical significance.

    His interpretation of the Platonic tradition became the stance of the Academy down to the time of Philo of Larissa and Antiochus of Ascalon. Thereafter in the refurbished Pyrrhonism of Aenesidemus, the dialectical strategies of Arcesilaus and Carneades lived on among the methods of that new school for inducing suspension of judgement (ἐποχή). Arcesilaus in effect was the founder of Greek scepticism, as a methodology for demonstrating that every claim to knowledge or belief could be met with a counter-argument of equal strength. By his rejoinders to Stoic theses, continued and developed by Carneades, Arcesilaus ensured that Stoic philosophers must be constantly on the alert against sceptical challenges. More than any other thinker of his time, Arcesilaus deserves the credit for ensuring that Hellenistic philosophy remained true to the classical tradition of argument, with no quarter given to sloppy thinking or idle dogmatism.


    Some traces of Arcesilaus, we may conjecture, were transmitted in writing through the Academy’s Stoic opponents. But if, as seems certain, Arcesilaus published nothing under his own name we have to reckon with the probability that even our meagre record of his arguments in Cicero, Sextus and Plutarch is nothing like a first-hand report of what he said.

    This situation casts Diogenes Laertius’ life of Arcesilaus into a prominence which seems not to have been appreciated. If, as I shall argue, his life captures features of Arcesilaus which go back to the third century B.C., we should ask whether, notwithstanding the low level of Diogenes’ philosophical acumen, these features corroborate or throw light on our more sophisticated but much later reporters. Apart from this, Diogenes’ Life of Arcesilaus is one of the best examples we might take if we are interested in a case-study of his collection at the highest level it achieves. That level, to be sure, is a hill of very modest altitude. But with Arcesilaus, it does at least avoid the flatness, not to say, depths, evident in some of his lives." (pp. 429-430)

  3. ———. 2018. "In and Out of the Stoa: Diogenes Laertius on Zeno." In Authors and Authorities in Ancient Philosophy, edited by Bryan, Jenny, Wardy, Robert and Warren, James, 242-262. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "David Sedley in his celebrated article on ‘philosophical allegiance in the Greco-Roman World’ emphasizes the extraordinary authority that founders of schools acquired among their followers, at least after the founder’s death.(1) This point pertains to Zeno of Citium as much as it does to Epicurus, who is the main focus of Sedley’s study." (p. 242)


    "In this chapter I want to develop Sedley’s insight by first discussing a striking mismatch between Cicero and Diogenes on details of Zeno’s career, and then by exploring in some detail the sources and the structure of Diogenes’ vita section.

    These findings will tell us little that is certain, unfortunately, about Zeno’s philosophical career. What they will illuminate is a large gap between how Zeno was perceived by various contemporary authors and how Stoics at the time of Cicero represented Zeno’s role as founding father of the school.

    I am far from being a pioneer in taking this line, which Jaap Mansfeld and David Hahm have already pursued most effectively.(10) Much, however, remains to be said about Diogenes’ Life of Zeno, leaving us, if I am right, unsettling questions about the first Stoic’s intellectual biography and persona." (p. 244)

    (1) Sedley (1989).

    (10) Mansfeld (1986); Hahm (2002).


    Hahm, D. (2002) ‘Zeno before and after Stoicism’, in T. Scaltsas and A. S. Mason (eds.) The Philosophy of Zeno, Larnaca: 29– 56.

    Mansfeld, J. (1986) ‘Diogenes Laertius on Stoic philosophy’, Elenchos 7: 295– 382, repr. in J. Mansfeld (1990) Studies in the Historiography of Greek Philosophy, Assen and Maastricht: 343– 428.

    Sedley, D. N. (1989) ‘Philosophical allegiance in the Greco- Roman world’, in J. Barnes and M. Griffin (eds.) Philosophia Togata I, Oxford: 97– 119.

  4. Long, Herbert S. 1944. "The short forms of the text of Diogenes Laertius." Classical Philology no. 44:230-235.

  5. Ludlam, Ivor. 2000. "The 'Original Text’ of D.L. 7.137-8." Scripta Classica Israelica no. 19:251-280.

    "In a previous issue of this periodical, Aryeh Finkelberg appears to attempt a reconstruction of the ‘original text’ (p. 25) upon which a part of Diogenes Laertius 7, 37-8 is based." [Finkelberg 1998].


    "My reply will not be completely negative. I shall take the opportunity to propose an alternative explanation for the text at D.L. 7Ἰ37-8 which is based on Stoic philosophy, and I shall ponder a few issues concerning Stoic physics, Stoic physical terms, and source criticism.

    Finkelberg’s dense argument needs to be teased apart in order to examine its various claims and methods. I shall present the main points of Finkelberg’s argument in a number of steps, with my remarks following each step. Page references are to Finkelberg’s article" (p. 253)


    "Concerning the transformation from the ‘original text’ to the received text of Diogenes Laertius, the explanation offered falls on philological and philosophical grounds and suffers from numerous internal inconsistencies. The context of none of the testimonia adduced is considered, with the result that all the testimonia are treated as of equal worth. Not only is the significance of the context of Diogenes Laertius

    7Ἰ37-8 overlooked, but the context itself is ignored, with the far-reaching consequences I have felt obliged to address in the analysis above." (p. 271)

  6. Maber, Richard. 2001. "A Publisher's Nightmare: Ménage, Wetstein, and Diogenes Laertius." Seventeenth-Century French Studies no. 23:173-185.

  7. Mann, Wolfgang-Rainer. 1996. "The Life of Aristippus." Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie no. 78:97-119.

    "There are no doubt any number of issues one might want to consider in connection with Aristippus and his philosophy. Yet since all his writings - if ever there were any - are lost to us, we have to content ourselves with the doxography. Here the Life of Aristippus in Book II of Diogenes Laertius occupies a special place. In this paper, I would like to consider four questions or problems that arise with respect to the Life (and the life) of Aristippus, not so much in the hope of settling them, as hoping to suggest some lines for further inquiry." (p. 97)

  8. Mansfeld, Jaap. 1986. "Diogenes Laertius on Stoic Philosophy." Elenchos.Rivista di Studi sul Pensiero Antico no. 7:295-382.

    Reprinted in J. Mansfeld, Studies in the Historiography of Greek Philosophy, Assen: Van Gorcum 1990, pp. 343–428.

    "Quellenforschung, just as psycho-analysis, is an heirloom of 19th century positivism; it was believed that something is understood if one knows its origins, or what it is composed of. One could even argue the remote influence, or actio very much in distans, of Presocratic arche-speculation. But we have since learned also to take the author and his public into account. Consequently, I have attempted to display less interest in Diogenes Laertius as a person than as an author, and although one knows little about the sort of early third-century provincial public he wrote for, one may at least account for the fact that the traditions used by him reflect the feudings among and the discussions internal to the philosophical schools, as well as the various ways of teaching philosophy or addressing the general public, that evolved in the Hellenistic period and later. The way Diogenes Laertius handles his materials may reveal certain preferences, but it would be jejune to hold him responsible for the information at his disposal." (p. 299)

  9. ———. 1988. "Number Nine (Diog. Laert. IX, 87)." Revue de Philosophie Ancienne no. 5:235-248.

    "In this paper I wish to propose a new interprétation of a well known and vexing passage in Diogenes Laertius. We may Start by quoting the text as found at IX 87:

    τόν ενατον Φαβωρΐνος ογδοον, Σέξτος δέ καν Αι νεσί δήμος δέκατο ν. άλλα και τόν δέκατον Σέξτος όγδοόν φησι, Φαβωρϊνος δέ ενατον.

    It is odd to have a second-order note, dealing with the relative order of tropes eight nine ten in a plurality of authors, interrup ting Diogene's first-order account of the ten tropes. It is also odd to find this note, dealing with tropes eight nine ten, at the end of the short descriptive summary of Diogenes' trope nine. Further more, it is odd that these two oddities do not seem to have troubled the learned. Nevertheless one would have been puzzled less if the odd note had been found at the end of Diogenes' account of the ten tropes or had served to introduce his last batch of three. To be sure, in the latter position too it would have interfered with the flow of Diogenes' exposition, but much less flagrantly than as it is now." (p. 235)

  10. ———. 1999. "Sources." In The Cambridge Companion to Early Greek Philosophy, edited by Long, Anthony A., 22-44. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "Diogenes Laertius' work, though for the most part a treatment of the sects, is structured according to lines of succession, the Ionian in books II-VII and the Italian in books VIII-X. Hence, we find the early Greek philosophers who are Ionians starting with Anaximander (said to be the pupil of Thales and so linked to book I) at the beginning of book II, and the Italians-cum-Eleatics together with Heraclitus and Xenophanes (who are counted as "random") in books VIII and IX. 1-49. Protagoras is added at IX. 50-6 because he was purportedly a pupil of Democritus, and Diogenes of Apollonia at IX. 5 7 for no visible reason.(36) Diogenes' treatment is very uneven. The early Ionians get only brief chapters, and the sections about the early Eleatics are also relatively short. Pythagoras and Pythagoreanism are treated on an extraordinarily large scale, though not yet in the mystagogical way of a Porphyry, or an Iamblichus; Empedocles (included among the Pythagoreans), Heraclitus, and Democritus are presented in fairly long sections.(37)


    The doxographies in Diogenes Laertius that are concerned with Pythagoras, Empedocles, Heraclitus, and Democritus are preceded by fairly extensive biographies, whereas biographical information about the other early Greek philosophers is thin, or even, as in Leucippus' case, absent (though he is part of the succession). This too shows that Diogenes Laertius, or the traditions he is following, attached a special importance to these figures. The biography of Heraclitus is perhaps the most interesting. Factually, little was known, so stories about his character, his behaviour, and his death were fabricated from the utterances in his book - an interesting example of the idea, prominent in Diogenes Laertius but also quite common in a variety of other authors, that a philosopher's life and his work should agree with each other.(41) The study of the life, activities, and sayings of a philosopher was in fact regarded as an indispensable preliminary to the study of his writings and doctrines. In the cases where no books were available, the philosopher's "life" itself, including acts, apophthegms, and so on had to suffice. Conversely, if biographical data were unavailable, they were made up from what a person wrote, or from what others were believed to have written about him. These practices gave ancient biography, or at least part of it, its bad name.(42) " (pp. 33-34)

  11. ———. 2000. "Diogenes Laertius 7.83." Mnemosyne no. 53:592-597.

    "The antepenultimate sentence, εἰς μὲν γὰρ ... ἔχειν εἰπεῖν, of the concluding paragraph of the doxography (as with some latitude we may call it) of Stoic logic in book seven of Diogenes Laertius is by several scholars believed to be corrupt. It has been emended in various ways, sometimes drastically, at other times a bit less drastically, but the results of these attempts are far from satisfactory and no agreement has been reached.

    Literal translations of what is in the manuscripts as a rule either avail themselves of tacit, or implicit, additions, or are perhaps too clever (see on Long & Sedley below). What is more, either way the unity and coherence of the passage as a whole are not maintained. In the present note I shall propose a very slight emendation." (p. 592)

  12. Mejer, Jørgen. 1978. Diogenes Laertius and his Hellenistic Background. Wiesbaden: Steiner.

    Contents: Preface IX; Part I: Diogenes Laertius 1; The intentions of Diogenes' book 2; The question of sources 7; The technique of excerpting 16; A specimen of source analysis 29; Diogenes' personality 46; Part II: Hellenistic historiography of philosophy 60; Diadokai 62; History of a single School 74; Peri aireseon 75; Doxography 81; Biographies of philosophers 90; Concluding remarks 94; Bibliography 96; Index locorum 102; Index nominum 105-108.

    "The original motivation for this book was a wish to sort out the many ways in which Presocratic philosophy was transmitted in Antiquity. Only later did I realize that such a study demanded far more knowledge and skill than I possessed, and that any attempt to discuss the question of historiography of philosophy in Antiquity had to be based on a fresh analysis of Diogenes Laertius. This book is offered as a contribution to Laertian scholarship but its value, if any, is to be decided by the extent to which it will be followed up by further research on Hellenistic scholarship, concerning history of philosophy and biographies of philosophers, and on the transmission of early Greek philosophy in Antiquity. Ultimately, a History of Historiography of Philosophy in Antiquity is to be hoped for." (from the Preface)

  13. ———. 1992. "Diogenes Laertius and the Transmission of Greek Philosophy." In Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Teil II: Principat. Band 36: Philosophie, Wissenschaften, Technik. 5. Teilband: Philosophie (Einzelne Autoren, Doxographica), edited by Haase, Wolfgang, 3556-3602. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

    "It should be clear by now that Diogenes did not mindlessly copy out his sources for his doxographical sections. He must have made an effort to find what he considered the best sources for each philosophical school, and he definitely had his own ideas as to the content of each doxography even if he did not always understand the more complicated philosophical arguments. Most of his doxographies show some affinity to the presentations of earlier Greek philosophy, which we find in other texts from the IInd and IIIrd centuries A. D., though in some cases he seems to have turned to older sources (e. g. for Aristotle and Epicurus). There is no sign of any mechanical use of sources, not even in the case of the Presocratics where he undoubtedly drew upon a source belonging to the doxographical tradition going back to Theophrastus. His information sometimes differs from that in Aetius and Hippolytus. In the few longer excerpts on the Presocratics he seems to reproduce his source(s) fairly closely but he is not averse to changing, or even adding to, the text he found in his source. We may not always be happy with him as a source of information on earlier Greek philosophy, but he is neither incompetent nor consciously misleading; there is little doubt that he can be taken to represent what an individual interested in philosophy, (161) living somewhere in the provinces of the Roman empire in the IInd or IIIrd centuries A. D., could do, provided he worked hard collecting and excerpting the sources which he could find. Diogenes may not be a great writer, and there were obviously better philosophical minds writing in his period, but he is not to be vilified, and he has preserved much information that would have been lost to us, had it not been for his enthusiasm and industry." pp. 3599-3600.

    (161) Diogenes is usually compared to sources like Plutarch, Galen, Sextus, and Hippolytus. They were, however, in some sense all 'professionals' and placed in important positions with access to good libraries in major cities. If we measure Diogenes with another stick, e. g. the philosophical knowledge implied in Lucian's `Vitarum Auctio', his effort becomes much more respectable.

  14. ———. 2007. "Biography and Doxography: Four Crucial Questions Raised by Diogenes Laertius." In Die griechische Biographie in hellenistischer Zeit. Akten des internationalen Kongresses vom 26.-29. Juli 2006 in Würzburg, edited by Erler, Michael and Schorn, Stefan, 431-442. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

    "Diogenes' text is divided into 10 'books' (...)

    This structure is important since it seems to indicate that Diogenes' work belongs to a type of ancient literature in which the lives of philosophers were arranged as two or three series of biographies so that teacher and student followed one another within each major philosophical school. This type of literature had the title Successions of Philosophers, (5) though there are also other books with different titles that seem to belong in this category, not least Philodemus' two surveys of the Platonic and the Stoic schools.(6)

    Some of Diogenes' biographies, however, seem to have been composed later than the Hellenistic period (Xenophon, Democritus), and some of his reports on philosophical systems show features that are similar to texts from the second century AD (Plato, Skeptics). Therefore, we must ask:

    To which extent is Diogenes representative of the Successions type -- and in general of the Hellenistic tradition of biography and historiography of philosophy?

    Diogenes' biographical sections are composed of a number of items like birth, parents, name, appearance, relationship to other philosophers, travels, life style and circumstances of death; there is no particular order in which these items are presented, and though many details also were found in Hellenistic sources, they cannot have come from one particular source. In any case, we must ask:

    Is the biographical information we get, trustworthy?

    The dominating element in all the biographies is Diogenes' use of anecdotes; sometimes the same anecdote is told about more than one philosopher, hence it is hard to believe that Diogenes himself was convinced of them being literally true. Since it is commonly assumed that anecdotes are fictitious, we must ask a third question:

    What is the biographical value of anecdotes?

    Many, but not all, of Diogenes' Lives include a section on the philosophical ideas, if not of an individual philosopher, then at least of a philosophical school. In the case of the Post-Socratic schools (the Cyrenaics, Plato, Aristotle, the Cynics, the Stoics, the Skeptics and Epicurus) there is no uniform way of presenting their philosophy: Plato is presented in the light of second century AD Platonism, while Aristotle's philosophy seems to represent a fairly early way of doing Peripatetic philosophy; the Stoic philosophy is described with references to many Stoics of different periods while Epicurus' philosophy is represented by four texts going back to Epicurus himself. The survey of the Skeptic tropes (9,79-105) is shorter than in Sextus Empiricus but otherwise comparable.(7)

    The philosophy of the Presocratics is, however, for the most part described by means of fairly short systematic surveys similar to what we find in Hippolytus' Refutatio omnium haeresium Book One, and -- in content, if not in form -- to Pseudo-Plutarch's Placita and to sections of Stobaeus. These surveys have since Diels' pioneering work Doxographi Graeci (1879) been called doxographical, though the term 'doxographical' unfortunately has been extended to mean any text reporting the views of previous philosophers.

    Considering this variety of philosophical information, we must ask a fourth important question:

    To which extent can we assume that Diogenes just copied his predecessors, or to put the question in another way: are we justified in assuming that most of the Hellenistic biographies of philosophers contained separate sections on the philosophers' views?

    I would like to discuss these four crucial questions (8) by examining Diogenes' Life of Democritus (9,34-49) and draw some more general conclusions on that basis." (pp. 432-433)

    (5) Cf. Mejer Uberlieferung der Philosophie im Altertum. Eine Einführung (Kobenhaven, 2000). Fragments in Rosa Giannattasio Andria I frammenti delle Successioni dei Filosofi, (Napoli, 1989).

    (6) Tiziano Dorandi’s two editions of Philodemus (Filodemo. Storia dei filosofi. Platone e l’Academia (PHerc. 1021 e 164). Edizione, traduzione e commento a cura di T. D. [La scuola di Epicuro 12] (Napoli 1991) and Storia dei filosofi: La Stoà da Zenone a Panezio (PHerc. 1018) (Leiden - New York 1994) have superseded all previous editions.

    (7) For these philosophical sections in Diogenes, cf. Mejer, Diogenes Laertius and the Transmission of Greek Philosophy, in: ANRW II 36.5 (1992) 3556-3602.

    (8) A fifth important question which I shall not discuss in this context, is to which extent Diogenes’ presentations of philosophical ideas are reliable, cf., however, the paper mentioned in the previous note.

  15. Olfert, Christiana M. M. 2015. "Skeptical Investigation and Its Perks: Diog. Laert. 9.69–70 and 79–89." In Pyrrhonian Skepticism in Diogenes Laertius, edited by Vogt, Katja Maria, 147-170. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

    "In what follows, I will argue that despite some appearances to the contrary, Skeptical investigation has all the features we usually think belong to the epistemic type of investigation described above. The epistemic credentials of Skeptical investigation have often been discussed by other interpreters, but I hope to add to this discussion by focusing on epistemic improvement or advancement, and the sense in which Skeptical investigation aims to improve or advance the epistemic state of the investigator. In particular, I hope to show that the Skeptic – or anyone engaged in a Skeptical investigation – arguably achieves a number of epistemic advancements or benefits when she achieves suspension of judgment. These, we might say, are the perks of Skeptical investigation." (p. 148)

  16. Ornelas, Jorge. 2021. "The Missing End of the Threefold Cord in the Transmission of Ancient Skepticism into Modernity: The Lives by Diogenes Laertius." In Sceptical Doubt and Disbelief in Modern European Thought: A New Pan-American Dialogue, edited by Raga Rosaleny, Vicente and Junqueira Smith, Plinio, 301-318. Cham (Switzerland): Springer Nature.

    Abstract: "The orthodox position regarding how ancient Skepticism first arrived in the Reinassance and later into Modernity has been dominated by the work of Charles B. Schmitt and Richard Popkin. They jointly defended what I call here “the Popkin/Schmitt thesis”: the transmission of skeptical ideas and arguments took place via a threefold cord made up of Cicero’s Academica, Sextus Empiricus’s Opera and Diogenes Laertius’s Lives of Eminent Philosophers; in which the first two are dominant over the last one. This paper is intended to challenge this historical hypothesis through a twofold movement: on the one hand, I will argue that, from a historical perspective, unlike Cicero’s Academica and Sextus’s Opera, Diogenes’s Lives was one of the primary sources of ancient philosophy since the Middle Ages. I will also argue that, given its particular compositional features, Diogenes’s Lives transcended the philosophical context, influencing other branches of science like history and literature, through which Diogenes’s characterization of Skepticism became commonplace in the Western world. Furthermore, and from a philosophical perspective, I will argue that Diogenes’s version of Pyrrhonian Skepticism has some explanatory advantages that provide us with a more comprehensive image of it, one that is not centered on epistemological topics as in Sextus’s version. Both elements allow us to understand why Diogenes’s Lives has, by its own right, a central place among the Holy Trinity of texts responsible for the transmission of ancient Skepticism into Modernity."

  17. Perilli, Lorenzo. 2005. ""Quantum coniectare (non) licet." Menodotus between Sextus Empiricus (P. 1.222) and Diogenes Laertius (9.116)." Mnemosyne no. 58:286-293.

    "The sequence of leading figures of the Sceptical school which Diogenes Laertius proposes in the ninth book of his Lives has appeared problematic to many. The passage (and the whole book) has been repeatedly investigated, and it is unnecessary to reopen here the related issues, concerning Diogenes’ sources and the overall trustworthiness of his account. Diogenes associates Sceptical philosophers particularly with Empiricist physicians, tries to assign a specific role to each, makes out of the Empiricists an underpinning axis of the school. Among others, he explicitly sets Menodotus of Nicomedia, an Empiricist doctor whose floruit was around 125 AD, in the frame of scepticism: together with Menodotus, leading empirical representatives of Sceptical philosophy would have been at least Heraclides of Tarentum (I BC) and Theodas of Laodicea (II AD), then Sextus Empiricus.

    Taken for granted the conceptual kinship between Empiricism and Scepticism, as well as the cues that empirical science will have taken, mostly at the outset, from sceptical elaborations (and vice versa), the attempt to incorporate the figures into a school is a characteristic piece of doxography, but it lacks consistency, let alone confirmation. Viano rightly labelled the Laertian list as “most dubious”, and Menodotus’ position there as “paradoxical”." (pp. 286-287, notes omitted)

  18. Plass, Paul. 1973. "A Fragment of Plato in Diogenes Laertius." The Modern Schoolman no. 51:29-46.

    "After opening his book on Plato with a brief biographical sketch, Diogenes Laertius turns to charges that Plato stole some of his ideas from others. The most circumstantial accusation concerns plagiarism from Epicharmus. For this, Diogenes quotes directly from a certain Alcimus, probably a Sicilian historian active during the second half of the fourth century B.C. and therefore a younger contemporary of Plato. Alcimus apparently was interested in establishing Plato's dependence on Epicharmus to bolster his contention that Magna Graecia was a cultural equal of mainland Greece. He made his case in a book addressed to Amyntas, a mathematician and student of Plato.[*]"


    "Before examining this curious "quotation," it will be useful to get some idea of how Alcimus goes about establishing his other parallels between Plato and Epicharmus. We will be concerned solely with his treatment of Plato; the content and authenticity of the lines of Epicharmus which he quotes are of no importance for our purpose. His first summary of Plato's views runs as follows: what never remains the same in quantity or quality but always flows and changes is sensible, for if you take number from anything it cannot have quantity, quality, o.r any identity. Of all such things there is no being but only constant becoming. The intelligible, on the other hand, is that from which nothing is ever taken and to which nothing is ever added; this is the of eternal things, which are always the same (Diogenes Laertius, III. 9, 10)." (pp. 29-30)

    [*] Diogenes Laertius III, 5.

  19. Ranocchia, Graziano. 2019. "Heraclitus’ Portrait in Diogenes Laërtius and Philodemus’ On Arrogance." In Presocratics and Papyrological Tradition: A Philosophical Reappraisal of the Sources, edited by Vassallo, Christian, 221-247. Berlin: de Gruyter.

    "It is a matter of fact that the arrogance, conceit, and boastfulness of certain philosophers were well-known in antiquity. As we shall see, the case of Heraclitus is illustrated by the important witness of Diogenes Laërtius’ life of this philosopher, where the author draws copiously upon a source hostile to the philosopher, which highlighted his haughtiness and misanthropy.14" (p. 224)


    "The author of the biographical-characterological portrait is unknown; the identity of Aristo the author of the Περὶ τοῦ κουφίζειν ὑπερηφανίας is still disputed; the identification of the Aristo mentioned twice in the Life of Heraclitus remains problematic; and, finally, the coincidence between Aristonymus and Aristo of Chios is most probable, yet not deductively inferable. With regard to the identity of the author of the biographical-characterological portrait of Heraclitus transmitted by Diogenes Laërtius in the Life of this philosopher – whether his name be Aristo or not, and whoever Aristo may he be – it will be best to maintain a prudent approach in the future." (p. 244)

    (14) See Diog. Laërt. 9.1–6, 12–15 and below.

  20. Román-Alcalá, Ramón. 2021. "Diogenes Laertius: A Moderate Skeptic in the History of Philosophy (Book IX)." Philosophy Study no. 11:293-302.

    Abstract: "This paper presents the keys and reasons for Diogenes Laërtius’ alleged scepticism, based on an analysis of the general design of his work The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers. I believe that it would be manifestly erroneous to seek confirmation of this scepticism solely in Book IX without taking into account the overall structure of the work. A convincing explanation is also provided of one of the most enigmatic and most studied phrases in this work. What did Diogenes mean when he said that Apollonides of Nicaea was ὁ παρ’ ἡμῶν (“one of us”)?"

  21. Sassi, Maria Michela. 2011. "Ionian Philosophy and Italic Philosophy: From Diogenes Laertius to Diels." In The Presocratics from the Latin Middle Ages to Hermann Diels, edited by Primavesi, Oliver, 19-44. Stuttgart: Steiner Verlag.

    Abstract: "This paper traces the history of a particular cliché of scholarship on the Presocratic philosophers which has persisted from ancient commentators until the present day, and in whose development Hermann Diels work constitutes an important stage. This cliché concerns the division of early Greek philosophy into an Ionian tradition founded by Thales and an Italic one founded by Pythagoras – although a tripartite division is also often found, in texts in which the Eleatic lineage is also given a certain importance and autonomy. I examine in detail how this model, which was originally inspired simply by considerations regarding the different places in which the traditions flourished, developed in various phases of ancient and modern philosophy along with reflections on the distinct theoretical characteristics of the different traditions and on their relations to Plato, whose philosophical system has generally been seen as a synthesis of them. However, even in its simplest, geographical form the model contributed to shape and preserve the tradition of Presocratic thought."

  22. Searby, Denis Michael. 1998. Aristotle in the Greek Gnomological Tradition. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.

    Dissertation for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Classical Languages presented at Uppsala University 1998.

    Abstract: "This dissertation consists of a new collection of maxims and apophthegms associated with Aristotle in the Greek gnomologies along with an introduction to the sources and a commentary on the content of the sayings. The major sources have been Diogenes Laertius, the anthology of Stobaeus, Gnomologium Vaticanum and related collections, cod. Par. gr. 1168 (Corpus Parisinum) and cod. Bodl. Digby 6, the Loci Communes of ps.-Maximus the Confessor and related anthologies, the Florilegium Atheniense, and the gnomology of Joannes Georgides. The introductory chapters concern the definition and history of the gnomological tradition, the investigation of the extant sources, the problem of multipie attributions, possible explanations for the title The Chreiae of Aristotle found in Stobaeus, and the different ways Aristotle makes his appearance in the tradition. The collection of sayings is based on Greek sources alone, but frequent references are made to the Latin and Arabic traditions, and Appendices I and IV offer a sampling of the material to be found in these traditions. Appendix VI shows the sources of the so-called Gnomologium Parisinum Ineditum. The commentary dwells primarily on the attribution to Aristotle and the possible Aristotelian content of the sayings while at the same time relating the sayings to the gnomological tradition as a whole."

    "Chapter Three: Sources for the Present Collection

    II.2 Diogenes Laertius

    Our oldest datable source is found in Diogenes Laertius' Vitae Philosophorum.

    Diogenes composed his work probably during the third century A.D., making wide use of a variety of older sources. He deals with the lives of the Peripatetic philosophers in Book 5, Aristotle being treated in 5.1-35. As earlier noted, Diogenes explicitly mentions collections of sayings several times both as his own sources and as titles in the lists of works attributed to various philosophers. Apophthegms play an important role in general throughout Diogenes' work and are normally given a place of their own in his usual biographical scheme for each philosopher." (pp. 43-44, notes omitted)

  23. Sedley, David. 2015. "Diogenes Laertius on the Ten Pyrrhonist Modes." In Pyrrhonian Skepticism in Diogenes Laertius, edited by Vogt, Katja Maria, 171-185. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

    "The most recognizable and recurrent manifestation of Pyrrhonist Scepticism, from the movement’s revival by Aenesidemus in the first century BC down to Diogenes Laertius’ Life of Pyrrho in the third century AD, is its trademark list of ten ‘Modes’ or ‘Tropes’.(1)" (p. 171)

    "In the present study I shall concentrate on Diogenes Laertius’ presentation of the Ten Modes. Although he, like Sextus Empiricus (PH 1.164–9), goes on to add the Five Modes (Diog. Laert. 9.88–9), his account of the latter is virtually identical, word for word, to that given by Sextus, and therefore does not appear to demand a separate discussion here.(3)

    In Sextus’ surviving account of the Ten Modes, they are more fully “the modes [τρόποι, i.e. ‘means’] through which (δι´ ὧν) suspension seems to be inferred” (PH 1.35–6). Later, contracting this phraseology, Sextus calls each of them simply a “mode of suspension” (e.g. 79, ὁ ... πρῶτος τῆς ἐποχῆς τρόπος). Alternatively, Sextus tells us, instead of ‘modes’ they can be called ‘arguments’, λόγοι, or ‘headings’, τόποι, although the latter may instead, on a variant reading of his text, be ‘patterns’, τύποι. Jointly, these designations make it reasonably clear that the Ten Modes are so called because they are the inferential means through which, and/or the domains by reference to which, the Sceptic attains epochē." (p. 172)

    (1) These are exhaustively presented and studied in the pioneering Annas / Barnes 1985.

    The primary sources are: Sextus Empiricus PH 1.35–163; Philo, De ebrietate 169–205; Aristocles ap. Eusebius, Praep. evang. 14.18.11–12; Diogenes Laertius 9.78–88. Other apparent references to the Ten Modes include: Favorinus as cited by Gellius 11.5.4–5, and Plutarch’s lost On the Ten Modes of Pyrrho (Lamprias catalogue 158, accepting the emendation of τόπων to τρόπων). See further, Annas / Barnes 1985, chapter 3.

    (3) It has often been observed that the methodology of the Five Modes is at some points applied by Sextus while expounding the Ten Modes. It is impossible to say whether this represents a difference from Diogenes, whose version of the Ten Modes is too condensed for such methodological details to show up.


    Annas / Barnes 1985: J. Annas / J. Barnes, The Modes of Scepticism. Ancient Texts and Modern Interpretations (Cambridge 1985).

  24. Shalev, Donna. 2006. "The Role of εὑρήματα in the "Lives" of Diogenes Laertius, and Related Literature." Hermes:309-337.

    "1. the case of Protagoras, founder of speech act types

    The father of modem speech act theory and of the canon of speech act types is the Oxford philosopher John Austin: consensus has ascribed this founding role to Austin. Possibly assuming all his readers to be as erudite as himself, Austin did not feel the need to bring the prehistory of propositional meaning from the sources most accessible to him and his colleagues, the Greek Peripatetic and Stoic philosophers.

    Passage (1) below discusses varying taxonomies and terms for speech act types in different Greek philosophical schools of the Classical period as reflected in a much later text from the period of the Second Sophistic, namely, by Diogenes Laertius, the biographer of ancient Greek philosophers, in his chapter on Protagoras.

    Diogenes, in Lives and Opinions of the Eminent Philosophers 9.53.11-54.4, describes the taxonomy by the sophist Protagoras, an early contemporary of Socrates, giving him credit for having originated this division of speech act types, elsewhere attributed to Stoics:

    (1) Διεΐλέ τε τον λόγον πρώτος εις τέτταρα εύχωλήν, έρώτησιν, άπόκρισιν, έντολήν (οι δε είς επτά· (54) διήγησιν, έρώτησιν, άπόκρισιν, έντολήν, άπαγγελίαν, εύχωλήν, κλήσιν), ους καί πυθμένας είπε λόγων. Άλκιδάμας δέ τέτταρας λόγους φησί· φάσιν, άπόφασιν, έρώτησιν, προσαγόρευσιν.(3)

    [Protagoras] first divided speech into four: entreaty, interrogation, answer, and injunction.

    Others [say that he divided speech] into seven [types]: statement, interrogation, response, injunction, promise, entreaty, invocation which he also called pillars of speech. But Alcidamas says [that there are] four [types of] speech: affirmation, denial, question, greeting.

    The legitimacy of Protagoras' taxonomy of speech act types in passage (1) above is couched in the vehicle of coming from an innovator (Διεΐλέ ... πρώτος). A survey of the immediate context offers additional signs of a concerted effort to create an impressive effect, and ultimately to establish the standing and reception of Protagoras, the Sophist, as a cultural hero, in the context of the Lives of Diogenes Laertius; of Protagoras as a hero in the realm of the philosophy of language." (pp. 309-310, some notes omitted)

    (3) 3The texts of Diogenesi n this article are quoted from Marcovich 1959 edition published in the Teubner series (...)

  25. Sluiter, Ineke. 2005. "Communicating Cynicism: Diogenes' gangsta rap." In Language and Learning: Philosophy of Language in the Hellenistic Age, edited by Frede, Dorothea and Inwood, Brad, 139-163. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "In this contribution, I will focus on Cynic strategies of communication, and on problems of the interpretation of Cynicism resulting from their communicative choices. First, I will look at the Cynics’ use of transgressive non-verbal communication with the help of modern socio-linguistic theories of non-verbal communication and impression management. The Cynics scandalise their audience by their conscious use of the body and its processes for philosophical purposes; anthropological ideas about transgression will be helpful here (section 2).

    In section 3, I will turn to verbal communication, and investigate the Cynics’ characteristic use of language and literature, regarded as an aspect of their self-fashioning.Here, I argue thatCynic ideas on language correspond to a specific type of folk-linguistics, represented for us by a well-delineated literary tradition of iambos and comedy. I claim that the literary representations of Cynicism that have come down to us cannot be fully understood, unless their intertextual relations with other ancient transgressive genres are explored. The literary representations of the Cynics acquire a fuller meaning when they are seen to resonate within a web of comparable texts, notably the tradition of iambos and ancient comedy (section 3).

    Finally (section 4), I will raise the question of the effectiveness of the consciously self-undermining aspects of Cynic communication, again by comparing them to other transgressive genres like satire and gangsta rap.

    Throughout, my main focus of attention will be Diogenes, supplemented with some Antisthenes and later Cynics." (pp. 139-140, a note omitted)

  26. Sollenberger, Michael George. 1985. "Diogenes Laertius 5.36-57. The Vita Theophrasti." In Theophrastus of Eresus: On His Life and Work, edited by Fortenbaugh, William W., Huby, Pamela M. and Long, Anthony A., 1-62. New Brunswick: Transaction Books.

    "Diogenes' Lives and Opinions of the Outstanding Philosophers contains ten books, of which the fifth is devoted to Peripatetic philosophers. The Vita Aristotelis naturally comes first (5.1-35) and is followed by the Vita Theophrasti (5.36-57). While the former has recently been given special attention by Ingemar During, whose 1957 edition is readily available in his Aristotle in the Ancient Biographical Tradition, the latter has not received the attention it deserves. Indeed, it has not received special treatment since 1497, when it appeared, together with the Vita Aristotelis, in the second volume of the Aldine Aristotle. The text of Aldus' edition is quite unsatisfactory, for it is based on a reading of an inferior manuscript and embodies many conjectural emendations. Hermann Usener did publish an edition of Diogenes' catalogue of Theophrastean writings (5.42-50) in his Analecta Theophrastea (Diss. Bonn 1858), but he, too, neglected much of the manuscript evidence, only consulting Cobet's collation of a few manuscripts and some early editions and translations. The complete life of Theophrastus has, of course, been included in all editions of the whole of Diogenes' work, but the text has never been adequately supplied with textual apparatus. My aim, then, is to provide scholars with an edition of the Vita Theophrasti which is complete with upper and lower apparatus and generally meets the standards of modern philology." (p. 1, notes omitted)

  27. ———. 1987. "A Note on the Lives of Theophrastus and Strato in Diogenes Laertius 5. 57-58." Classical Philology no. 82:228-230.

  28. ———. 1992. "The Lives of the Peripatetics: An Analysis of the Contents and Structure of Diogenes Laertius' 'Vitae philosophorum' Book 5." In Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Teil II: Principat. Band 36: Philosophie, Wissenschaften, Technik. 6. Teilband: Philosophie (Doxographica [Forts.]), edited by Haase, Wolfgang, 3793-3879. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

    "Accounts of the lives of six early Peripatetic philosophers are contained in the fifth book of Diogenes Laertius' 'Vitae philosophorum': the lives of the first four leaders of the sect -- Aristotle, Theophrastus, Strato, and Lyco -- and those of two outstanding members -- Demetrius of Phalerum and Heraclides of Pontus. Our knowledge of the history of two rival schools, the Academy and the Stoa, is aided not only by the lives of several members of these two schools in Books Four and Seven of Diogenes' work, but also by accounts in the `Index Academicorum' and the 'Index Stoicorum' which have been preserved for us among the several papyri from Herculaneum.(1) But for the Peripatos there is no such second source of information. There are, to be sure, numerous bits and pieces of evidence which concern the school and its members scattered throughout ancient and medieval literature, many of which have been made readily accessible by F. Wehrli in his well-known series 'Die Schule des Aristoteles'.(2) Moreover, in addition to Diogenes' version, several other lives of Aristotle have come down to us and have been collected and analyzed in detail by I. Düring in his 'Aristotle in the Ancient Biographical Tradition'.(3) But for the lives and careers of other Peripatetics, Diogenes' accounts are the only ones available to us.

    All of the many aspects of these six lives cannot be discussed here with comprehensive thoroughness. Rather, relying on the studies and findings of past scholars, sometimes heavily, I shall offer a compilation of those findings in a systematic manner. Although oversimplification is inevitable in view of the many complex problems encountered in these lives, consideration will be given to general matters of content, structure, organization, and arrangement of material in Book Five as a whole, to the different categories of information in the individual lives, and to the two most striking features of this book which set it apart from other books: the wills of the first four scholarchs and the extensive catalogues of writings included by Diogenes for five of the six philosophers." (pp. 3793-3794)

    (1) P. Herc. 1021 (and 164) and 1018 respectively, edited by S. Mekler, Academicorum Philosophorum Index Herculanensis (Berlin, 1902), which should be read in conjunction with W. Crõnert, Die Ueberlieferung des Index Academicorum, Hermes 38 (1903) p. 357-405, and A. Traversa, Index Stoicorum Herculanensis. Istituto di filologia classica 1 (Genoa, 1952).

    (2) F. Wehrli, Die Schule des Aristoteles. Texte und Kommentare, 2nd ed. vol. 1 - 2 (Basel, 1967), vol. 3 --10 (Basel, 1969), suppl. vol. I (Basel, 1974), and suppl. vol. 2 (Basel, 1978). The fragments of Theophrastus, not included by Wehrli are being prepared by a team of scholars headed by W. Fortenbaugh in a series of volumes which is scheduled to appear soon. [Theophrastus of Eresus. Sources for his life, writings, thought and influence. Edited by Fortenbaugh William W. et al. Leiden: Brill 1992, two volumes].

    (3) Ingemar Düring Ingemar. Aristotle in the ancient biographical tradition. Studia Graeca et Latina Gothoburgensis 5 (Göteborg, 1957).

  29. Swift, Paul. 2007. "The History and Mystery of Diogenes Laertius." Prajñâ Vihâra no. 8:38-50.

    Abstract: “The History and Mystery of Diogenes Laertius” examines the peculiar status of the Lives of the Eminent Philosophers.

    As literature, philosophy, and history, the Lives is a unique text, since it furnishes us with the only surviving attempt to construct an encyclopedia of philosophy from the ancient western world. This essay examines some of the influence this text has had on the history of philosophy, especially Nietzsche’s interpretation of philosophy. There are parts of the Lives which are widely regarded as accurate by specialists in philosophy (such as the Letter to Menoeceus by Epicurus), but there are also parts of the text which are historically unreliable and inaccurate. Diogenes veers from history into fiction at times and this essay addresses some of the difficulties involved in determining precisely where these transitions occur. Even when using the best scholarly methods, it is not always possible to know which parts of the Lives are trustworthy: thus there is a mystery, a legend which Diogenes preserves at the dawn of western philosophy."

  30. Usher, M. D. . 2009. "Diogenes’ doggerel: ‘chreia’ and quotation in Cynic performance." Classical Journal:207-223.

    Abstract: "This paper examines Diogenes the Cynic's parodic quotations from Homer in anecdotes, or chreiai, preserved in Diogenes Laertius' Life. I argue that Diogenes' reworking of Homer suggests a deep familiarity with the themes, structures and compositional techniques of epic poetry and that Diogenes refashioned it spontaneously as a composing poet or rhapsode might have done in performance."

  31. Vogt, Katja Maria. 2015. "Introduction: Skepticism and Metaphysics in Diogenes Laertius." In Pyrrhonian Skepticism in Diogenes Laertius, edited by Vogt, Katja Maria, 3-14. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

    "In this Introduction, I make some suggestions about ways in which the study of Diogenes’ report may alter one’s perception of ancient skepticism.

    To situate these suggestions, a sketch of the nature of Diogenes’ report is needed. I shall address what kind of author Diogenes is, the history of Pyrrhonism, the structure of Diogenes’ report, and which versions of skepticism it covers (Section 1). To illustrate how interesting Metaphysically Inclined Skepticism may be, I then turn to §§ 61–73. Here Diogenes talks about Pyrrho, Pyrrho’s immediate students, as well as presumed ancestors of skepticism in early Greek thought. Interpreters tend to agree that nothing of philosophical interest can be found in these references to poets and Pre-Socratic thinkers. I shall suggest that the opposite holds (Section 2).

    My remarks on these matters are brief. They are intended to raise rather than answer questions, pointing the reader to the essays in this volume, to existing contributions in the field, and to what I see as potential topics for future research." (p. 4)

  32. ———, ed. 2015. Pyrrhonian Skepticism in Diogenes Laertius. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

    Table of Contents: SAPERE V, Preface to this Volume VII-VIII;

    A. Introduction

    Katja Maria Vogt: Introduction: Skepticism and Metaphysics in Diogenes Laertius 3;

    B. Text, Translation and Commentary

    ΔΙΟΓΕΝΟΥΣ ΛΑΕΡΤΙΟΥ ΠΥΡΡΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΤΙΜΩΝ (Text by Tiziano Dorandi, and Translation by Elizabeth Scharffenberger and Katja Maria Vogt) 16;

    Elizabeth Scharffenberger and Katja Maria Vogt: Commentary on the Translation 52;

    C. Essays

    Richard Bett: Pyrrhonism in Diogenes Laertius 75; James Warren: Precursors of Pyrrhonism: Diog. Laert. 9.67–73 105; Lorenzo Corti: Mind and Language of the Laërtian Pyrrhonist: Diog. Laert. 9.74–77 123; Christiana M. M. Olfert: Skeptical Investigation and Its Perks: Diog. Laert. 9.69–70 and 79–89 147; David Sedley: Diogenes Laertius on the Ten Pyrrhonist Modes 171;

    D. Appendices

    I. Bibliography 189; II. Indices (Andrea Villani) 193; III. Authors 201-202.

    "Diogenes Laertius’ report on Pyrrhonian skepticism occupies part of Book IX of his Lives of Eminent Philosophers (§§ 61–116). Diogenes writes in the 3rd century CE, and his account of Pyrrhonian skepticism covers roughly four hundred years of the history of Pyrrhonism. It is divided into two chapters, one devoted to Pyrrho and more generally to Pyrrhonian skepticism, and a much shorter chapter devoted to Timon, Pyrrho’s student.

    Next to Sextus Empiricus’ writings, Diogenes’ report is the most detailed and philosophically sophisticated description of Pyrrhonian skepticism.

    This volume offers a new English translation, printed next to the Greek text generously supplied by Tiziano Dorandi, as well as a range of scholarly essays by experts on ancient skepticism." (Preface, p. VII)

  33. Warren, James. 2007. "Diogenes Laertius, Biographer of Philosophy." In Ordering Knowledge in the Roman Empire, edited by König, Jason and Whitmarsh, Tim, 133-149. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "Diogenes’ importance as a source for those working on the history of ancient philosophy has never been in doubt, but his credentials as a philosophical historian have not been so universally accepted. Often, Diogenes is praised for the virtue of having collected and ordered information from other, mainly Hellenistic, sources, and is thanked for his compilation but excused for his lack of philosophical acumen. Of course, such damning criticism of his approach is possible only once we have established some more concrete answers to the sorts of questions with which I began, questions about how the history of philosophy ought to be written. I make no effort to do that here. In any case, although I cannot attempt to articulate fully and defend the view here, I suspect that there is no single definitive or superior conception of how the history of philosophy ought to be written. Rather, I will ask why Diogenes wrote as he did. What does the organisation of the work tell us about his conception of philosophy and its history? My central contention will be that Diogenes’ work is an example of one way of writing and conceiving the history of philosophy – in terms of biography. But he does not limit himself to telling the life-stories of philosophers; he also wishes to construct from these philosophers’ lives the ‘life-story’ of philosophy itself."(p. 134, a note omitted)

  34. ———. 2015. "Precursors of Pyrrhonism: Diog. Laert. 9.67–73." In Pyrrhonian Skepticism in Diogenes Laertius, edited by Vogt, Katja Maria, 105-121. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

    "I will consider two of these sub-sections in turn: first, and more briefly, 67–9 and then 71–3. As a pair they illustrate rather well the combination of the ethical and the epistemological aspects of Pyrrho’s outlook at work throughout this part of book nine and neatly announced in 9.61: “And in general he denied that anything is ‘in truth’ but thought that all human actions are ‘by habit’ or ‘by convention’, for each thing is no more this than that.” The question of the precise original emphasis in Pyrrho’s own thought between these ethical and the epistemological strands is, of course, rather difficult to settle. Modern interpreters differ, often quite significantly, in their assessment of the extent to which later sceptics influenced the presentation of Pyrrho’s original position. This brief section in Diogenes neatly encapsulates the difficulties in our sources that give rise to these on-going disputes and suggests that certainly already by Diogenes’

    time it had become difficult to reconcile all the various accounts and interpretations of Pyrrho’s philosophy. This passage also exemplifies a more general difficulty that ancient philosophers and ancient historians of philosophy faced in accommodating scepticism as a tradition or movement in their stories of the development of Greek thought.(3)" (pp. 106-107)

    (3) For an excellent and concise account of this difficulty see Brunschwig 1999a, 232–7.


    Brunschwig 1999a “Introduction: The Beginnings of Hellenistic Epistemology”, in: K. Algra / J. Barnes / J. Mansfeld / M. Schofield (eds.), The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy (Cambridge 1999) 229–59.

  35. White, Stephen. 2020. "Diogenes Laertius and Philosophical Lives." In The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Biography, edited by De Temmerman, Koen, 251-266.

    "Diogenes’ Lives is an exceptional work on many counts, including some of special significance for this Handbook. For one, it is the single largest collection of Lives to survive from Classical Antiquity, handily surpassing Plutarch in number and scope if not in depth or length, and so too Philostratus and Suetonius. It is also a key witness to the early stages of biographical literature in the fourth and third centuries BC, preserving valuable evidence for pioneers like Aristoxenus, Antigonus of Carystus, Hermippus, and Satyrus. At the same time, it presents the single most comprehensive account of the origins and development of an entire discipline, and a distinctive form of intellectual history from a biographical perspective. It also, accordingly, represents a distinctive form of life-writing, framed by basic biographical data but lean, often very lean, on the standard biographical fare—from a modern perspective at least—of incident and narrative, and governed instead by its disciplinary orientation, its sustained focus on philosophy as a distinctive cultural practice and way to live. Its over-arching goal, evidently, is to tell, in condensed but leisurely fashion, how that practice began and evolved, the contributions of its formative figures, and especially the enduring fruits of their endeavours: a record of their memorable insights and sayings, their writings, theories, and other discoveries—stopping for the most part well short of the author’s own day, some time in the Severan age, most likely the opening decades of the third century. The result thus amounts to an ostensive definition of philosophy, as the author conceived it, in the form of a gallery of its most influential and memorable representatives in all their diversity of attitude, approach, and achievement (Mejer 1992; Warren 2007). Importantly for this Handbook, its peculiar methods, contents, and format also enlarge the range and scope of ancient biography, and in ways that invite and inform critical reflection on the nature and purposes of life-writing in Antiquity." (pp. 251-252, a note omitted)


    Mejer, J. 1992. ‘Diogenes Laertius and the transmission of Greek philosophy’, ANRW II. 36.5, 3656-3602.

    Warren, J. 2007. ‘Diogenes Laertius, biographer of philosophy’, in J. König and T. Whitmarsh (eds.), Ordering Knowledge in the Roman Empire. Cambridge, 133-149.