Philosophy can be incredibly dry at times, giving it a bad name. With all of its jargon, complex theories, and intricate history, philosophy is strictly scholarly, intimidating intellectuals, scaring away laypeople, and attracting very little attention, as most people prefer to stay away from the dense topic; what people tend to overlook, though, is that philosophy is not always boring, for philosophy is filled with humorous yet interesting anecdotes concerning famous philosophers. So, without further ado, I present part four of Philosophy Fun Facts, which will be a short series of quirky but educational fun facts about philosophers and philosophy.
The Death of Chrysippus
The Stoic philosopher Chrysippus (279-206 BCE) is responsible for composing most of the Stoic doctrines. A prolific and brilliant logician, he wrote tens of books, none of which survive today. Using logic, Chrysippus was able to defend his Stoicism and criticize opposing schools. It is ironic how the adjective Stoic refers to someone stiff and unemotional, seeing as Chrysippus purportedly died from, get this… laughing too much. For a Stoic philosopher, Chrysippus surely did not get the whole apathy part down. Stories say he laughed after watching his donkey eat a fig.
The Death of Peregrinus
The Roman satirist Lucian of Samosata (125-180) told of the Cynic philosopher Peregrinus Proteus (95-165), writing that Peregrinus had a long history of rejection and shame. After being kicked out from a Christian brotherhood, after being removed from the Cynic school, after protesting against the Romans, and after humiliating several people at the Olympics, Peregrinus was exiled to Athens. Finally, after teaching philosophy for 4-8 years, Peregrinus ran in the middle of the next Olympic Games, jumping into a pyre, burning himself in front of the audience, truly a fiery finale.
For further reading:
501 Things You Should Have Learned About Philosophy by Alison Rattle (2012)
1001 Ideas That Changed the Way We Think by Robert Arp (2013)
The Essentials of Philosophy by James Mannion (2006)
The Twilight of the Idols by Friedrich Nietzsche (1888)
The Dream of Reason by Anthony Gottlieb (2000)
History of Philosophy by Julian Marias (1967)