Review: Diogenes Laertius: Lives of Eminent Philosophers: An Edited Translation by Stephen White [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 75 (4):837-838 (2022)
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Diogenes Laertius’ Lives of Eminent Philosophers occupies a unique place in the history of Western philosophy. In addition to its valuable summaries of the doctrines of philosophers and their schools, it is often the best, or, indeed, the only source available for biographical details of many figures. Yet, as a work, it is often criticized for a lack of originality and critical judgement, notable only because it happened to survive while all other philosophical histories of the era did not, or useful only because Diogenes had access to sources which are now lost to us. White sets himself against this pessimistic interpretation of Diogenes, and endeavors to show both the genuine merits of his work and his worth as a historian.

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Anthony Hejduk
Columbia University


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