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Diogenes of Babylon: a Stoic on music and ethics

Woodward, L.H.; (2009) Diogenes of Babylon: a Stoic on music and ethics. Masters thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The aim of this thesis is to analyse Diogenes of Babylon's musico-ethical theories, to place them into their historical context, and to examine the possible influences on his thought. Earlier treatments of this Stoic's work have been hampered by the lacunose state of Philodemus' surviving text, the major source, and in some cases an opponent's views have been mistakenly attributed to Diogenes. Conversely, the state of the text together with erroneous column numbering, have resulted in part of Diogenes' philosophy being ascribed to his Epicurean opponent. Taking Professor Delattre's recently reconstructed edition of Philodemus’ De musica as my starting point, I attempt to more fully analyse Diogenes' theory of music and ethics. Following a short introductory chapter, I briefly examine Diogenes' other interests, analyse his psychology compared with that of earlier Stoics, and examine how that fits into Diogenes' view on music in education. I outline Diogenes' general view on music, and compare the musical writings of Plato, Aristotle and the early Peripatetics with those of Diogenes, particularly in relation to education, and outline areas that might have influenced the Stoic. I also look at later writings where they can be seen as evidence for Diogenes' work. An examination of views on poetry as reported by Philodemus elucidates Diogenes' claim that the mousikoi of music were analogous to the kritikoi for poetry. In the thesis as a whole, I argue that far from having a radical musical theory, Diogenes fitted easily into the traditional musico-historical context, but developed a more technical approach than those before him. In addition to arguing for Diogenes' orthodoxy, I suggest that Philodemus had two motives in writing this polemical work. In refuting the Stoic's claims regarding music, he also vigorously defends the Epicurean school against accusations of ignorance.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: Diogenes of Babylon: a Stoic on music and ethics
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Greek and Latin
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/18950
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