Struggle, Compensation, and Argument in Cicero's Philosophy
This chapter explores in more detail two different ways of providing a context to the reading of Cicero's philosophy: the tradition of Academic scepticism in philosophy, inaugurated by Plato, which stressed the open-endedness of philosophical enquiry; and also Cicero's own ambivalence about the relevance of philosophy to public life and politics. The chapter examines the concept of compensation: how philosophy acted as a compensation for Cicero's marginalization from the world of politics. The effect of such compensation on the character of the philosophy is ambiguous. Close reading suggests a constant awareness of the mismatch between Cicero's literary and political ambitions, and that Cicero was under no illusions as to the marginal relationship between philosophy and Roman history. Rhetoric is a central element in this ambiguous relationship.
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