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Cicero's Philosophy of History$
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Matthew Fox

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199211920

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199211920.001.0001

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Struggle, Compensation, and Argument in Cicero's Philosophy

Struggle, Compensation, and Argument in Cicero's Philosophy

Chapter:
(p.22) 2 Struggle, Compensation, and Argument in Cicero's Philosophy
Source:
Cicero's Philosophy of History
Author(s):

Matthew Fox (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199211920.003.0002

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.

Keywords:   academic philosophy, scepticism, de officiis, Plato, rhetoric

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