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For approximately the last thirty years, Cicero’s reputation as a philosopher has been rising after close to a century of very low esteem. The alleged reasons for this disrepute are numerous and varied. Cicero was Roman, and Romans were thought to be neither scientific nor philosophical. He wrote in Latin, when the genuine language of philosophy was and is Greek. No original thinker, he was not so much a philosopher as translator and compiler, pasting together various philosophical works from the second and first century bce. This he did in his spare time, for Cicero was an amateur philosopher. His main pursuits were politics and judicial advocacy. When he turned to philosophy, he was content to adopt a form of eclecticism amenable to his own changing status in the troubled last decades of the Roman Republic. This short introduction won’t be covering Cicero’s philosophical works and their context (for which the reader should consult Chapter 1); it aims only to present the various and complementary ways in which this Companion, building on earlier studies, may answer these charges and allow us to gain a more accurate and richer picture of Cicero as a philosopher.
Cicero is one of the most important and influential thinkers within the history of Western philosophy. For the last thirty years, his reputation as a philosopher has once again been on the rise after close to a century of very low esteem. This Companion introduces readers to 'Cicero the philosopher' and to his philosophical writings. It provides a handy port-of-call for those interested in Cicero's original contributions to a wide variety of topics such as epistemology, the emotions, determinism and responsibility, cosmopolitanism, republicanism, philosophical translation, dialogue, aging, friendship, and more. The international, interdisciplinary team of scholars represented in this volume highlights the historical significance and contemporary relevance of Cicero's writings, and suggests pathways for future scholarship on Cicero's philosophy as we move through the twenty-first century.
This introduction summarizes the main questions concerning dialectic and its study after Plato and Aristotle, starting from the general problem of the unity of dialectic from Antiquity to contemporary philosophy. After distinguishing the practice(s) of dialectic and its rival definitions from Plato to Stoicism, the question whether Plato's and Aristotle's conceptions of dialectic influenced Hellenistic and Imperial philosophers is raised, together with the problem of the epistemological status and metaphysical underpinning of dialectic.