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Chapter 4 - Nos in diem vivimus

Cicero’s Approach in the Tusculan Disputations

from Part I - Techniques and Tactics of Ciceronian Philosophy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 January 2023

Nathan Gilbert
Affiliation:
University of Durham
Margaret Graver
Affiliation:
Dartmouth College, New Hampshire
Sean McConnell
Affiliation:
University of Otago, New Zealand
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Summary

In a striking passage from the last book of his Tusculan Disputations, Cicero claims to live from day to day (nos in diem vivimus; 5.33). He always opts for what he deems probable, and this, he argues, also constitutes his freedom. This remarkable statement, which is obviously rooted in Cicero’s Academic philosophy, is far from unproblematic. This contribution aims at a better understanding of Cicero’s claim, through an analysis of his argumentative strategies in Tusculan Disputations. More precisely, attention is given to Cicero’s use of (1) the argument from common sense, (2) the argument from dignitas and decorum, (3) illustrative examples, and (4) to his approach in introducing the philosophical topics of the conversation. Finally, I deal with the complicated question as to whether Cicero’s sophisticated attitude of in diem vivere can be reconciled with the therapeutic goal of Tusculan Disputations.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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