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Cicero and the People’s Will
  • Lex Paulson, Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique, Morocco
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Book description

This book tells an overlooked story in the history of the will, a contested idea in both politics and philosophy of mind. For it is Cicero, statesman and philosopher, who gives shape to the notion of will as it would become in Western thought and who invents the idea of 'the will of the people'. In a single word – voluntas – he brings Roman law in contact with Greek ideas, chief among them Plato's claim that a rational elite must rule. When the republic falls to Caesarism, Cicero turns his political argument inward: will is a force to win the virtue in the soul that was lost on the battlefield, the marker of inner freedom in an unfree age. Though his vision of a free republic failed in his time, Cicero's ideal of rational elitism has shaped and fractured the modern world – and Ciceronian creativity may yet save it.

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  • Chapter 1 - Forebears of Will
    pp 17-31


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