This book explores Cicero's moral and political philosophy with great attention to his life and thought as a whole. The author "thinks through" Cicero with a close reading of his most important philosophical writings. Nicgorski often resolves apparent tensions in Cicero's thought that have posed obstacles to the appreciation of his practical philosophy. Some of the major tensions confronted are those between his Academic skepticism and apparent Stoicism, between his commitment to philosophy and to politics, rhetoric and oratory, and between his attachment to Greek philosophy and his profound engagement in Roman culture. Moreover, the key theme within Cicero's writings is his intended recovery, within his Roman context, of both the Socratic focus on great questions of practical philosophy and Socratic skepticism. Cicero's recovery of Socratic political philosophy in Roman garb is then the basis for recovery of Cicero as a notable political thinker relevant to our time and its problems.
Walter Nicgorski is Professor Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, USA. He is editor of and contributor to Cicero's Practical Philosophy (2012), co-editor and contributor to Leo Strauss: Political Philosopher and Jewish Thinker (1994) and An Almost Chosen People: The Moral Aspirations of Americans (1977). Key topics of his published essays are Cicero, liberal and character education, American political foundations, Leo Strauss, Allan Bloom, and Yves Simon.
CONTENTS AcknowledgmentsSeries Editors ForewordPrefatory NoteChronology of Cicero's Life and WritingsIntroduction Chapter 1 Skepticism, Politics and a Philosophical Foundation Cicero's Skepticism Skepticism Versus Wisdom Skepticism in the Service of Wisdom Chapter 2 The Critical and Rhetorical Modes of Philosophy Socratic Method Socratic Irony and Socratic Skepticism The Socratic Way of Life The Mixed Modes of Cicero Perfecta Philosophia Chapter 3 Duties and VirtueThe Right and the Useful Nature, Natural Law and the Virtues The Norms of Utility The Primary Need: Statesmanship Assessing the Philosophical Schools Chapter 4 Political Philosophy and the Roman Republic The Loving Quarrel With Plato The Imagery of Contract and the Role of Consent The Assertion and Implication of Equality The Nature of Genuine Progress Property: End or Means? Beyond the Roman Community Developing the Prudent Statesman Friendship's Role in Statesmanship The Troubled Path of Glory Virtue as True Glory Epilogue ReferencesIndex of Citations of CiceroIndex