Greek Roman

Cicero the Philosopher: Twelve Papers by J. G. F. Powell

By J. G. F. Powell

Cicero can be top often called a political candidate, yet he used to be additionally one of many few major Roman writers of philosophy. Powell offers a brand new and intriguing collection of present scholarly paintings in this overlooked facet of him, developing Cicero firmly as a major philosophical author of continuous significance and relevance.

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Even after we have read the Republic we can still see the point of the reference to a subject that is not made fully comprehensible by its context. Thus we are not supposing that Plato is posing a problem to which he has the answer, while keeping it ‘up his sleeve’ for the reader to guess at. The relation of the passages is more complex than that. 38 The Virtuous Life in Greek Ethics evildoer does not see . . 16 This passage is typical of the problem that the ‘digression’ raises. We seem here to have a reference to what in the Republic are called Forms, the objects of philosophical dialectic.

18 19 20 21 Cf. Gagarin 1969. The interpretative problem arises because Simonides faults Pittacus for saying that it is hard to be good (339c3–5) although, in the same poem, he himself says that for a man to become truly good or truly to become good is hard (339b1–3). Protagoras sees a contradiction here, and Socrates undertakes to acquit Simonides of inconsistency (339c7–d10). To this end, he makes several proposals, At one point, he enlists Prodicus as the acknowledged expert on word meanings.

Euthd. 282a–b, tr. Sprague in Cooper 1997. Socrates asks for Cleinias’ assent to this, but it is not seriously in doubt. He also points out that the claim depends on wisdom’s being teachable, which has not yet been established, but is satisfied, at least for present purposes, by Cleinias’ ready assertion that it is (282c). Not just the long-dead fifth-century sophists, but contemporaries of Plato like Isocrates. 11 In both cases this is part of a strongly marked protreptic towards virtue and wisdom.

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