Cicero and Dicaearchus

Sean Mcconnell

in Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644384
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191743344 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy

Cicero and Dicaearchus

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Cicero's general interest in Dicaearchus' ethical and political thought can be detected in his letters to Atticus and De legibus. At present, however, we do not possess a clear and detailed picture of Dicaearchus' influence on Cicero's own ethical and political thought. This chapter argues that, despite these obstacles, we can construct a positive account of the nature and extent of Dicaearchus' influence that offers new insights into key aspects of Cicero's philosophical thought and practice. First it offers a novel reconstruction of Dicaearchus' argument for the supremacy of the praktikos bios and his relationship with Aristotle and Theophrastus in the Peripatetic tradition. The chapter then considers how Dicaearchus figures in Cicero's political and ethical deliberations by analysing a letter to Atticus in which Dicaearchus is referred to by name. At this point we are in a position to identify the precise nature of Dicaearchus' influence on Cicero's De republica, which is the subject of the final and concluding section. Here the chapter argues that Cicero's vision of philosophy and its role in Roman political culture, as showcased in the preface to De republica, is appropriated in all fundamental respects from Dicaearchus.

Keywords: Cicero; Dicaearchus; ethics; political philosophy; De republica; Peripatetic; Aristotle; Theophrastus; praktikos bios; influence

Chapter.  19903 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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