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which was part of the convention between that chief and the triumvirs, returned to Rome. Here he lived in retirement until Octavianus assumed him as his colleague in the Consulship after Sept. 13 B.C. 30. Soon after the termination of his office, he was made Proconsul of Asia”?. Of his later life we know nothing He possessed none of the high qualities which marked his father's character, his ambition, his energy, application and self-denial,-one of the principal reasons, doubtless, why Cicero dedicated to him an essay on Duties. The impressive admonitions which the father addresses to his son (1 $ 3, 111 $ 5 $6 and $ 121) prove that he was not altogether satisfied with his conduct, as is further shewn by some of his
letters to Atticus 18 concerning him. 5 Cicero is too much of a Roman not to give a decided pre
ference to a life of practical activity over that of the mere student, and the study of philosophy with him only served as an introduction to the profession of an orator. Whilst fully recognising the sublime enjoyment arising from the pursuit of knowledge", he maintains at the same time that man's natural inclination is rather to a life of public activity than of study, for knowledge is defective and incomplete unless it be made to serve some useful end". The aim of all Philosophy is with him to ascertain the right method of action and the conditions of a happy life. He bestows especial praise therefore upon Socrates, because he was the first to divert the study of philosophy from occupying itself with questions of physics into its right channel', the domain of ethics; and in his own philosophical writings Logic and Physics are represented as inferior to Ethics and considered only so far as they have any practical bearing, the former as the groundwork of all philosophy and as especially important for the orator, the latter as a necessary
20 de off. 1 19,
17 Ramsay Life of Cicero in Smith's Dict. of Biogr. Vol. I p. 746.
XIII I, XIV 16, 2. 19 Tusc. disp. V 24, 68 ff. § 142 ff, de fin. V c. 20 ff. 21 Tusc. V 4, 10 Socrates primus philosophiam dcvocavit e caelo et in urbibus conlocavit et in domus etiam introduxit et coëgit de vita et moribus rebusque bonis et malis quaerere, Acad. 1 4 $S 15, 16; Senec. ep. mor. Ixxxix, 18 quidquid legeris, ad mores statim referas.
supplement to Ethics, and because the question concerning the relation of God to the world is of importance for our happiness and the right conduct of life. On the other hand Cicero had himself bestowed most thought on Ethics and sought to form his own conclusions, although he had not enough originality of genius to introduce any new theory, and was deficient in the philosophical training necessary for the production of a complete system. The negative character of his convictions is seen especially in his rejection of the Epicurean doctrine of Pleasure, while he wavers as if unable to make up his mind between the Stoics and Peripatetics where these two schools are not in accordance. Setting aside those of 6 his minor writings which refer to ethics, as the de amicitia and de senectute, we can easily recognize the connexion which subsists between the rest. Thus in the five books de finibus he compares and discusses the opinions of the three Greek schools, the Epicurean, the Stoic and the Peripatetic, on the question what is the supreme good—the fundamental principle of practical wisdom--and thus lays the foundation for future superstructure. In the Tusculanae disputationes he examines various leading points of ethical philosophy, viz. such as belong to Psychology, in the discussion of which he handles the dogmas of the Stoic, Academic and other schools as an eclectic rather than in a sceptical and polemical spirit. The three books de officiis are taken up with the paraenetic part of ethics, the precepts of practical philosophy, and are thus connected with the work de finibus. As to the commentarius de virtutibus, mentioned by Charisius II p. 200 ed. Keil“, it is not known in what relation it stood to the above books. It was, anyhow, a supplementary treatise, but it seems to have been a collection of dogmas rather than a work elaborated for publication.
Cicero acknowledges himself a follower of the Academy as 7 revived by Karneades, in regard to the dogma that man cannot know anything for certain, but it would be wrong to consider him for this reason a Sceptic in the proper sense of the word. The object of his Scepticism was not to prove the in
Augustinus de trinit. XIV II
possibility of all knowledge but, starting from the axiom that absolute certainty is unattainable in questions of speculative philosophy, to find out by inquiry that which after sifting all the conflicting opinions of philosophers has most probability in its favour and thus to secure himself against the foolish presumption of those who would establish absolute certainty, where certainty is impossible (11 $ 8, Acad. Il 3, 7). In place of absolute and certain knowledge he prefers the probable, probabile. In all questions of a purely speculative nature we must, he says, rest satisfied with this, except where in particular questions, such as that concerning the existence of the
gods, the inborn sense is so strong that probability becomes 8 certainty 23. But as philosophy has to teach us only the right
method of conduct, these speculative questions are of secondary importance in comparison with those of a practical bearing, and in order to secure us against error in our actions, the discovery of the probabile is enough, as Karneades taught ". Our natural feeling of what is right and on the other hand the evidence of our senses make it possible to distinguish the True from the False. The objection therefore against Cicero, that as a Sceptic he had no right to lay down definite rules? on moral obligations, is groundless and all the more so, because in his ethical treatises he has avoided Scepticism more than in his other writings. From a positive point of view he rejects the doctrine of Epicurus and agrees with the principles of the Stoics and Peripatetics, and particularly in questions of special morality he does not admit Scepticism at all. In fact he lays down in this branch of Ethics a definite system, though he certainly fails to carry it out with much consistency, modifying it when practical interests require and supplementing it with additions borrowed from other systems, even if these do
24 Acad. prior.
23 Tusc. disp. I 16, 36 deos esse natura opinamur. 11 $ 99 quidquid acciderit specie probabile, si nihil se offeret, quod sit probabilitati illi contrarium, utetur eo sapiens, ac sic omnis ratio vitae gubernabitur. Etenim is quoque, qui a vobis sapiens inducitur, multa sequitur probabilia non comprehensa neque percepta neque adsensa sed similia veri; quae nisi probet, omnis vita tollatur, ib. § 104.
25 de off. i $7.
not wholly coincide with the principles originally advanced by him. It is one of his characteristics that, following in 9 the steps of his contemporary Antiochus the Academic, he strives to reconcile the different schools of philosophy and to obliterate their antagonism. Thus he not only disregards the distinction between the sceptics of the new Academy and the school of Plato, but maintains also that there was no material difference between the Platonics and Peripatetics”. Even the Stoics, he contends, have borrowed all from the Academics and Peripatetics and changed the names only, or, even if we recognize any difference between them and the Peripatetics, such difference can exercise no influence on special Morality29. In other places, however, Cicero points out the distinction between the two schools, without regard to the contradiction in which he thereby involves himself.
Of all the philosophical systems that prevailed at Rome 10 the Epicurean was the one which Cicero most disliked": he is sometimes even unjust to it, and in his attacks upon it exhibits more rhetorical pathos than philosophical arguments. Thus his choice lay between the Stoic, Peripatetic and Academic schools, the latter of which at that time, having been reformed by Antiochus, sought to reconcile the other two. He finds fault with the Peripatetics because in their theory of the affections they justify fear and anger as natural and do not attempt to eradicate such weaknesses 83. In ethics also he was influenced more or less by Antiochus, as the books de finibus shew. But on the whole he decided in favour of the Stoics, as far as ethics were concerned, not only by propounding their views, but also by borrowing from them whenever it
26 de nat. deor. I § 11. 27 de off. 1 & 2 nostra legens non multum a Peripateticis dissidentia, quoniam utrique Socratici et Platonici volumus esse, de finn. v § 7.
28 de fin. v § 22 restant Stoici, qui cum a Peripateticis et Academicis omnia transtulissent, nominibus aliis casdem res secuti sunt, ib. § 74.
29 de finn. v $ 76 f., de off. ui $ 33. 30 Acad. I c. 10. 31 de off. III C. 33.
32 de fin. l. II. 33 de off. 1 § 89, Tusc. disp. IV § 43 quid, quod iidem Peripatetici pertur. bationes istas, quas nos extirpandas putamus, non modo naturalis esse dicunt sed etiam utiliter a natura datas.
11 suited his purposes. In the philosophy of the Stoics he found
the doctrine of duties carried into detail: their system more than any other represented man as independent of external circumstances, and it appeared to him nobler and greater to say with the Stoics that the morally good is alone and at all times expedient, than to maintain with others that there are virtuous actions which are not expedient, and expedient which are immoral. Notwithstanding he cannot accept all their conclusions. Much is uncouth and offends against good manners and natural feeling, by which he is guided more than by philosophic conviction. The refined Roman has a great horror of all cynical rudeness, from which the Stoics are not wholly exemptsThe notion also that the wise man may be happy under pain and ought to be wholly independent of external circumstances, while it seems to him sublime, is too much opposed to his own instinctive feeling not to admit of some concession to the Peripatetics 87. Above all he regards as absurd the Stoic paradox, that all unwise men--and such all men are, properly speaking, according to the Stoics-are unwise, all bad men bad, in an equal degree, all foolish men equally foolish”, that, short of the standard of perfection, all faults and vices are of equal magnitude: the first of these dogmas he ignores in the de officiis, and of wrongs he says that those done from thoughtlessness are less criminal than such as are wilful and premeditated. He commends highly the preference which they assign to a life of practical activity over one of philosophical contemplation". The Stoics say that a wise man should at least take some part in the state, where an inclination to progress manifests itself: so Cicero calls it cowardice and neglect of duty to their country, if those who have the ability do not devote themselves zealously to the public service“.
34 de fin. 1 $ 6, de off. 1 86. 35 de off. II § 20.
86 de off. 1 & 128.
38 de finn. IV $ 77 quoniam, 37 de finn. V 26, 77 f., Tusc. II 13, 30. inquiunt, omne peccatum imbecillitatis et inconstantiae est, haec autem vitia in omnibus stultis aeque magna sunt, necesse est paria esse peccata etc. 39 de off. I § 27. 40 de off. 1 $ 19, C. 43 f.
41 de off. I § 72.