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The Revival of Platonism in Cicero's Late Philosophy

Platonis aemulus and the Invention of Cicero
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William H. F. Altman
Lexington Books
eBook Typ:
Adobe Digital Editions
eBook Format:
2 - DRM Adobe

Introduction: Cicero as Platonis aemulus

Part 1: The Foundations of Cicero's Platonic Revival

Chapter 1. Cicero's Platonic personae and the Problem of De legibus
Chapter 2. Augustine's Hortensius and the Invention of "Cicero"
Chapter 3. Self-Contradictory Skepticism in the Academica
Chapter 4. The Limits of Stoicism and Tullia's Shrine in De finibus

Part 2: The Literary Fruits of Cicero's Platonism

Chapter 5. Womanly Humanism in the Tusculanae Disputationes
Chapter 6. Phaedo and Timaeus in De natura deorum
Chapter 7. Interpreting Plato's Dreams in De divinatione
Chapter 8. Epicurus, Chrysippus, and Homer in De fato
Chapter 9. The Ciceronian Renaissance in De senectute and De amicitia

Part 3: Cicero's Platonism in Action

Chapter 10. Returning in Topica, De officiis, and the Philippics
Chapter 11. Brutus as Funeral Oration.
Chapter 12. Ending with Orator.

Less than two years before his murder, Cicero created a catalogue of his philosophical writings that included dialogues he had written years before, numerous recently completed works, and even one he had not yet begun to write, all arranged in the order he intended them to be read, beginning with the introductory Hortensius, rather than in accordance with order of composition. Following the order of the De divinatione catalogue, William H. F. Altman considers each of Cicero's late works as part of a coherent philosophical project determined throughout by its author's Platonism. Locating the parallel between Plato's Allegory of the Cave and Cicero's "Dream of Scipio" at the center of Cicero's life and thought as both philosopher and orator, Altman argues that Cicero is not only "Plato's rival" (it was Quintilian who called him Platonis aemulus) but also a peerless guide to what it means to be a Platonist, especially since Plato's legacy was as hotly debated in his own time as it still is in ours. Distinctive of Cicero's late dialogues is the invention of a character named "Cicero," an amiable if incompetent adherent of the New Academy whose primary concern is only with what is truth-like (veri simile); following Augustine's lead, Altman shows the deliberate inadequacy of this pose, and that Cicero himself, the writer of dialogues who used "Cicero" as one of many philosophical personae, must always be sought elsewhere: in direct dialogue with the dialogues of Plato, the teacher he revered and whose Platonism he revived.

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