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Political ThinkersFrom Socrates to the Present

Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present (3rd edn)

David Boucher and Paul Kelly
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p. 1036. Cicerolocked

p. 1036. Cicerolocked

  • Cary J. Nederman

Abstract

This chapter examines Cicero's social and political theory, which rests upon his conception of human nature, namely that human beings are capable of speech and reason. It first provides a short biography of Cicero before discussing his discursive approach to republican rule based on the claim that human nature can only be fully realized through articulate and wise speech. For Cicero, social order requires wise leaders who direct citizens toward the proper goals of cooperation and mutual advantage and who thus seek peace rather than war. The chapter proceeds by analysing Cicero's argument that political institutions must be built upon natural law and virtue, especially justice, along with his notion of patriotic citizenship and his views on war and peace; statesmanship, courage, and otium; the origins of political inequality; and republican government.

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