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Ciceronian Philosophy

Post  Achrelus on Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:40 pm

I was hoping somebody here could outline the main points of how Cicero thought. From what I have read I feel like I agree so far but cant seem to find a decent outline. Also, I am looking to get a compilation of his works and would like some recommendation for which version is the best translation/collection I could get, since I don't have any bookstores nearby to allow me to look at them.

Valete et gratias vobis ago.
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Re: Ciceronian Philosophy

Post  Out of Phlegethon on Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:38 am

From what I understand, Cicero was very much under the influence of the Stoic philosopher Panaetius. He seems to be concerned with duty and obligations, ethics, etc. , and like Panaetius, was affirming a more ethically fluid Stoicism. There was a desire to curb some of the ascetic excesses (which resulted often in hypocrisies, resulting in satire, see Martial on the subject) of Roman Stoicism. The thing is, the earlier Greek Stoics already had been there, and in interesting ways, at least erotically speaking.
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Re: Ciceronian Philosophy

Post  Out of Phlegethon on Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:49 am

And also, my friend, if I may ask: why on earth is your stated religion "atheist"? I myself find the word religion to be a bit too specific (my clumsy "Parmenidean" sufficing for purposes of ambiguity), it'd be nice if I could just toss out some things about metaphysics. But atheism, really? A cosmos sans First Cause?
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Re: Ciceronian Philosophy

Post  Achrelus on Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:55 pm

Sorry if this reply is extremely late, I had planned on getting back to being a regular poster here and get in touch, but that didn't work out as I had hoped for personal reasons.

Anyhow, thank you for the information, I appreciate the reply. As for atheism being under my religion, I realize it is not a religion but I put it there because when I started the forum I was very serious about Hellenism and was studying Orphism. I later went through an unsure period that eventually lead to a loss of faith entirely. The purpose of atheist being there is so that those I regularly conversed with would be aware of the shift, and I wouldnt need to explain that in a thread.

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Re: Ciceronian Philosophy

Post  Erodius on Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:47 pm

As for atheism being under my religion, I realize it is not a religion

As a side note, it is for some people. There are what I call 'evangelical atheists' who believe it is their duty and vocation to convert the world to belief in no-god. As with most evangelical Protestants, atheist evangelists are likewise, in my experience, often quite ignorant of religious studies, and base their hatred of religion primary on their experience with (usually Protestant) Christianity, and usually know little or nothing about nearly any other religion.

It is often these individuals who use the word 'religion' as a synonym for 'Christianity', and who say things like "I don't really like religion", or "Society would be better without religion", or other things like that, meaning 'Christianity' whenever they say 'religion.' Or, "I don't think religion should be taught in schools." meaning "I don't think the Bible should be taught in schools." Or, "I don't think children should be taught creationism." meaning "I don't think children should be taught Judaeo-Christian Genesis-based creationism."

For instance, on the occasions when I have been asked 'Are you religious?', I always answer "Yes, I am very religious." And am then met with a confused stare when they ask which church I attend, and I answer, "None." Religion is so closely identified with mainstream, Protestant Christianity, at least in many Western countries, that it doesn't even occur to people that there are devoutly religious individuals who are not Christians or Muslims.

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-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
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"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
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Re: Ciceronian Philosophy

Post  Achrelus on Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:48 pm

I dont very much care for those types of atheists and am glad to know none personally. It absolutely irks me when people carry that mentality. The few I have seen online I have argued with. I suppose I should clarify I am technically agnostic atheist, I dont actively disbelieve gods and find that it is impossible to say there are none. I am just unconvinced in the idea and live as if there are none. Its a very loose stance, I am not radical about it in the least.
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Re: Ciceronian Philosophy

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:56 am

Αχρηλος wrote:I dont very much care for those types of atheists and am glad to know none personally. It absolutely irks me when people carry that mentality. The few I have seen online I have argued with. I suppose I should clarify I am technically agnostic atheist, I dont actively disbelieve gods and find that it is impossible to say there are none. I am just unconvinced in the idea and live as if there are none. Its a very loose stance, I am not radical about it in the least.  

I interact with exactly the type on a regular basis (both online and in day-to-day life), unfortunately, but that's one of the costs of being fairly open and vocal about Hellenic religion in general, if not my particular strain of it. I find their reasoning to be, almost without fail, vapid and intentionally limited like a horse with blinders, out of an emotionally based contempt for any strand of reasoning that leads to religious faith. Which is hypocritical of them, as they always claim to wave the banner of true reason in the world while simultaneously allowing an emotion to cloud their judgment on the matter. And, like a schoolyard bully, always seem to resort to name-calling and ad hominem attacks to "defeat" their opponents (and then using special pleading when called out on said use of ad hominem).

They are among the most unaccepting and absolute opposite of "freethinking" individuals I have the displeasure of interacting with, despite their claims to the contrary. They are just as deluded about their superiority as fundamentalist Christians.

As to whether some of them may qualify as religious: yes. They cling to a belief that there is no God (they will claim that it's not a belief in no god, but rather a lack of belief in any god, but that's really nothing more than semantics at it's heart), they actively attempt to spread their message, they organize into groups (there's even a recognized and tax-exempt "Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) in order to spread said message and commune with each other. These said evangelical atheists/antitheists bear all the trappings of a religion. If it talks, walks and quacks like a duck…

I'm sorry for the rant, but I really have no patience for this sort of personality.

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Re: Ciceronian Philosophy

Post  Achrelus on Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:35 am

Thats very unfortunate and actually quite shocking. I know and am freinds with about a dozen other atheists and not one acts like you describe. I know these types are out there, but I didn't think there were enough to be every atheist you interact with. These people bother me to no end, because they drive a huge wedge between religious people and atheists like myself, and cause initially bad feelings between me and other people.
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Re: Ciceronian Philosophy

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:04 am

Αχρηλος wrote:Thats very unfortunate and actually quite shocking. I know and am freinds with about a dozen other atheists and not one acts like you describe.  I know these types are out there, but I didn't think there were enough to be every atheist you interact with. These people bother me to no end, because they drive a huge wedge between religious people and atheists like myself, and cause initially bad feelings between me and other people.

My apologies, I did not mean to imply it was every atheist. It's most certainly a (very vocal) minority. A very loud, very vocal minority that I do interact with regularly, but not every atheist is like that, that would be as unfair an assumption to make as an atheist judging the whole of religious thought by the actions of fundamentalist Protestant Christianity. Not every atheist, not most atheists. My best friend is an atheist, and he and I get on very well, for example. He knows how to discern between religious ideologies and see them (more or less so) as they are, instead of through colored spectacles. It's not the average, moderate atheists I have a problem with. It's the extremists who tend to out shout everyone else.

It's when people start being overly "preachy," for lack of a better term, that a line is crossed.

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Re: Ciceronian Philosophy

Post  Achrelus on Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:49 pm

No need for apologies, I took no offense. Anyway lets leave this talk of atheism. This is sort of why im not on much. I dont have alot to contribute anymore, and the forum was made for you guys. I just miss it enough every now and then to check in and see how its all going.
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Re: Ciceronean Philosophy

Post  apseudos on Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:06 am

I have just read through this thread and am shocked to see it reduce to a diatribe against "atheists" within just a couple of posts. Is that what this site is about? And what on earth does it have to do with Cicero?

Surely it is a necessary feature of this forum to show respect for people, even if we disagree vehemently with their ideas? This is surely not mitigated even by the fact that most of the comment here about "atheists" refers to "them" and "they" rather than to specific individuals and beliefs/attitudes?

Two days into membership of this forum and I'm wondering if I've signed up to something intolerant with which I'd rather not be associated, Gods or no gods.

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Re: Ciceronian Philosophy

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:40 am

apseudos wrote:I have just read through this thread and am shocked to see it reduce to a diatribe against "atheists" within just a couple of posts. Is that what this site is about? And what on earth does it have to do with Cicero?

Surely it is a necessary feature of this forum to show respect for people, even if we disagree vehemently with their ideas? This is surely not mitigated even by the fact that most of the comment here about "atheists" refers to "them" and "they" rather than to specific individuals and beliefs/attitudes?

Two days into membership of this forum and I'm wondering if I've signed up to something intolerant with which I'd rather not be associated, Gods or no gods.

My impatience with the type of people in question is directly proportional to the actions such people of the type (keyword, "type." I never once claimed all atheists were of this sort, nor even most; I said a vocal minority) have consistently shown toward those who hold religious belief of any sort, and that should be kept in mind before jumping to conclusions about my degree of tolerance toward the sort in question. Reciprocity is a cornerstone for how I interact with people.

Please keep in mind it was only I who posted such strong sentiments of a particular /type/, based on my observations of the type over a substantial period of time, and not a sweeping generality of the whole span of atheistic thought, and I alone am accountable for what I said, not the other people in this thread. Therefore, it's unmerited to claim everyone on this forum is supposedly intolerant of alternate viewpoints (which is certainly not the case in my instant; I am impatient with those who are intolerant toward others; I am not intolerant of their viewpoints first). Do not judge a whole on the actions of one person.

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Re: Ciceronian Philosophy

Post  Erodius on Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:34 am

With all respect, certainly, Apseude, I think it deserves mentioning that only you seem to have taken offense — even Achrelus (an open atheist) has participated throughout, without any offense.  Wink 

Our discussion here is hardly a diatribe, but rather a critique, based on direct experience, of a certain type of atheism, not a condemnation of atheists as a whole. I do not approve of atheism — however, that does not stop me from having as my closest friend of more than ten years an open and avowed atheist.

The διατριβή and the disputatio, as a side note, arise from the heated arguments of scholars and philosophers of Classical Greece and Rome. It has been written by those living there at the time, that the public plazas were so full of irate rhetoricians and philosophers arguing with one another that one could hardly walk find a place in the cities to escape the noise of the philosophers' disputationes.

To contemporary ears, furthermore, the speeches of public rhetorical arguments in Classical Greece and Rome can often seem overly hostile — partly because, in that era, it was largely an acceptable rhetorical strategy to negate your opponent using all kinds of ad-hominem attacks, which today are considered unfair and to be avoided in formal argument — even the beloved orator Cicero does this constantly — he hardly treats Catiline or Verres with much respect, by our modern reckoning.

Surely it is a necessary feature of this forum to show respect for people

Respect, yes, but unbounded tolerance, no. No personal threats or individual character attacks are allowed here. However, critical discussion of ideas, actions, or groups are fully allowed, so long as one can back up what one says with a solid argument or basis in direct experience.

Especially if one takes part in philosophical debates here, you will inevitably run into opposing positions that do not refrain from 'sparring' with one another. More often than not, some sort of partial (or even major) agreement ultimately results, and all involved parties come away having better understanding of all positions.

Today, we (in Western culture, at least) have a tendency that we've been raised with to want to 'keep PC' and avoid upsetting anyone if at all possible, and we manifest this by often ignoring issues and disagreements, rather than seeking to resolve them. But the ἀγών, the struggle, or contest, is not only welcomed, but seen as a virtue in Graeco-Roman thought — indeed, if one wanted to stand out, one would prove one's worth and chutzpah in the Classical world through demonstration of skill and virtue in ἀγών, whether through rhetoric (for the more scholarly), or in the palaestrae and gymnasia (for the more physically gifted).

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Ciceronian Philosophy

Post  Achrelus on Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:48 pm

To add to what Erodius has said, I would like to explain something. This forum has three uses. One of those is to share information. The second is to learn from others experiences and share our own in the hopes that others learn from them. The third is to debate. Nothing the Greek or Roman people achieved, mentally or physically, was done by sitting around agreeing on everything everyone said. As mentioned, they were fearsome debators, and it was substantially through this that ideas spread and were changed Iinto what became revolutionary ideologies.

There is, happily, alot of friendly chit chat and simple sharing here. But that is not the only purpose. Debate is allowed and encouraged, so long as it is civil and respectful. Nothing less than that has been seen here.

And although debate is welcomed, this forum is an olympianic one. It was made for that community and will stay that way, and as a result the community will discuss and debate in that context and is not subject to outside ideologies attacking it. And this is coming from an atheist.

Now that my rant is done, I hope you enjoy the forum. If you desire the thread to return to Cicero, be my guest and do so. But by complaining about it you inadvertently delay it. We are human, and stray off topic.
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Re: Ciceronean Philosophy

Post  apseudos on Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:28 am

Let me put a lid on this so that the discussion can get back to Cicero.

I have had another thread running in which Erodius has been very helpful in a number of ways. One of them deals specifically with the concerns I expressed here.

No further word on this from here.

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