Cicero and the Evolution of Philosophical Dialogue

Author: Fox, Matthew
Title: Cicero and the Evolution of Philosophical Dialogue
Review/Collection: in David Konstan, Myrto Garani, and Gretchen Reydams-Schils (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Roman Philosophy
Editor: Oxford Academic
Year edition: 2023
Keywords: Philosophie - Filosofia - Philosophy
Description: The chapter examines Cicero’s contribution to the genre of philosophical dialogue. It argues that he was the first to use speakers in dialogues as representatives of different philosophical schools; he adds a particular kind of preface in order to situate philosophical conversation within a specific historical and political setting; by these means he emphasizes the practical and contingent aspects of philosophy, sometimes at the expense of the abstract; he uses historical references to highlight the need for philosophy, and to keep readers aware of the artificiality of his textual practice, and the conventional quality of the form itself. Passages from De finibus, including its account of the rape of Lucretia, are examined to show how these different aspects operate.
Author initials: Fox 2023