Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism in Cicero’s De Officiis

Author: Atkins, Jed W.
Title: Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism in Cicero’s De Officiis
Review/Collection: In : Woolf, Raphael (ed.), Cicero’s De Officiis : A Critical Guide, Cambridge Critical Guides, Cambridge University Press, 2023, 257 p. [Woolf 2023]
Place edition: Cambridge New York
Editor: Cambridge University Press
Year edition: 2023
Pages: 203-223
Keywords: Commentaires - Commenti - Commentaries, Philosophie - Filosofia - Philosophy
Description: Cicero’s De Officiis is a foundational text for two important but seemingly opposed traditions in the history of political thought: republicanism and cosmopolitanism. The former regards the res publica as the proper object of its citizens’ highest allegiance and patriotism as an indispensable virtue; the latter holds that one’s greatest allegiance should be to a notional world community of all human beings. Scholars usually regard Cicero’s strong commitment to the res publica as the product of his unreflective Roman patriotism, which is necessarily at odds with his cosmopolitan account of justice. In contrast, I argue that Cicero offers philosophical arguments for the priority of the res publica that derive from the same Stoic account of sociability that grounds his cosmopolitanism. De Officiis therefore presents a coherent account of what we might call “patriotic cosmopolitanism.” The chapter explicates Cicero’s argument for patriotic cosmopolitanism, draws attention to its theoretical strengths, and considers three important philosophical criticisms and how Cicero might respond. [Author].
Author initials: Atkins 2023