Rhetorical Status in Cicero’s Tusculan Philosophy

Author: Eden, Kathy
Title: Rhetorical Status in Cicero’s Tusculan Philosophy
Review/Collection: “Rhetorica” 41, 2
Year edition: 2023
Pages: 137-152
Keywords: Philosophie - Filosofia - Philosophy, Rhétorique - Retorica - Rhetorics
Description: Largely disparaged by readers since the eighteenth century but revered before then as a guide to living and dying well, the Tusculan Disputations has throughout its long reception been acknowledged as the most rhetorical of Cicero's dialogues. This essay takes as its point of departure not only this acknowledgment but the principal interlocutor's key comparison between finding the appropriate status or "issue" in a legal case and selecting a circumstantially sensitive strategy when offering consolation for the loss of a loved one. It argues, with the help of Cicero's rhetorical works, that he deploys rhetorical status, with its three questions (conjectural, definitive, and qualitative), to structure the conversation, thereby redressing the perceived failure of Plato's Phaedo to provide adequate guidance for navigating life's vexations, including pain, depression, anxiety, and death [Author].
Author initials: Eden 2023