Cicero’s Practical Philosophy

Edited by Walter Nicgorski

Cicero’s Practical Philosophy marks a revival over the last two generations of serious scholarly interest in Cicero’s political thought. Its nine original essays by a multidisciplinary group of distinguished international scholars manifest close study of Cicero’s philosophical writings and great appreciation for him as a creative thinker, one from whom we can continue to learn. This collection focuses initially on Cicero’s major work of political theory, his De Re Publica, and the key moral virtues that shape his ethics, but the contributors attend to all of Cicero’s primary writings on political community, law, the ultimate good, and moral duties. Room is also made for Cicero’s extensive writings on the art of rhetoric, which he explicitly draws into the orbit of his philosophical writings. Cicero’s concern with the divine, with epistemological issues, and with competing analyses of the human soul are among the matters necessarily encountered in pursuing, with Cicero, the large questions of moral and political philosophy, namely, what is the good and genuinely happy life and how are our communities to be rightly ordered.

The volume also reprints Walter Nicgorski’s classic essay “Cicero and the Rebirth of Political Philosophy,” which helped spark the current revival of interest in Cicero the philosopher.

Walter Nicgorski is professor in the program of liberal studies and concurrent professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame.

Contributors: Walter Nicgorski, J. G. F. Powell, Malcolm Schofield, Carlos Lévy, Catherine Tracy, Margaret Graver, Harald Thorsrud, David Fott, Xavier Márquez, and J. Jackson Barlow.

“This well-planned and exceptionally well-written collection of articles brings together leading Cicero scholars of our day on a carefully chosen set of topics. As such, this book is an invaluable account of the current state of Cicero studies, while advancing those studies.” — Gerard Wegemer, University of Dallas

“A richly varied and well-orchestrated collection of studies that makes a major contribution to restoring Cicero to the high status as a political thinker that he deserves.” — Thomas L. Pangle, University of Texas at Austin

“Here is an impressive array of scholars addressing Cicero’s two major themes: the philosophy of politics and the politics of philosophy. Walter Nicgorski has made a fine collection of competent opinions expressed with useful and intelligent diversity.” — Harvey C. Mansfield, Harvard University and Hoover Institution, Stanford University


“The volume . . . should appeal to anyone who is interested in Cicero’s philosophical writings (and perhaps to some who are interested primarily in Cicero as an orator and statesman). The book’s miscellaneous character is not a weakness; if anything, it rather demonstrates that Ciceronian studies are currently in a state of healthy ferment.” — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

“The essays collected in Cicero’s Practical Philosophy illustrate the continuing relevance and vitality of classical studies despite repeated proclamations of their demise . . . The result is a positive and appealing portrait of the last Roman to defend forcefully classical Roman republicanism.” — Choice

“The collection has a number of virtues. The papers are concise, well-written, and well-argued: the theses are clear and often form ambitious challenges to received views. The range of critical approaches on display—there are papers from classicists, Latinists, philosophers, political theorists—showcases well the fruitful ways that Cicero can be tackled and how inter-disciplinary scholarly endeavor can be mutually informative and rewarding. The collection achieves its aim of bringing Cicero himself to the forefront: all the papers focus on innovative and sophisticated aspects of Cicero’s politico-philosophical thought and practice.” — rogueclassicism