Read e-book online Cicero: On Moral Ends (Cambridge Texts in the History of PDF

By Marcus Tullius Cicero

ISBN-10: 0521669014

ISBN-13: 9780521669016

This new translation makes probably the most vital texts in historical philosophy freshly to be had to trendy readers. Cicero used to be an clever and well-educated beginner thinker, and during this paintings he offers the foremost moral theories of his time in a manner designed to get the reader philosophically engaged within the very important debates. Raphael Woolf's translation does justice to Cicero's argumentative power in addition to to the philosophical rules concerned, whereas Julia Annas' advent and notes supply a transparent and available rationalization of the philosophical context of the paintings.

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Extra info for Cicero: On Moral Ends (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy)

Sample text

People who shun or loathe or avoid pleasure do not do so because it is pleasure, but because for those who do not know how to seek pleasure rationally great pains ensue. Nor again is there anyone who loves pain or pursues it or seeks to attain it because it is pain; rather, there are some occasions when effort and pain are the means to some great pleasure. To take a slight example, which of us would ever do hard bodily exercise except to obtain some agreeable state as a result? On the other hand, who could find fault with anyone who wished to enjoy a pleasure that had no harmful consequences – or indeed to avoid a pain that would not result in any pleasure?

Now since the highest or greatest or ultimate good – what the Greeks call the telos – is that which is a means to no other end, but rather is itself the end of all other things, then it must be admitted that the highest good is to live pleasantly. ‘Those who locate the highest good in virtue alone, beguiled by the splendour of a name, fail to understand nature’s requirements. Such people would be freed from egregious error if they listened to Epicurus. Those exquisitely beautiful virtues of yours – who would deem them praiseworthy or desirable if they did not result in pleasure?

To be in such a state one must have a strength of mind which fears neither death nor pain, since in death there is no sensation, and pain is generally longlasting but slight, or serious but brief. Thus intense pain is moderated by its short duration, and chronic pain by its lesser force. 36 ‘Imagine on the other hand someone worn down by the greatest mental and physical pain that can befall a person, with no hope that the burden might one 36 Torquatus is paraphrasing the first four of Epicurus’ Principal Doctrines: ’() What is blessed and indestructible neither has troubles itself nor produces them for anything else, so that it is affected by feelings neither of anger nor of gratitude.

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Cicero: On Moral Ends (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) by Marcus Tullius Cicero


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