Cicero’s Stoicism – Sceptical reflections on Stoic ethics
In my dissertation, I present a comprehensive reappraisal of Cicero’s engagement with Stoic ethics. Starting from a detailed examination of the philosophical background which informs Cicero’s interpretation of Stoic philosophy the dissertation offers a close reading of his presentation of Stoic ethics in De finibus and a reinterpretation of the early Stoic theories he discusses. The aim is to uncover a neglected strand in early Stoic ethics. Contrary to common perceptions of the Stoics as committed to an ideal of becoming distanced, impartial, and unaffected by external events, the proponents of this version of Stoic ethics instead emphasized the strength that can be found by fully accepting the deep-seated partiality and affectivity of human nature and our embeddedness in the greater ecosystem of cosmic nature. Cicero offers a uniquely detailed account of this strand in Stoic ethics which, I argue, can be traced back to the works of Chrysippus and his immediate successors.