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Un tournant majeur de l'acculturation du cynisme à Rome : le De philosophia de Varron

Un tournant majeur de l'acculturation du cynisme à Rome : le De philosophia de Varron AbstractIn his De philosophia, Varro lists 288 philosophical schools on the highest good before presenting Antiochus’s doctrine as the only true one. One of the particularities of his moral doxography consists in including cynicism which has never been mentioned in the previous moral sources. This paper therefore aims to show that the De philosophia represents a major turning point for the Roman reflection on cynicism. First, Varro defines cynicism as a simple way of life (habitus) and not a doctrine (ratio) so that it could be adopted by all other philosophies. In fact, by ‘reducing’ cynicism to a way of life Varro makes it compatible with his conception of the highest good based on social duties. In that respect, his position on cynicism is opposite to Cicero’s who, in his De officiis, considers cynicism as a dangerous philosophy for Roman values. Finally, Varro uses cynicism as a conceptual tool for thinking, in philosophical terms, one of the most important issues that run through all his work: the relationship between happiness and Ancient Roman simplicity, especially in the context of Roman decadency. For instance, in Varro’s Menippean Satires, Cynics’s destitution partly reminds of the Ancient Romans’ austerity. Therefore, by mentioning cynicism in his moral doxography, Varro gives an original and Roman treatment of the Antiochian inquiry into the concept highest good. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Elenchos de Gruyter

Un tournant majeur de l'acculturation du cynisme à Rome : le De philosophia de Varron

Elenchos , Volume 41 (2): 28 – Dec 16, 2020

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
0392-7342
eISSN
2037-7177
DOI
10.1515/elen-2020-0015
Publisher site
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Abstract

AbstractIn his De philosophia, Varro lists 288 philosophical schools on the highest good before presenting Antiochus’s doctrine as the only true one. One of the particularities of his moral doxography consists in including cynicism which has never been mentioned in the previous moral sources. This paper therefore aims to show that the De philosophia represents a major turning point for the Roman reflection on cynicism. First, Varro defines cynicism as a simple way of life (habitus) and not a doctrine (ratio) so that it could be adopted by all other philosophies. In fact, by ‘reducing’ cynicism to a way of life Varro makes it compatible with his conception of the highest good based on social duties. In that respect, his position on cynicism is opposite to Cicero’s who, in his De officiis, considers cynicism as a dangerous philosophy for Roman values. Finally, Varro uses cynicism as a conceptual tool for thinking, in philosophical terms, one of the most important issues that run through all his work: the relationship between happiness and Ancient Roman simplicity, especially in the context of Roman decadency. For instance, in Varro’s Menippean Satires, Cynics’s destitution partly reminds of the Ancient Romans’ austerity. Therefore, by mentioning cynicism in his moral doxography, Varro gives an original and Roman treatment of the Antiochian inquiry into the concept highest good.

Journal

Elenchosde Gruyter

Published: Dec 16, 2020

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