Cicero on the Emotions: Tusculan Disputations 3 and 4

University of Chicago Press, 5.3.2009 - 283 sivua
The third and fourth books of Cicero's Tusculan Disputations deal with the nature and management of human emotion: first grief, then the emotions in general. In lively and accessible style, Cicero presents the insights of Greek philosophers on the subject, reporting the views of Epicureans and Peripatetics and giving a detailed account of the Stoic position, which he himself favors for its close reasoning and moral earnestness. Both the specialist and the general reader will be fascinated by the Stoics' analysis of the causes of grief, their classification of emotions by genus and species, their lists of oddly named character flaws, and by the philosophical debate that develops over the utility of anger in politics and war.

Margaret Graver's elegant and idiomatic translation makes Cicero's work accessible not just to classicists but to anyone interested in ancient philosophy and psychotherapy or in the philosophy of emotion. The accompanying commentary explains the philosophical concepts discussed in the text and supplies many helpful parallels from Greek sources.

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Sivu 201 - They contend against those who exclude grief (lupe) and tears and lamentations over the deaths of dear ones, and they say that the kind of freedom from pain which amounts to impassivity comes of another and greater evil, which is savagery, that is, an unmixed and crazed urge for fame.
Sivu 65 - ... functions, it did not correspond closely enough with the perfect union and harmony that we require here: For what is this love of friendship? Why does no one love either an ugly youth, or a handsome old man? [Cicero. ] For even the picture the Academy paints of it will not contradict me, I think, if I say this on the subject: that this first frenzy which the son of Venus inspired in the lover's heart at the sight of the flower of tender youth, in which they allow all the insolent and passionate...
Sivu 201 - Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less, Withdraws into its happiness', and Legouis said that this was merely the sentence of Aristotle, that the pleasures of the mind are greater than those of the senses.
Sivu 207 - First one must keep in mind that the rational animal is by nature such as to follow reason and to act with reason as his guide. But often he moves in another way toward some things and away from some things in disobedience to reason when he is pushed too much. Both definitions refer to this movement: the unnatural motion arises irrationally in this way, and also the excess in the impulses.
Sivu 17 - In fact, it is foolish to rehearse misfortunes which have not yet happened and may not happen at all.
Sivu 15 - This much, at least, is quite clear: distress comes about only when a person has the impression that some serious evil is present and weighing upon him. Now, according to Epicurus, it is "by nature" that this belief comes to be distress.
Sivu 201 - And he instructed them to have thought for today, and again, to have thought for that part of the day within which one is acting or thinking. For he said that neither what is gone nor what is expected is ours, but only the present. For the one is lost already, and the other, even if it is to be, is uncertain.
Sivu 54 - ... added benefit, that fake anger, unlike the real thing, remains within an agent's control. Seneca and Cicero make the point in the context of oratorical technique. The orator may need to show the 'guise of doing harm', says Seneca, without actually feeling anger. And Cicero says, in a similar tone, 'even if the orator is not angry himself, he should still make a show of anger in his words and gestures, so that his delivery may kindle anger in the hearer.'14 The implication is that the drill sergeant...
Sivu 17 - As for the means of easing distress, he holds that there are two: distracting the mind from the thought of suffering, and redirecting it to the contemplation of pleasures. For he claims that the mind is capable of listening to reason and following where reason leads. Reason forbids us to...

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Margaret Graver is an assistant professor of classics at Dartmouth College.

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