M. Tullii Ciceronis
De Finibus Bonorum Et Malorum
I. Voluptatem quidem, Brute, si ipsa pro se loquatur nec tam pertinaces habeat patronos, concessuram arbitror, convictam superiore libro, dignitati. Etenim sit impudens si virtuti diutius repugnet aut si honestis iucunda anteponat aut pluris esse contendat dulcedinem corporis ex eave natam laetitiam quam gravitatem animi atque constantiam. Quare illam quidem dimittamus et suis se finibus tenere iubeamus, ne blanditiis eius illecebrisque impediatur disputandi 2 severitas. Quaerendum est enim ubi sit illud summum bonum quod reperire volumus, quoniam et voluptas ab eo remota est et eadem fere contra eos dici possunt qui vacuitatem doloris finem bonorum esse voluerunt; nec vero ullum probetur1 [ut]2 summum bonum quod virtute careat, qua nihil possit3 esse praestantius.
Itaque quamquam in eo sermone qui cum Torquato est habitus non remissi fuimus, tamen haec acrior est cum Stoicis parata contentio. Quae enim de voluptate dicuntur, ea nec acutissime nec abscondite disseruntur; neque enim qui defendunt
- 1probatur Reid.
- 2[ut] Mdv., Reid; MSS. omit exc. A, B, E.
- 3possit B and inf. MSS.; posset A, E; potest Mdv.
I. my dear brutus.—Were Pleasure to speak forIntroduction to Books III and IV: Stoic Ethics. herself, in default of such redoubtable advocates as she now has to defend her, my belief is that she would own defeat. Vanquished by the arguments of our preceding Book, she would yield the victory to true Worth. Indeed she would be lost to shame if she persisted any longer in the battle against Virtue, and rated what is pleasant above what is morally good, or maintained that bodily enjoyment or the mental gratification which springs from it is of higher value than firmness and dignity of character. Let us then give Pleasure her dismissal, and bid her keep within her own domains, lest her charms and blandishments put snares in the way of strict philosophical 2 debate. The question before us is, where is that Chief Good, which is the object of our inquiry, to be found? Pleasure we have eliminated; the doctrine that the End of Goods consists in freedom from pain is open to almost identical objections; and in fact no Chief Good could be accepted that was without the element of Virtue, the most excellent thing that can exist.
Hence although in our debate with TorquatusStoicism harder to combat than Epicureanism because of its close reasoning and novel terminology. we did not spare our strength, nevertheless a keener struggle now awaits us with the Stoics. For pleasure is a topic that does not lend itself to very subtle or profound discussion; its champions are little skilled in