Cicero, De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum

LCL 40: 302-303

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Cicero de Finibus

obscuritas.” “Cur igitur easdem res,” inquam, “Peripateticis dicentibus verbum nullum est quod non intellegatur?” “Easdemne res?” inquit; “an parum disserui non verbis Stoicos a Peripateticis sed universa re et tota sententia dissidere?” “Atqui,” inquam, “Cato, si istud obtinueris, traducas me ad te totum licebit.” “Putabam equidem satis,” inquit, “me dixisse. Quare ad ea primum, si videtur; sin aliud quid voles, postea.” “Immo istud quidem,” inquam, “quo loco quidque.. .1 nisi iniquum postulo, arbitratu meo.” “Ut placet,” inquit; “etsi enim illud erat aptius, aequum cuique concedere.”


II. “Existimo igitur,” inquam, “Cato, veteres illos Platonis auditores, Speusippum, Aristotelem, Xenocratem, deinde eorum Polemonem, Theophrastum, satis et copiose et eleganter habuisse constitutam disciplinam, ut non esset causa Zenoni cum Polemonem audisset cur et ab eo ipso et a superioribus dissideret; quorum fuit haec institutio, in qua animadvertas velim quid mutandum putes, nec exspectes dum ad omnia dicam quae a te dicta sunt; universa enim illorum ratione cum tota vestra confligendum 4 puto. Qui cum viderent ita nos esse natos ut et communiter ad eas virtutes apti essemus


Book IV.

then,” I replied, “that when the same doctrines are expounded by the Peripatetics, every word is intelligible?” “The same doctrines?” he cried. “Have I not said enough to show that the disagreement between the Stoics and the Peripatetics is not a matter of words, but concerns the entire substance of their whole system?” “O well, Cato,” I rejoined, “if you can prove that, you are welcome to claim me as a whole-hearted convert.” “I did think,” said he, “that I had said enough. So let us take this question first, if you like; or if you prefer another topic, we will take this later on.” “Nay,” said I, “as to that matter I shall use my own discretion, unless this is an unfair stipulation, and deal with each subject as it comes up.” “Have it your way,” he replied: “my plan would have been more suitable, but it is fair to let a man choose for himself.”


II. “My view then, Cato,” I proceeded, “is this,Review of older Platonists, from whom Zeno needlessly seceded (§ 3-23). Their three-fold division of Philosophy retained by the Stoics. that those old disciples of Plato, Speusippus, Aristotle and Xenocrates, and afterwards their pupils Polemo and Theophrastus, had developed a body of doctrine that left nothing to be desired either in fullness or finish, so that Zeno on becoming the pupil of Polemo had no reason for differing either from his master himself or from his master’s predecessors. The outline of their theory was as follows—but I should be glad if you would call attention to any point you may desire to correct without waiting while I deal with the whole of your discourse; for I think I shall have to place their entire system in 4 conflict with the whole of yours. Well, these philosophers observed (1) that we are so constituted as to have a natural aptitude for the recognized and

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.marcus_tullius_cicero-de_finibus_bonorum_et_malorum.1914