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Commonwealth (Cicero)

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Information about Commonwealth (Cicero)
Education

Published on December 25, 2008

Author: brianbelen

Source: slideshare.net

Description

Slides regarding Cicero's thoughts on Commonwealth for an undergraduate course in Political Thought that I taught between 2003-2005.
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LAW, JUSTICE AND THE COMMONWEALTH

Overview Who was Cicero ? What were Cicero’s ideas as regards the mixed constitution ? How did Cicero explain the concept of the commonwealth ? What was the basis of Cicero’s understanding of law and justice ? Why should we study politics ?

Who was Cicero ?

What were Cicero’s ideas as regards the mixed constitution ?

How did Cicero explain the concept of the commonwealth ?

What was the basis of Cicero’s understanding of law and justice ?

Why should we study politics ?

Marcus Tullius Cicero Roman statesman Classically educated in Rome (law) and Greece (philosophy) Famous orator Had a long and successful legal and political career Roman Consul in 57 BC Assassinated by Marc Antony

Roman statesman

Classically educated in Rome (law) and Greece (philosophy)

Famous orator

Had a long and successful legal and political career

Roman Consul in 57 BC

Assassinated by Marc Antony

On the Mixed Constitution… Cicero adopts Aristotle’s typology of forms of rule Neither kingship nor aristocracy nor democracy is perfect While each form of rule is tolerable the problem is that each can be perverted

Cicero adopts Aristotle’s typology of forms of rule

Neither kingship nor aristocracy nor democracy is perfect

While each form of rule is tolerable the problem is that each can be perverted

State as Commonwealth States should be seen as commonwealths : Property of the people ( res publica ) Arises out of man’s social spirit Fundamental characteristics : Equality Liberty Law and Justice

States should be seen as commonwealths :

Property of the people ( res publica )

Arises out of man’s social spirit

Fundamental characteristics :

Equality

Liberty

Law and Justice

As a Commonwealth… The state is an association and partnership in justice Law is the basis for civic associations Equality is the foundation of justice Liberty finds its highest expression in the commonwealth Open and deliberate elections are vital to the state’s survival

The state is an association and partnership in justice

Law is the basis for civic associations

Equality is the foundation of justice

Liberty finds its highest expression in the commonwealth

Open and deliberate elections are vital to the state’s survival

Natural v. Positive Law Positive law refers to laws that are devised by men (legislation) Cicero contends that law should be based on right reason and in accordance with nature Hence, he alludes to a broader, more fundamental natural law as the basis for positive law

Positive law refers to laws that are devised by men (legislation)

Cicero contends that law should be based on right reason and in accordance with nature

Hence, he alludes to a broader, more fundamental natural law as the basis for positive law

Implications There are just (true) and unjust laws The basis of Law is more permanent than what is popular or necessary at a given point in time Law and justice are absolute , and therefore apply to all places irrespective of circumstance

There are just (true) and unjust laws

The basis of Law is more permanent than what is popular or necessary at a given point in time

Law and justice are absolute , and therefore apply to all places irrespective of circumstance

Mankind as a Commonwealth Reason is the first common possession between God and man Those who have reason in common must have right reason in common Hence, Law and justice are common to men Those who share reason, Law and justice belong to the same commonwealth

Reason is the first common possession between God and man

Those who have reason in common must have right reason in common

Hence, Law and justice are common to men

Those who share reason, Law and justice belong to the same commonwealth

Three common objections to political participation: There are dangers involved Everyone has the right to enjoy a “ quiet life ” (politics is dirty!) Anyone can and will participate in politics in times of emergency Why Participate in Politics?

Three common objections to political participation:

There are dangers involved

Everyone has the right to enjoy a “ quiet life ” (politics is dirty!)

Anyone can and will participate in politics in times of emergency

Rebuttal #1 Even if politics is “dangerous”: It is rewarding in its own right We should do it out of a sense of duty The state affords us certain liberties As such, we owe a debt of gratitude to the state

Even if politics is “dangerous”:

It is rewarding in its own right

We should do it out of a sense of duty

The state affords us certain liberties

As such, we owe a debt of gratitude to the state

Rebuttal #2 Even if we have the right to enjoy a “ quiet life ” (politics is dirty!): Politics may be “dirty”, but we have a higher duty to the republic Also, what nobler deed is there to ensure that we are not ruled by wicked men ?

Even if we have the right to enjoy a “ quiet life ” (politics is dirty!):

Politics may be “dirty”, but we have a higher duty to the republic

Also, what nobler deed is there to ensure that we are not ruled by wicked men ?

Rebuttal #3 Although we assume that anyone can and will participate in politics in times of emergency Familiarity is necessary (even outside emergencies) At times, position/office is important It is not a choice to be made nor does it occur only in emergencies !

Although we assume that anyone can and will participate in politics in times of emergency

Familiarity is necessary (even outside emergencies)

At times, position/office is important

It is not a choice to be made nor does it occur only in emergencies !

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