Cicero was a man of action who considered it his duty to participate in politics and be involved in leading Roman society. Consider his diagram of the cosmos as a blueprint for a gentleman to do...

Cicero was a man of action who considered it his duty to participate in politics and be involved in leading Roman society. Consider his diagram of the cosmos as a blueprint for a gentleman to do his duty. What are the Platonic and Aristotelian elements which Cicero incorporated into his diagram of the cosmos blueprint?

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Karyth Cara | College Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Cicero attempted to reconcile the views of Plato and Aristotle in his own writings about the nature of the cosmos. It is important when considering the influence of Greek Plato and Aristotle upon Roman Cicero that Plato and Aristotle predated Cicero by several hundred years, with Plato being the first and with Aristotle having been Plato's student: Cicero b. 106 B.C.E; Aristotle b. 384 B.C.E.; Plato b. 427 B.C.E.

Cicero (Rome), Roman (106 B.C.E.-43 B.C.E.)
Aristotle (Chalcidice), Greek (384 B.C.E-322 B.C.E.)
Plato (Athens), Greek (427 B.C.E.-347 B.C.E.)

Plato's influence on Cicero is seen in his advocacy of the Platonic concept of true Ideas. While Cicero varied Plato's concept by saying that artists are inspired with privileged access to Plato's world of true ideas, he contradicted Plato's assertion that representations of true Ideas were nothing but false reflections, thus unacceptable distorted images of truths.

Aristotle's influence on Cicero is similarly seen in Cicero's embrace of Aristotelian mimetics, which ascribe divine inspiration to artists to whom divine truth is communicated in its many shades symbolized as persons and actions which teach true behavior to humans' longing hearts. Cicero incorporates this Aristotelian concept with the Platonic concept of true Ideas. He augments this conceptualization by saying that Nature may be observed with inborn, gifted insight to Nature's connection to the Platonic world of Ideas. For Cicero, Aristotle's concepts of the purity of shapes in the cosmos was integral to the elevation of thought that came from contemplation of the qualities and characteristics of the cosmos, which is governed by the common law of nature, which is a higher standard of governance than civil law.

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