Cicero's Academica

Support Massimo’s Podcasting!

Like my podcasts? Consider supporting more of them with an occasional donation! And thanks!

$5.00

A series of short audio commentaries on Cicero’s book comparing Epicureanism, Stoicism, and Academic Skepticism.

I.3: Cicero begins his treatise Academica by seeking a medicine for his sorrows in philosophy.

I.4: Socrates was the first to draw philosophy away from matters of an abstruse character, in which all the philosophers before his time had been wholly occupied, and to have diverted it to the objects of ordinary life.

I.10: Zeno of Citium, the founder of the Stoic sect, says that there are three sets of things in the world: virtue, things according or contra to nature, and neutral things. From which a solid moral compass for everyday living follows.

I.10: Virtue can only be perfected by reason; all virtues are really just one, namely, wisdom; virtue is intrinsically good; and one needs to continuously practice in order to be virtuous.

I.11: The Stoics are materialists, in the sense that they believe that anything that has causal powers must be made of stuff, whatever that stuff turns out to be.

I.11: The wisest approach is to not commit to opinions until we have strong evidence in their favor, or to hold opinions very lightly, and not attach our ego to them.

II.29: If you have some sand and you start adding grains, when do you have a heap? Chrysippus’ answer to this sort of paradox will leave logicians frustrated and the rest of us with something to think about.

II.31: The Academic Skeptics were one of the major rival schools to Stoicism. Yet, on the nature of human knowledge, and on what it means in practice, for everyday living, the two philosophies were not very far apart.

II.33: Let’s learn why the middle-Stoic Panaetius disagreed on a major point of “physics” with the early Stoics: he didn’t believe in divination!

II.33: The basic Stoic psychological account of our desires and actions is a powerful guide to willfully change our behavior for the better.

II.42: Aristo of Chios disagreed with the founder of Stoicism, Zeno of Citium, in pretty fundamental ways. A powerful reminder that Stoic philosophy isn’t written in stone, and never was.

II.45: According to Chrysippus, when it’s all said and done, there are only three conceptions of the chief good for human beings.

II.47: Cicero’s reports a famous metaphor used by Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism, to explain the progression from perception to assent to comprehension to knowledge. Which is then used as a reminder about the limits of our own knowledge.