Tusculanae disputationes

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Tusculanae disputationes is a philosophical work by the Roman orator and philosopher Cicero . It consists of five books, was written in the second half of 45 BC. Chr. And Marcus Junius Brutus dedicated. The title is usually translated in German as "Conversations in Tusculum" and refers to the fact that Cicero owned a villa in the area of Tusculum .

The Tusculanae Disputationes are discussions in form. A fictional student sets up a guiding thesis in every book. A fictional teacher, in whom one can assume Cicero, refutes the thesis in the course of the book. In the first book, for example, the student's thesis is "Death seems to me to be an evil".

The “Conversations in Tusculum” complete Cicero's reflections in De finibus bonorum et malorum . In De finibus , Cicero wants to show which criteria must be used to weigh up the correctness of an action. He tries to show that virtuous , that is, ethically correct action is enough for “happiness in life” or “happiness”.

In the first two conversations in Tusculum, on the other hand, Cicero makes it clear that even death and pain are incapable of ruining the happiness in life achieved through good actions. Books III and IV describe how passions or emotions are to be managed and how. Book V is thematically linked to De finibus : The aim of the proof is the happiness-constituting power of good behavior, pointed to the thesis that the perfectly virtuous wise man is still happy even under torture . Here Cicero is perhaps more out than in De finibus to prove that this “happiness” can also be felt.

The teacher in the "Tusculans" advocates viewing the life of the virtuous as a happy life. "Virtue" translates the Latin virtus and the Greek ἀρετή ( areté ), which means something like "goodness" or "excellence". The virtuous man is the one who best fulfills his destiny as a man. The question of where this determination of man lies must again be clarified philosophically. In connection with the Stoic doctrine, however, the Greek καλόν ( kalón ), which Cicero translates into Latin with the word honestum, is also translated as “virtue”. In a first meaning καλόν means “beautiful”, so for the Stoics the virtuous act is the beautiful act.

Cicero's work reflects the debates of the various schools of philosophy at the time. In the "Conversations in Tusculum" he holds it with the Stoics. Cicero takes on the strict ethical standards and the disdain for external things. Like the stoic school, he believes that philosophy can heal the soul. For Cicero, in contrast to the Stoics, “soul” does not only mean human reason. Accordingly, the soul cannot only be influenced through rationality. As a speaker, Cicero knows about the spiritual power of emotions and affects. Skilled speech technique, i.e. rhetoric , is a preferred means of influencing mental states.

Text editions and translations

  • Michelangelo Giusta (ed.): Tusculanae disputationes , Paravia, Turin 1984. (Text-critical edition)
  • Cicero: Tusculanae disputationes / Conversations in Tusculum . Latin / German. Ed. And transl. by Ernst A. Kirfel. Reclam, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 3-15-005028-6 .
  • Cicero: Conversations in Tusculum. Tusculanae disputationes . Latin-German. Edited by Olof Gigon . Artemis & Winkler, Düsseldorf / Zurich 1998, ISBN 3-7608-1523-5 .


  • Woldemar Görler : Investigations into Cicero's philosophy . Heidelberg 1974.
  • Helmut Seng : Structure and argumentation in Cicero's Tusculanae disputationes , in: Rheinisches Museum 141 (1998), pp. 329–347.
  • Bernhard Koch: Philosophy as medicine for the soul. Investigations into Ciceros Tusculanae Disputationes . Stuttgart 2006.
  • Ingo Gildenhard: Paideia Romana. Cicero's Tusculan Disputations . Cambridge Classical Journal Supp. Vol. 30. Cambridge 2007
  • Eckard Lefèvre : Philosophy under tyranny. Cicero's "Tusculanae disputationes" , Heidelberg 2008.

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