Family Affection, Political Community and Humanity: A Comparison of Aristotle and Cicero
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The paper compares selected passages from Cicero and Aristotle whose common theme is the foundation of social and political relations. A specific concern for self-awareness and self-love can be traced in the strategies of both authors. Aristotle’s inquiry demonstrates how social and political ties are rooted in basic family relationships, especially in the positive attitude towards what is “one’s own”. Showing how the relationship with the other is constituted through the relationship with one’s own, Aristotle demonstrates the basic structural elements of the genesis of a political community based on civic friendship. Cicero presents the concept of self-love as a mediator for establishing mutual bonds within a political community. While Aristotle focuses primarily on the differentiation of the political space established by unique relationships within the family, Cicero is more concerned with the extension of family ties beyond the immediate family to larger communities. In his perspective, the attachment to self and kin is transformed into justice towards fellow citizens and from there, to love of all humanity. Unity with the rest of the human race is the most obvious innovation contained in the extension of civic friendship within the πόλις to goodwill towards all the people within the mundus communis.
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