© 2016

Cicero’s Skepticism and His Recovery of Political Philosophy


Part of the Recovering Political Philosophy book series (REPOPH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Walter Nicgorski
    Pages 1-13
  3. Walter Nicgorski
    Pages 97-153
  4. Walter Nicgorski
    Pages 205-243
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 245-283

About this book


This book explores Cicero’s moral and political philosophy with great attention to his life and thought as a whole. The author “thinks through” Cicero with a close reading of his most important philosophical writings.  Nicgorski often resolves apparent tensions in Cicero’s thought that have posed obstacles to the appreciation of his practical philosophy.  Some of the major tensions confronted are those between his Academic skepticism and apparent Stoicism, between his commitment to philosophy and to politics, rhetoric and oratory, and between his attachment to Greek philosophy and his profound engagement in Roman culture.  Moreover, the key theme within Cicero’s writings is his intended recovery, within his Roman context, of both the Socratic focus on great questions of practical philosophy and Socratic skepticism.  Cicero’s recovery of Socratic political philosophy in Roman garb is then the basis for recovery of Cicero as a notable political thinker relevant to our time and its problems.



Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

About the authors

Walter Nicgorski is Professor Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, USA.  He is editor of and contributor to Cicero’s Practical Philosophy (2012), co-editor and contributor to Leo Strauss: Political Philosopher and Jewish Thinker (1994) and An Almost Chosen People: The Moral Aspirations of Americans (1977).   Key topics of his published essays are Cicero, liberal and character education, American political foundations, Leo Strauss, Allan Bloom, and Yves Simon.

Bibliographic information


“Nicgorski’s book is remarkable, engaging the most difficult features of Cicero’s thought and yielding a loving and careful portrait of its unity. … it is no exaggeration to say that Nicgorski, as both teacher and scholar, has played a key role in the resurgence of interest in Cicero’s thought.” (Daniel J. Kapust, Contemporary Political Theory, Vol. 17 (03), August, 2018)

“Nicgorski has doubtless done something both impressive and praiseworthy in this mature, balanced, and heartfelt book: without recourse to the tired trope of ‘Cicero’s changing views’ (49-50n57), and with admirable interpretive eclecticism combined with wide-ranging erudition … .” (William H.F. Altman, Ancient Philosophy, Vol. 38 (01), 2018)

​“Nicgorski makes a convincing case that Cicero does not rank the theoretical way of life over the practical way of life. … For Nicgorski to establish that conclusion in such rich detail—covering the entirety of Cicero’s philosophy, not falling victim to historicism or relativism, not devoting unnecessary effort to tracing Cicero’s sources, displaying an encyclopedic command of secondary material—is a great achievement.” (David Fott, Interpretation – A Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol. 43 (3), 2017)