Cicero’s definition of duty is a term in which in this course, is far reached than what we would have ever thought duty would stand for. Defining duty can be said to be a commitment or obligation to someone or something that causes them to pursue a certain action. Duty is split into two parts which consist of dealing with what is the “supreme” good and second, practicing rules which are strictly regulated in all means of daily life. Another classification of duties are duties which are middle or complete. Complete duty is link to being what is “right”. Middle duty is the reasoning behind why has it been done. When Cicero writes about individual activism we consider the duties that are honorable and dishonorable. What is honorable or dishonorable? People’s spirits are often pulled between opposing opinions. The individual then has to see whether or not it will offer him an advantage in life.
Cicero discusses the major principal thought on duty which is based on a conservative standpoint. The different forms of duty happened due to human nature. Civic duty takes different forms. Civic duty will always leads back to the people that live in the society. Questions asked is what do we owe? What can I do? Cicero writes how the nature of a person will influence his decisions based on what is the “honorable” thing to do at a certain time. A individual showing wisdom towards the publics concern is part of the action. Cicero uses a strong example when he speaks about promising to be at a appointment but not showing up due to someone close to you getting ill.
He explains how not making the appointment would not be contrary to your duty because you abandoned what you promised. This shows your neighbor that your character can’t be trusted. The fellowship you keep with the community is a responsibility. Fellowship is so important to the form of civic duty according to cicero. He explains how one should be able to share, give advice, and cause no evil to their neighbor. Justice is the foundation of duty. Justice in a society emphasizes on the civic duty to ones state. As a citizen you should never find yourself on an omission state but to be contributing in honest forms towards society. Other principles is that of carrying a great spirit. It would help you have courage in your actions and for that reason you will hold honor towards yourself.
When Cicero writes about the reasons for why people have duties towards the public sphere he believes that the individual is part of the community. He contributes it all the to belief of Stoicism. Aristotelian is another close source in which we can speak about duties, but Cicero’s true belief was that virtues is key to duty. Stoicism is the school of thought that holds the belief that the only way we can make sense of our own existence is by devoting ourselves to virtues. People who follow this pathway believe that the majority things of daily life are stuff we can’t control, but yet we can contribute our life to society in a better way.
Honor is another reason why individuals choose certain choices that lead you to be seen as a noble person in your society. The wide picture is seen towards how the community sees the individuals actions according to the standards in which have been placed. It doesn’t seem like an individual would ever perform a duty if honor wasn’t the reward. An individual who doesn’t care for much pleasure would mostly likely seek out honor in the public sphere. In conclusion Cicero comes up with the belief that the main stance on duty should always be honor, because honor is the only thing that really brings out the obligations that we owe to ourselves and the society you live in.
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