Rhetoric and Philosophy: Cicero’s Model for Moral Education
Cicero recognized that rhetoric was a powerful art and that it was necessary to develop virtue and integrity in those trained as orators. In De Oratore, he seeks to reunify the subjects of philosophy and rhetoric for the purpose of preparing orators to use the faculty of rhetoric for the proper ends. In the first Tusculan Disputation Cicero identifies four immortal qualities of the soul that unite the practices of philosophy and rhetoric, while modeling the way in which philosophy and rhetoric may be used together. For Cicero, philosophy and rhetoric ought to be united because they are both methods by which truth is sought and approximated. By examining Cicero’s educational philosophy and the history and status of moral education in America, I argue that Cicero’s approach is an effective model and that aspects of his approach could be applicable in America today.