Philosophical (and Theological) Classifications

"Philosophical classifications are not like labels for political parties that people officially join; at best, they point to a salient feature that systems that differ in many other ways have in common. Such groupings fail to rise to the level of natural kinds; they are closer to what Wittgenstein thought of as concepts based upon family resemblances. They should be understood as handy devices for abbreviated referenced rather than as the product of a deep analysis of a philosophical tendency.

Charles Landesman, Skepticism – The Central Issues, 2.

Cicero on Treachery

No treachery is more insidious than that which is hidden under a pretence of loyalty, or under the name of kinship. For against an open adversary you could be on your guard and thus easily avoid him; but this hidden evil, within the house and family, not only arises before you are aware but even overwhelms you before you can catch sight of it and investigate it.

Cicero, In Verr., 2.1.13

Cicero on Property Tax

When constant wars made the Roman treasury run short, our forefathers often used to levy a property tax. Every effort must be made to prevent a repetition of this; and all possible precautions must be taken to ensure that such a step will never be needed. What I am going to say now will refer to the world in general and not specifically to Rome, because when I am making ominous forecasts I would rather that they were directed towards other countries and not our own. But if any government should find itself under the necessity of levying a tax on property, the utmost care has to be devoted to making it clear to the entire population that this simply has to be done because no alternative exists short of complete national collapse.

Cicero, On the Good Life, On Duties, Book II

Cicero on the Sea

How beautiful again is the sea, and how splendid in its entirety, with its crowd and variety of islands, its picturesque coastlines and beaches! It is the home of so many different species of marine life, partly dwelling under water, partly floating and swimming on the surface, and partly encrusted on the rocks with its shells. The sea itself in its longing to embrace the land, sports on its shoreline, so that the two elements seem to merge into one.

Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods, book II