Cicero’s De Finibus book V: the nature of good and evil

[image: page from De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, Wikimedia; this is essay #352 in the Philosophy as a Way of Life series]

What is good? What is evil? These twin questions have probably been asked by human beings as soon as our ancestors were capable of posing questions to themselves. In the Greco-Roman tradition they are most famously tackled by Marcus Tullius Cicero in a book entitled De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, or On the Ends of Good and Evil. It was written in less than two months in the summer of 45 BCE…