the demands of reason an essay on pyrrhonian scepticism

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The demands of reason an essay on pyrrhonian scepticism

The origins of Pyrrhonian Scepticism are traced back to Pyrrho of Elis, a near contemporary of Alexander the Great, but its systematic development is due to Aenesidemus first century BC and has been transmitted to us by Sextus Empiricus, a second century AD physician and sceptic, in two works, the Outlines of Pyrrhonism PH and Against the Professors M.

In fact, the hope to attain tranquillity ataraxia is the originating cause of Scepticism: certain talented people who were Most users should sign in with their email address. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above.

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Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Article Navigation. Voula Tsouna Voula Tsouna. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Select Format Select format. If they can be, Pyrrhonism will appear less as a curious episode in intellectual history and more as a philosophically cogent and viable, even potentially fruitful, movement.

This essay is a welcome contribution to the vigorous discussion of skepticism going on among specialists in ancient philosophy, [End Page ] but it should as Sextus should be read more widely by those interested in epistemology and moral psychology. The Pyrrhonist claims to suspend judgment on all matters that his rivals, dogmatic philosophers, purport to investigate.

His suspension of judgment brings about the tranquility ataraxia that Sextus describes as the motivation or the "causal principle" of skepticism Outlines 1: Critics both ancient and modern have objected that the skeptic's aim and his suspension of judgment are incompatible with genuine and rigorous rational inquiry; indeed, it has been argued that "Sextus' description of the Sceptic as engaged in the search for truth is a sham" 8.

Perin's response to this charge occupies his first two chapters. Negatively, Perin's general strategy is to defend Sextus by showing how very much he can do with really very little. He draws our attention, frequently and importantly, to what Sextus does not say, clarifies what he does say, and explains, compellingly in most cases, why so many claims attributed to Sextus need not follow from the letter of the text and why it is therefore inappropriate to hold the skeptic to them.

Positively, Perin then seeks to explain why someone who is able to achieve tranquility as Sextus does, by suspending judgment, would search for truth at all, and how it is possible for him to do so while employing arguments that he acknowledges to have as their conclusion "that the truth about [some] matter cannot be known" 27— If the argument of Perin's first two chapters is right, then not only does Sextus not eschew the "demands of reason," in fact he recognizes them as necessary and respects them.

What is more, his practice turns out to be a unique means of satisfying those demands. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

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More Sextus Empiricus' Outlines of Pyrrhonism is one of the most important and influential texts in the history of Greek philosophy. Authors Affiliations are at time of print publication. Your current browser may not support copying via this button. Show Summary Details. You do not currently have access to this content.

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This book examines those aspects of Pyrrhonian Scepticism as Sextus describes it in the Outlines—its commitment to the search for truth and to certain principles of rationality, its scope, and its consequences for action and agency—that are of special philosophical significance. It argues that the Sceptic is engaged in the search for truth and that since this is so, the Sceptic aims to satisfy certain basic rational requirements.

This book explains how the fact that t This book explains how the fact that the Sceptic has this aim makes it necessary, as Sextus says it is, for the Sceptic to suspend judgement under certain conditions. It defends an interpretation of the scope of Scepticism according to which the Sceptic has no beliefs about how things are rather than merely appear to him to be.

It then explores whether, and how, Sextus can respond to the objection that since the Sceptic lacks beliefs of this kind, he cannot act and Scepticism is not, as Sextus claims it is, a possible way of life. Keywords: Pyrrhonian scepticism , suspension of judgement , rationality , appearances , belief , tranquillity , action , apraxia. Forgot password?

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Introduction to the Skepticism of Sextus Empiricus

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Sextus Empiricus' Outlines of Pyrrhonism is one of the most important and influential texts in the history of Greek philosophy. It argues that the Sceptic is engaged in the search for truth and that since this is so, the Sceptic aims to satisfy certain basic rational requirements. This. bodi.essaywritingspot.com: The Demands of Reason: An Essay on Pyrrhonian Scepticism (): Perin, Casey: Books.