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Encyclopedia > Sextus Empiricus
Western Philosophy
Ancient philosophy
Name: Sextus Empiricus
Birth: during the 2nd century AD
Death: during the 3rd century AD, possibly in Alexandria or Rome
School/tradition: Skepticism
Influences: Pyrrho, Timon of Phlius, Arcesilaus, Carneades, Aenesidemus, Agrippa
Influenced: Michel de Montaigne, Descartes, David Hume and Hegel

Sextus Empiricus (fl. during the 2nd and possibly the 3rd centuries AD), was a physician and philosopher, and has been variously reported to have lived in Alexandria, Rome, or Athens. His philosophical work is the most complete surviving account of ancient Greek and Roman skepticism. This page lists some links to ancient philosophy, although for Western thinkers prior to Socrates, see Pre-Socratic philosophy. ... Image File history File links Sextus_Empiricus. ... The 2nd century is the period from 101 - 200 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ... // Overview Events 212: Constitutio Antoniniana grants citizenship to all free Roman men 212-216: Baths of Caracalla 230-232: Sassanid dynasty of Persia launches a war to reconquer lost lands in the Roman east 235-284: Crisis of the Third Century shakes Roman Empire 250-538: Kofun era, the first... Nickname: Alexandria on the map of Egypt Map of Alexandria Coordinates: , Country Egypt Founded 334 BC Government  - Governor Adel Labib Population (2001)  - City 3,500,000 Time zone EET (UTC+2)  - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3) Twin Cities  - Baltimore  United States  - Cleveland  United States  - ConstanÅ£a  Romania  - Durban  South Africa... Nickname: Motto: SPQR: Senatus Populusque Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 21 April 753 BC Government  - Mayor Walter Veltroni Area  - City 1,285 km²  (580 sq mi)  - Urban 5... This article is about the psychological term. ... Pyrrho (c. ... Timon (c. ... Arcesilaus (Ἀρκεσίλαος) (c. ... Carneades (c. ... Aenesidemus, Greek philosopher, was born at Cnossus in Crete and taught at Alexandria, probably during the first century BC. He was the leader of what is sometimes known as the third scepticismal school and revived to a great extent the doctrine of Pyrrho and Timon. ... Agrippa was a Sceptic philosopher who probably lived towards the end of the 1st century A.D. He is regarded as the author of the five tropes which are purported to establish the impossibility of certain knowledge. ... Michel Eyquem de Montaigne-Delecroix (IPA pronunciation: []) (February 28, 1533–September 13, 1592) was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance. ... René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher and mathematician. ... David Hume (April 26, 1711 – August 25, 1776)[2] was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (IPA: ) (August 27, 1770 – November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, in the region of Württemberg in southwestern Germany. ... The 2nd century is the period from 101 - 200 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ... // Overview Events 212: Constitutio Antoniniana grants citizenship to all free Roman men 212-216: Baths of Caracalla 230-232: Sassanid dynasty of Persia launches a war to reconquer lost lands in the Roman east 235-284: Crisis of the Third Century shakes Roman Empire 250-538: Kofun era, the first... The Doctor by Luke Fildes This article is about the term physician, one type of doctor; for other uses of the word doctor see Doctor. ... A philosopher is a person who thinks deeply regarding people, society, the world, and/or the universe. ... Nickname: Alexandria on the map of Egypt Map of Alexandria Coordinates: , Country Egypt Founded 334 BC Government  - Governor Adel Labib Population (2001)  - City 3,500,000 Time zone EET (UTC+2)  - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3) Twin Cities  - Baltimore  United States  - Cleveland  United States  - ConstanÅ£a  Romania  - Durban  South Africa... Nickname: Motto: SPQR: Senatus Populusque Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 21 April 753 BC Government  - Mayor Walter Veltroni Area  - City 1,285 km²  (580 sq mi)  - Urban 5... Athens (ancient Greek: αἱ Ἀθῆναι (plural), evolving into the modern αι Αθήναι in Greek until recently, and η Αθήνα nowadays (IPA : singular see below: Origin of the name ) is both the largest and the capital city of Greece, located in the Attica periphery. ... This article is about the psychological term. ...


In his medical work, tradition maintains that he belonged to the "empiric" school (see Asclepiades), as reflected by his name. However, at least twice in his writings, Sextus seems to place himself closer to the "methodic" school, as his philosophical views imply. Asclepiades (c. ...

Contents

Sextus's Writings

Sextus Empiricus's three known works are the Outlines of Pyrrhonism (Πυῤῥώνειοι ὑποτύπωσεις or Pyrrhōneioi hypotypōseis), and two distinct works preserved under the same title, Against the Mathematicians (Adversus Mathematicos), one of which is probably incomplete.


The first six books of Against the Mathematicians are commonly known as Against the Professors, but each book also has a traditional title (Against the Grammarians (book I), Against the Rhetoricians (book II), Against the Geometricians (book III), Against the Arithmeticians (book IV), Against the Astrologers (book V), Against the Musicians (book VI)). It is widely believed that this is Sextus's latest and most mature work.


Books VII-XI of Against the Mathematicians form an incomplete whole; scholars believe that at least one, but possibly as many as five books, are missing from the beginning of the work. The extant books have the traditional titles Against the Logicians (books VII-VIII), Against the Physicists (books IX-X,) and Against the Ethicists (book XI). Against the Mathematicians VII-XI is sometimes distinguished from Against the Mathematicians I-VI by giving it the title Against the Dogmatists (in which case Against the Logicians are called books I-II, Against the Physicists are called books III-IV, and Against the Ethicists is called book V, despite the fact that it is commonly believed that the beginning of the work is missing and it is not known how many books might have preceded the extant books).


Note that none of these titles except Adversus Mathematicos (Against the Mathematicians) and Πυῤῥώνειοι ὑποτύπωσεις (Outlines of Pyrrhonism), are found in the manuscripts.


Philosophy

Sextus Empiricus advises[1] that we should suspend judgment about virtually all beliefs, that is, we should neither affirm any belief as true nor deny any belief as false. This view is known as Pyrrhonian skepticism, as distinguished from Academic skepticism, as practised by Carneades, which, according to Sextus, denies knowledge altogether. Sextus did not deny the possibility of knowledge. He criticizes the Academic skeptic's claim that nothing is knowable as being an affirmative belief. Instead, Sextus advocates simply giving up belief: that is, suspending judgment about whether or not anything is knowable.[2] Only by suspending judgment can we attain a state of ataraxia (roughly, 'peace of mind'). Sextus did not think such a general suspension of judgment to be impractical, since we may live without any beliefs, acting by habit. Pyrrhonian skepticism was a school of skepticism founded by Pyrrho in 1st century Alexandria and recorded by Sextus Empiricus in the 3rd century. ... Carneades (c. ... Ataraxia (Ἀταραξία) is a Greek term used by Pyrrho and Epicurus for freedom from worry or any other preoccupation, and for Epicurus to achieve Hêdonê, the great pleasure. ...


Sextus allowed that we might affirm claims about our experience (e.g., reports about our feelings or sensations). That is, for some claim X that I feel or perceive, it could be true to say "it seems to me now that X." However, he pointed out that this does not imply any objective knowledge of external reality. For while I might know that the honey I eat tastes sweet to me, this is merely a subjective judgment, and as such may not tell me anything true about the honey itself.


Interpretations of Sextus's philosophy along the above lines have been advocated by scholars such as Myles Burnyeat,[3] Jonathan Barnes,[4] and Benson Mates.[5] Myles Fredric Burnyeat (born 1939) is an English classicist and philosopher. ... Jonathan Barnes (born 1942) is a British philosopher, translator and historian of ancient philosophy. ...


Michael Frede, however, defends a different interpretation,[6] according to which Sextus does allow beliefs, so long as they are not derived by reason, philosophy or speculation; a skeptic may, for example, accept common opinions in the skeptic's society. However, the content of such beliefs is purely conventional or subjective. Thus, on this interpretation, the skeptic may well entertain the belief that God does or does not exist or that virtue is good. But he may not believe that such claims are true by nature.


Sextus's Legacy

An influential Latin translation of Sextus's "Outlines" was published by Henricus Stephanus in Geneva in 1562. Petrus and Jacobus Chouet published the Greek text for the first time in 1621. Stephanus did not publish it with his Latin translation either in 1562 or in 1569, nor was it published in the reprint of the latter in 1619. Sextus's "Outlines" were widely read in Europe during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, and had a profound impact on Michel de Montaigne, David Hume, and Hegel, among many others. Another source for the circulation of Sextus's ideas was Bayle's Dictionary. The legacy of Pyrrhonism is described in Richard Popkin's The History of Skepticism from Erasmus to Descartes and High Road to Pyrrhonism. The transmission of Sextus's manuscripts through antiquity and the middle age is reconstructed by Luciano Floridi's Sextus Empiricus, The Recovery and Transmission of Pyrrhonism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Geneva (pronunciation //; French: Genève //, German:   //, Italian: Ginevra //, Romansh: Genevra) is the second most populous city in Switzerland (after Zürich), and is the most populous city of Romandy (the French-speaking part of Switzerland). ... Year 1562 was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. ... World map showing the location of Europe. ... Michel Eyquem de Montaigne-Delecroix (IPA pronunciation: []) (February 28, 1533–September 13, 1592) was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance. ... David Hume (April 26, 1711 – August 25, 1776)[2] was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ... Bayle can refer to: A posistion in Medieval France similar to that of a bailiff Pierre Bayle, a philosopher This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Richard H. Popkin is easily one of the most influential historians of philosophy of the later half of the twentieth century. ... Luciano Floridi (Laurea, Universita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, M.Phil. ... Oxford University Press (OUP) is a highly-respected publishing house and a department of the University of Oxford in England. ...


See also

Pyrrhonism, or Pyrrhonian skepticism, was a school of skepticism founded by Aenesidemus in the first century BCE and recorded by Sextus Empiricus in the 3rd century. ...

Notes

  1. ^ The extent to which a skeptic can hold beliefs as well as the kinds of beliefs a skeptic can have is a matter of scholarly dispute.
  2. ^ See PH I.3, I.8, I.198; cf. J. Barnes, "Introduction", xix ff., in Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Scepticism. Julia Annas and Jonathan Barnes (transl.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).
  3. ^ Burnyeat, M., "Can The Sceptic Live His Scepticism" in Myles Burnyeat and Michael Frede (ed.), The Original Sceptics: A Controversy (Hackett, 1997): 25-57. Cf. Burnyeat, M., "The Sceptic in His Place and Time", ibid., 92-126.
  4. ^ Barnes, J., "The Beliefs of a Pyrrhonist" in Myles Burnyeat and Michael Frede (ed.), The Original Sceptics: A Controversy (Hackett, 1997): 58-91.
  5. ^ Mates, B. The Skeptic Way (Oxford UP, 1996).
  6. ^ Frede, M., "The Sceptic's Beliefs" in Myles Burnyeat and Michael Frede (ed.), The Original Sceptics: A Controversy (Hackett, 1997): 1-24. Cf. Frede, M., "The Sceptic's Two Kinds of Assent and the Question of the Possibility of Knowledge", ibid., 127-152.

References

Translations

  • Excerpts from the "Outlines of Pyrrhonism"
  • Sextus Empiricus, Against the Ethicists: (Adversus Mathematicos XI). Richard Bett (trans.) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000). ISBN 0-19-825097-5
  • Sextus Empiricus, Against the Logicians. Richard Bett (trans.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). ISBN 0-521-53195-0
  • Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Scepticism. Julia Annas and Jonathan Barnes (trans.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed. 2000). ISBN 0-521-77809-3
  • Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Pyrrhonism. R.G. Bury (trans.) (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1990). ISBN 0-87975-597-0
  • Sextus Empiricus, Selections from the Major Writings on Skepticism Man and God. Sanford G. Etheridge (trans.) (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1985). ISBN 0-87220-006-X
  • Sextus Empiricus, Sextus Empiricus I: Outlines of Pyrrhonism. R.G. Bury (trans.) (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1933/2000). ISBN 0-674-99301-2
  • Sextus Empiricus, Sextus Empiricus II: Against the Logicians. R.G. Bury (trans.) (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1935/1997). ISBN 0-674-99321-7
  • Sextus Empiricus, Sextus Empiricus III: Against the Physicists, Against The Ethicists. R.G. Bury (trans.) (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1936/1997). ISBN 0-674-99344-6
  • Sextus Empiricus, Sextus Empiricus IV: Against the Professors. R.G. Bury (trans.) (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1949/2000). ISBN 0-674-99420-5
  • Sextus Empiricus, The Skeptic Way: Sextus Empiricus's Outlines of Pyrrhonism. Benson Mates (trans.) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996). ISBN 0-19-509213-9

Scholarly works

  • Annas, Julia and Barnes, Jonathan, The Modes of Scepticism: Ancient Texts and Modern Interpretations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985). ISBN 0-521-27644-6
  • Bett, Richard, Pyrrho, his antecedents, and his legacy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). ISBN 0-19-925661-6
  • Brennan, Tad, Ethics and Epistemology in Sextus Empiricus (London: Routledge, 1999). ISBN 0815336594
  • Brochard, Les Sceptiques grecs (1887)
  • Burnyeat, Myles & Frede, Michael The Original Sceptics: A Controversy (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1997). ISBN 0-87220-347-6
  • Hankinson, R.J., The Skeptics (London: Routledge, 1998). ISBN 0-415-18446-0
  • Jourdain, Sextus Empiricus (Paris, 1858)
  • Mates, Benson. The Skeptic Way: Sextus Empiricus's Outlines of Pyrrhonism. (New York: OUP, 1996).
  • Pappenheim, Lebensverholtnisse des Sextus Empiricus (Berlin, 1875)
  • Popkin, Richard, The History of Scepticism: From Savonarola to Bayle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003). ISBN 0-19-510768-3
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Sextus Empiricus

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain. Richard H. Popkin is easily one of the most influential historians of philosophy of the later half of the twentieth century. ... Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... Encyclopædia Britannica, the eleventh edition The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) is perhaps the most famous edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Sextus Empiricus's Outlines of Pyrrhonism (991 words)
Sextus Empiricus was a Greek philosopher who lived in Alexandria and in Athens during the late second and early third century A.D. His best-known work, Outlines of Pyrrhonism, described a school of thought which was named after the philosopher Pyrrho of Elis (c.
Sextus Empiricus says that there are three approaches to epistemology (the study of the nature, origin, extent, and validity of human knowledge).
Sextus Empiricus does not say that there must be a sufficient degree of uncertainty about a proposition to cause suspension of judgment.
Sextus Empiricus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (801 words)
Sextus Empiricus advocates a form of Pyrrhonic skepticism: that is, that we know very little (if anything) about which beliefs are true or false.
Sextus proposes that we should suspend judgement about almost all beliefs, that is, to neither affirm them as true or deny them as false.
Sextus did not think such a general suspension of judgment to be impractical, since we may live without any beliefs, acting by habit.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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