Chapter

Introduction: Philosophical Skepticism and Pyrrhonism

Robert J. Fogelin

in Pyrrhonian Reflections on Knowledge and Justification

Published in print December 1994 | ISBN: 9780195089875
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833238 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195089871.003.0001
Introduction: Philosophical Skepticism and Pyrrhonism

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The introduction offers a brief sketch of Pyrrhonian skepticism as it is presented in the works of Sextus Empiricus, and of competing interpretations of the scope of the Pyrrhonian doubt. Using terms derived from Galen, some read Sextus as a rustic skeptic, others read him as an urbane skeptic. On the rustic interpretation adopted by Jonathan Barnes, Miles Burnyeat, and others, the goal of Pyrrhonism is to attain suspension of belief on all matters, including the beliefs of everyday life. On the urbane reading given by Michael Frede, the target of skeptical doubt is limited to dogmatic philosophizing and closely related activities. Arguments are presented for adopting the urbane interpretation – the perspective from which this work is written.

Keywords: Barnes; Burnyeat; Frede; Galen; Pyrrhonian skepticism; Sextus Empiricus; suspension of belief

Chapter.  4270 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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