Agrippa and the Problem of Epistemic Justification

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:
Agrippa and the Problem of Epistemic Justification

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This chapter lays out Agrippa's Five Modes Leading to the Suspension of Belief as they are found in Sextus Empiricus's Outlines of Pyrrhonism. The five modes are discrepancy (differences of opinion), regress ad infinitum, relativity, hypothesis (mere assumption), and circular reasoning. In the Pyrrhonist's hands, these five modes are used (either singly or in concert) to show that any effort at justifying philosophical beliefs is bound to fail. On the contemporary scene, three of these modes, arbitrary assumption, infinite regress, and circular reasoning are set up as a challenge to be met by a theory of justification. We get various kinds of theories of justification depending on how this challenge is met.

Keywords: Agrippa; circularity; discrepancy; hypothesis; infinite regress; justification; Outlines of Pyrrhonism; relativity; Sextus Empiricus

Chapter.  3931 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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