Chapter

Skepticism and Concepts: Can the Skeptic Think?

Katja Maria Vogt

in Belief and Truth

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199916818
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199980291 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199916818.003.0007
Skepticism and Concepts: Can the Skeptic Think?

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It is argued that, among ancient anti-skeptical objections, one charge stands out as particularly damning to skeptical philosophy: without forming beliefs, the skeptic cannot think. More specifically, the charge says that conceptual thought involves holding things to be a certain way, and that is, it involves something the skeptics say they do not. This charge is under-explored, and Sextus almost hides it, perhaps quite aware that it is especially hard to respond to. Surely, if the skeptic cannot think the skeptic cannot investigate, and that means, the skeptic is no skeptic. I argue that PH 2 and M 8 offer different strategies, and that PH 2 succeeds in offering a response—a response that also explains a crucial passage in PH 1, according to which the skeptic can perceive and think through the guidance of nature (1.23–4).

Keywords: investigation; concepts; beliefs; skepticism; relative chronology of Sextus’ writings; thought; preconceptions

Chapter.  7605 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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