Article

Pyrrho of Elis

Dee Clayman

in Classics

ISBN: 9780195389661
Published online December 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0056
Pyrrho of Elis

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Pyrrho of Elis (c. 365–c. 275 bce) stood at the head of the skeptical movement in Greek philosophy, or so it seemed to his admirers, who later called themselves Pyrrhonians or Skeptics. Although his only attested written work, a poem for Alexander the Great, is lost, some idea of his attitudes, his disposition, and perhaps even his thoughts can be gathered from fragments of the work of his most important student, Timon of Phlius, his biography in the Lives of Diogenes Laertius, and a few other sources. Timon’s contemporary, Arcesilaus, reoriented Plato’s Academy in a skeptical direction around 265 bce without acknowledging Pyrrho, but in the first century bce Aenesidemus revived Skepticism under Pyrrho’s banner. His vision, in turn, was developed in detail by Sextus Empiricus, perhaps in the latter part of the 2nd century, and through his books Pyrrho’s legacy became a force in Western culture that remains powerful to this day.

Article.  4316 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Art and Architecture ; Classical History ; Classical Literature ; Classical Philosophy

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