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Cl36Sp08L25ScepticsAb

Cl36Sp08L25ScepticsAb - CLASSICS 36 LECTURE TWENTY-FIVE...

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C LASSICS 36: L ECTURE T WENTY -F IVE S CEPTICISM AS A W AY OF L IFE 1. Ancient (Pyrrhonian) vs. modern scepticism 1.1 Rediscovery during Renaissance of Sextus Empiricus' account (2nd. century A.D.) of the sceptical philosophy originated by Pyrrho of Elis (4th. century B.C.) helped stimulate Enlightenment philosophers (such as Descartes, Hume, Kant) to focus on problems of the nature and extent of human understanding. 1.2 Nevertheless, ancient scepticism differed from modern in that it was meant to have a serious effect on our actual behaviour. Modern scepticism subverts only knowledge, ancient also subverts belief, so that we neither believe nor disbelieve that e.g. the fire will burn us, but 'suspend judgment' (I&G p.303 §8). Also, ancient scepticism, like all ancient philosophies but unlike modern, was linked to the search for happiness (in this case, 'freedom from disturbance'; cf. Epicurus). 2. Scepticism and the love of knowledge (p.304 §12, p.307-8 §25-29) 2.1 Sceptics, no less than Platonists or Aristotelians, are disturbed by their own ignorance, and seek to discover truth and so assuage the disturbance (scepticism is 'investigative', p.303 §7; p.304 §12).
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