The Pyrrhonian Skeptic's Telos

Ancient Philosophy 24 (2):425 - 441 (2010)
Abstract
Early on in the Outlines of Pyrrhonism (PH), Sextus Empiricus offers an account of τὸ τέλος τῆς σκεπτικῆς—the aim or final end of Pyrrhonian skepticism. Having previously explained such crucial aspects of Pyrrhonism as the sense in which Skeptics do not hold any beliefs and what its constitutive principles are, in sections I 25-30 Sextus turns to what he seems to regard as the equally important matter of what the aim of Skepticism is. He tells us, An aim [τέλος] is that for the sake of which everything is done or considered, while it is not done or considered for the sake of anything else. Or: an aim is the final object of desire. Up to now we say the aim of the Skeptic is tranquility [ἀταραξία] in matters of opinion and moderation of feeling [μετριοπάθεια] in matters forced on us. (PH I.25)2 In the sense of ‘ethics’ relevant to the Ancients, this constitutes Sextus’ major pronouncement on ethics in the general survey of Skepticism contained in PH I, apart from the specific arguments of the Tenth Mode (PH I 145-163). It is perhaps unsurprising that Sextus’ ethics, the heart of which is evident even in the..
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