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Summary

Pyrrhonism was one of the two main skeptical traditions in ancient philosophy. It originated in the Hellenistic era and continued into the Imperial age. The history of ancient Pyrrhonism is commonly divided into the early Pyrrhonism of Pyrrho of Elis (360–270 BC) and his leading disciple Timon of Phlius (320–230 BC), and the later Pyrrhonism (sometimes called “neo-Pyrrhonism” particularly in French scholarship) of Aenesidemus of Cnossos (first century BC) and Sextus Empiricus (late second century AD).

Key works Hankinson 1995 and Thorsrud 2009 offer a useful overview of ancient Pyrrhonism in English. Bett 2000 is the best book-length study of Pyrrho and his possible forerunners.
Introductions Machuca 2011
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  1. added 2020-04-06
    A Note on a New Polish Translation of Outlines of Pyrrhonism.Zbigniew Nerczuk - 2020 - Sképsis: Revista de Filosofia 11 (20):31-37.
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  2. added 2020-02-08
    Sextus Empiricus and Pyrrhonean Scepticism.Jonathan Barnes - 2003 - Mind 112 (447):496-499.
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  3. added 2019-10-25
    Pyrrhonism and the Dialectical Methods: The Aims and Argument of PH II.Justin Vlasits - forthcoming - Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy.
    The aim of this paper is to show how PH II constitutes an original, ambitious, and unified skeptical inquiry into logic. My thesis is that Sextus’s argument in Book II is meant to accomplish both its stated goal (to investigate the topics typically grouped together by dogmatists under the heading of “logic”) and an unstated goal. The unstated goal is, in my view, interesting in itself and sheds new light on Sextus’s methodology. The goal is: to suspend judgement on the (...)
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  4. added 2019-10-17
    "Matter and Metaphysics". Fourth Symposium Hellenisticum, Edited by J. Barnes and M. Mignucci. [REVIEW]Stephen A. White - 1995 - Ancient Philosophy 15 (1):289-300.
  5. added 2019-10-14
    AENESIDEMUS. R. Polito Aenesidemus of Cnossus. Testimonia. Pp. Viii + 395. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Cased, £75, US$115. ISBN: 978-0-521-19025-1. [REVIEW]Stefan Sienkiewicz - 2016 - The Classical Review 66 (1):72-74.
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  6. added 2019-10-14
    Strategies of Argument: Essays in Ancient Ethics, Epistemology, and Logic.Mi-Kyoung Lee (ed.) - 2014 - NY: Oxford University Press.
    This volume features new papers by an international group of scholars in ancient philosophy, with a particular focus on new work in ancient Greek and Roman ethics, epistemology, logic, and science.
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  7. added 2019-08-15
    From Skepticism to Paralysis: The Apraxia Argument in Cicero’s Academica.Suzanne Obdrzalek - 2012 - Ancient Philosophy 32 (2):369-392.
    This paper analyzes the apraxia argument in Cicero’s Academica. It proposes that the argument assumes two modes: the evidential mode maintains that skepticism is false, while the pragmatic claims that it is disadvantageous. The paper then develops a tension between the two modes, and concludes by exploring some differences between ancient and contemporary skepticism.
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  8. added 2019-08-14
    Epistemology After Sextus Empiricus.Justin Vlasits & Katja Maria Vogt - forthcoming - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    Sextus Empiricus was the voice of ancient Greek skepticism for posterity. His writings contain the most subtle and detailed versions of the ancient skeptical arguments known as Pyrrhonism, adding up to a distinctive philosophical approach. Instead of viewing philosophy as valuable because of the answers it gives to important questions, Sextus considered the search for answers itself to be fundamental and offered a philosophy centered on inquiry. Assuming the point of view of an active inquirer, Sextus developed arguments concerning conflicting (...)
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  9. added 2019-06-07
    Introduction: Ancient Skepticism, Voluntarism, and Science.Anjan Chakravartty - 2015 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 5 (2):73-79.
    In this introduction, I motivate the project of examining certain resonances between ancient skeptical positions, especially Pyrrhonism, and positions in contemporary epistemology, with special attention to recent work in the epistemology of science. One such resonance concerns the idea of suspension of judgment or belief in certain contexts or domains of inquiry, and the reasons for (or processes eventuating in) suspension. Another concerns the question of whether suspension of belief in such circumstances is voluntary, in any of the senses discussed (...)
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  10. added 2019-06-07
    Die Züge des Skeptikers. Der Dialektische Charakter von Sextus Empiricus' Werk. [REVIEW]Luca Castagnoli - 2007 - The Classical Review 57 (2):370-372.
  11. added 2019-06-07
    Le Scepticisme Antique: Perspectives Historiques Et Systématiques. Actes du Colloque International Sur le Scepticisme Antique, Université de Lausanne, 1–3 Juin 1988. [REVIEW]G. B. Kerferd - 1992 - The Classical Review 42 (2):458-459.
  12. added 2019-06-07
    Die Angebliche Heraklit-Nachfolge des Skeptikers Aenesidem. [REVIEW]A. A. Long - 1978 - The Classical Review 28 (1):171-172.
  13. added 2019-06-07
    The Teubner Sextus Empiricus. [REVIEW]A. Wasserstein - 1960 - The Classical Review 10 (2):120-121.
  14. added 2019-06-06
    The Skeptic's Language Game: Does Sextus Empiricus Violate Normal Language Use?Kyle Shaffer - 2010 - Stance 3:47-54.
    This paper seeks to critique Pyrrhonean skepticism by way of language analysis. Linguistic aspects of Pyrrhonism are first examined utilizing the later writing of Wittgenstein. Pyrrhonean language-use is then critiqued using H.P. Grice’s concept of implicature to demonstrate shared knowledge between speakers. Finally, a teleological model of communication is sketched using ideas from Jerry Fodor. If the Pyrrhonist denies speaking to communicate mental states, we are justified in questioning why we should listen to what she says.
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  15. added 2019-06-06
    Review of Pyrrhonism: How the Ancient Greeks Reinvented Buddhism, by Adrian Kuzminski. [REVIEW]M. Jason Reddoch - 2010 - Philosophy East and West 60 (3):424-427.
    Pyrrhonism: How the Ancient Greeks Reinvented Buddhism, by Adrian Kuzminski, is a short monograph of four chapters in which the author argues that Pyrrho of Elis (ca. 365–270 b.c.e.) developed his form of skepticism after coming into contact with Indian philosophers on his journey with Alexander the Great. Although the subtitle suggests that the primary focus of the study will be to develop this argument for historical diffusion, the book is more of an apology for Pyrrhonism, which Kuzminski thinks can (...)
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  16. added 2019-06-06
    Sextus, Montaigne, Hume: Exercises in Skeptical Cartography.Brian Ribeiro - 2009 - Modern Schoolman 86 (1):7-34.
    Despite their divergences, I argue that Sextus, Montaigne, and Hume are committed to several substantive points of commonality and that these commonalities justify us in speaking of them as belonging to a unitary Pyrrhonist tradition. In this tradition, Pyrrhonizing doubt serves to chart the boundary of that-which-resists-doubt, thereby simultaneously charting the shape of that complex of nature and custom which constitutes the bedrock of human life — the life that remains after doubt has done its worst.
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  17. added 2019-06-06
    The Sceptical Road. Aenesidemus' Appropriation of Heraclitus. [REVIEW]Cristina Viano - 2007 - The Classical Review 57 (2):357-359.
  18. added 2019-06-06
    Sobre Contra os Gramáticos, de Sexto Empírico.Ana Paula El-Jaick - 2007 - Dois Pontos 4 (2).
    resumo Este tra b a l ho pretende apontar algumas cons ide rações sobre o tra t a do Contra os gramáticos, de Sexto Empírico. A análise dessa obra vem sendo feita com algumas questões no r t e a doras – e, reconhe c idamente, teme ro s a s. Duas delas se ent relaçam ao inda g a re m pela possibilida de de se ent rever alguma perspectiva de ling ua gem preservada por Sexto Empírico; e, em (...)
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  19. added 2019-06-06
    The Reception of Sextus. [REVIEW]John Dillon - 2005 - The Classical Review 55 (1):91-92.
  20. added 2019-06-06
    The Pyrrhonian Skeptic’s Telos.Dan Moller - 2004 - Ancient Philosophy 24 (2):425-441.
    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 (...)
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  21. added 2019-06-06
    Sextus Empiricus: Against the Grammarians.Priscilla K. Sakezles & D. L. Blank - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (3):449.
    This book is the recent addition to the Clarendon Later Ancient Philosophers series, and its greatest significance lies in its being the sole commentary on Against the Grammarians. It also provides the only English alternative to Bury’s 1949 translation in the Loeb edition. As such, it is a clear and readable translation, although, of course, there is no Greek text provided.
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  22. added 2019-06-06
    Papers in Hellenistic Philosophy.Jonathan Barnes, Jacques Brunschwig & Janet Lloyd - 1996 - Philosophical Review 105 (1):108.
    “Review a friend’s book? Surely that’s not done: magis amica, no doubt, veritas—but friendship stops the critic’s nose for truth and smoothes his tongue to bland civilities.” But here there’s not the smallest risk of fudge; for here the most exacting reader will heap up superlatives. In truth, you’ll meet no finer work on Hellenistic thought than what’s between the covers of this book.
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  23. added 2019-06-06
    Passions and Perceptions: Studies in Hellenistic Philosophy of Mind. [REVIEW]Richard Bett - 1995 - Ancient Philosophy 15 (1):283-286.
  24. added 2019-06-06
    "Hellenistic Philosophy of Mind", by Julia E. Annas. [REVIEW]Richard Bett - 1994 - Ancient Philosophy 14 (1):192.
  25. added 2019-06-06
    Greek Scepticism: Anti-Realist Trends in Ancient Thought. [REVIEW]Jonathan Barnes - 1991 - The Classical Review 41 (2):500-501.
  26. added 2019-06-06
    "Lo Scetticismo Antico", Ed. By Gabriele Giannantoni. [REVIEW]Gisela Striker - 1985 - Ancient Philosophy 5 (1):145.
  27. added 2019-06-06
    Sextus Empiricus. Vol. Iv. Against the Professors. [REVIEW]F. H. Sandbach - 1951 - The Classical Review 1 (2):115-116.
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  28. added 2019-06-06
    Prolegomena to Sextus Empiricus. [REVIEW]J. H. Sleeman - 1950 - The Classical Review 64 (2):73-74.
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  29. added 2019-06-06
    Sextus Empiricus in the Loeb Library. [REVIEW]F. H. Sandbach - 1935 - The Classical Review 49 (6):225-226.
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  30. added 2019-06-06
    Patrick's Sextus Empiricus. [REVIEW]R. D. Hicks - 1900 - The Classical Review 14 (3):166-168.
  31. added 2019-06-05
    The Toils of Scepticism.R. J. Hankinson & Jonathan Barnes - 1994 - Journal of Philosophy 91 (2):109.
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  32. added 2019-05-23
    Scepticisme, apraxia et rationalité.Diego E. Machuca - 2019 - In Diego E. Machuca & Stéphane Marchand (eds.), Les raisons du doute: études sur le scepticisme antique. Paris: Classiques Garnier. pp. 53-87.
    La présente étude a deux objectifs. Le premier est d’examiner les différentes formulations de l’objection de l’ἀπραξία telle qu’elle fut soulevée contre le scepticisme académicien et le pyrrhonisme, ainsi que les réponses à cette objection proposées par Arcésilas et Sextus Empiricus. Le second objectif consiste à évaluer la force de la version de l’objection de l’ἀπραξία selon laquelle le sceptique ne peut réaliser les actions rationnelles propres à l’être humain.
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  33. added 2019-05-23
    Scepticism - Julia Annas, Jonathan Barnes: The Modes of Scepticism. Pp. 204. Cambridge University Press, 1985. £20.R. W. Jordan - 1987 - The Classical Review 37 (1):57-58.
  34. added 2019-05-14
    Sextus Empiricus - J. Annas, J. Barnes: Sextus Empiricus: Outlines of Scepticism. Pp. Xviii+249. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Cased, £32/$54.95. [REVIEW]Christopher Kirwan - 1995 - The Classical Review 45 (2):252-253.
  35. added 2019-04-29
    Sextus on Ataraxia Revisited.Diego E. Machuca - forthcoming - Ancient Philosophy.
    My purpose in this article is to revisit an issue concerning the state of undisturbedness or tranquility (ἀταραξία) in ancient Pyrrhonism as this skeptical stance is depicted in Sextus Empiricus’s extant works. The issue in question is whether both the pursuit and the attainment of undisturbedness in matters of opinion should be regarded as defining features of Pyrrhonism not merely from a systematic standpoint that examines Pyrrhonism as a kind of philosophy, but mainly according to Sextus’s own account of that (...)
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  36. added 2019-04-29
    Les raisons du doute: études sur le scepticisme antique.Diego E. Machuca & Stéphane Marchand (eds.) - 2019 - Paris: Classiques Garnier.
    Le scepticisme est une véritable constante de l’histoire de la philosophie depuis l’Antiquité. En se nourrissant des désaccords philosophiques, il ne cesse de se transformer pour mieux remettre en cause les certitudes du dogmatisme. Ce volume présente des contributions en langue française de spécialistes de la pensée sceptique dans l’antiquité, domaine qui s’est considérablement développé ces dernières années. Les études ici présentées portent aussi bien sur le pyrrhonisme que sur la nouvelle Académie ou l’empirisme médical ; elles utilisent une variété (...)
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  37. added 2019-04-29
    The Sceptics - Thorsrud Ancient Scepticism. Pp. Xvi + 248. Stocksfield: Acumen, 2009. Paper, £14.99 . ISBN: 978-1-84465-131-3. [REVIEW]Suzanne Obdrzalek - 2010 - The Classical Review 60 (2):376-378.
  38. added 2019-04-13
    Pirro e o ceticismo primitivo.Victor Brochard & Jaimir Conte - 2014 - Revista Litterarius 13 (1):01-16.
    Tradução para o português do artigo "Pyrrhon et le scepticisme primitif”, de Victor Brochard. Artigo publicado na Revue philosophique de la France et de l’Étranger, Ano 6, 1885, p. 517-532.
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  39. added 2019-04-13
    Os céticos gregos: radicalização do exame filosófico.Jaimir Conte - 2010 - Critica (Misc) 1 (1).
    Apresentação da tradução do livro Os Céticos Gregos, de Victor Brochard. São Paulo: Odysseus Editora, 2010, 464 pp. [ISBN: 8578760034].
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  40. added 2019-04-12
    Sexto Empírico.Charlotte Stough & Jaimir Conte - 2012
    Tradução para o português do verbete sobre Sexto Empírico, de Charlotte Stough, retirado de Jonathan Dancy e Ernest Sosa (org.) A Companion to Epistemology (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997), pp. 475-477.
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  41. added 2019-04-12
    Sexto Empírico e o ceticismo pirrônico.Jaimir Conte - 2011 - Revista Cult 1 (121).
    Artigo de caráter introdutório publicado na Revista CULT, número 121, caracterizando superficialmente a obra de Sexto Empírico.
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  42. added 2019-03-27
    Does Pyrrhonism Have Practical or Epistemic Value?Diego E. Machuca - 2019 - In Giuseppe Veltri, Racheli Haliva, Stephan Franz Schmid & Emidio Spinelli (eds.), Sceptical Paths: Enquiry and Doubt from Antiquity to the Present. Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter. pp. 43-66.
    My purpose in this paper is to examine whether Pyrrhonian skepticism, as this stance is described in Sextus Empiricus’s extant works, has practical or epistemic value. More precisely, I would like to consider whether the Pyrrhonist’s suspension of judgment (ἐποχή) and undisturbedness (ἀταραξία) can be deemed to be of practical or epistemic value. By ‘practical’ value I mean both moral value and prudential value. Moral value refers to moral rightness and wrongness; prudential value to the value of well-being, personal or (...)
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  43. added 2019-03-16
    Sources of Doxastic Disturbance in Sextus Empiricus.Diego E. Machuca - 2019 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 56:193–214.
    In his account of Pyrrhonism, Sextus Empiricus talks about the disturbance concerning matters of opinion that afflicts his dogmatic rivals and that he himself was afflicted by before his conversion to Pyrrhonism. The aim of the present paper is to identify the distinct sources of doxastic disturbance that can be found in that account, and to determine whether and, if so, how they are related. The thesis to be defended is that it is possible to discern three sources of doxastic (...)
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  44. added 2019-02-11
    Sekstus Empiryk, Zarysy Pyrrońskie, ks I (1-30), z języka greckiego przetłumaczył i opracował Zbigniew Nerczuk.Zbigniew Nerczuk - 2018 - Studia Philosophica Wratislaviensia (4):105-116.
    Jest to początek Zarysów Pyrrońskich Sekstusa Empiryka, ks. I (1-30) w nowym przekładzie. Całość tekstu ukaże się w Wydawnictwie UMK w połowie roku 2019. -/- This is the opening part of Sextus' Outlines of Pyrrhonism (I 1-30). The translation of the treatise will be published by Wydawnictwo UMK in the 2019.
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  45. added 2019-01-30
    Review of R. Bett (Trans.), Sextus Empiricus: Against the Physicists (CUP, 2012). [REVIEW]Diego E. Machuca - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (3):614-617.
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  46. added 2019-01-29
    Self-Completing Skepticism: On Hegel's Sublation of Pyrrhonism.Miles Hentrup - 2018 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (1):105-123.
    In his 1802 article for the Critical Journal, “Relationship of Skepticism to Philosophy,” Hegel attempts to articulate a form of skepticism that is “at one with every true philosophy.” Focusing on the priority that Hegel gives to ancient skepticism over its modern counterpart, Michael Forster and other commentators suggest that it is Pyrrhonism that Hegel views as one with philosophy. Since Hegel calls attention to the persistence of dogmatism even in the work of Sextus Empiricus, however, I argue that it (...)
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  47. added 2018-09-06
    Descartes and the Suspension of Judgment–Considerations of Cartesian Skepticism and Epoché.Jan Forsman - 2018 - In Konstantinos Boudouris (ed.), Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy. Greek Philosophical Society. pp. 15-20.
    In this paper I will argue how Descartes in the First and Second Meditation of the Meditations uses a very clear suspension of judgments or assent that in many ways resembles the epoché of the ancient skepticism, especially that of pyrrhonistic variant. First I show how the pyrrhonistic epoché works and what purpose it was used. After that I show how this Cartesian epoché both resembles and differs from the ancient epoché. My main argument is that Descartes, when using the (...)
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  48. added 2018-08-13
    Pyrrhonian Argumentation: Therapy, Dialectic, and Inquiry.Diego E. Machuca - 2019 - Apeiron 52 (2):199-221.
    The Pyrrhonist’s argumentative practice is characterized by at least four features. First, he makes a therapeutic use of arguments: he employs arguments that differ in their persuasiveness in order to cure his dogmatic patients of the distinct degrees of conceit and rashness that afflict them. Secondly, his arguments are for the most part dialectical: when offering an argument to oppose it to another argument advanced by a given dogmatist, he accepts in propria persona neither the truth of its premises and (...)
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  49. added 2018-07-31
    Early Pyrrhonism as a Sect of Buddhism? A Case Study in the Methodology of Comparative Philosophy.Monte Ransome Johnson & Brett Shults - 2018 - Comparative Philosophy 9 (2):1-40.
    We offer a sceptical examination of a thesis recently advanced in a monograph published by Princeton University Press, entitled Greek Buddha: Pyrrho’s Encounter with Early Buddhism in Central Asia. In this dense and probing work, Christopher I. Beckwith, a professor of Central Eurasian studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, argues that Pyrrho of Elis adopted a form of early Buddhism during his years in Bactria and Gandhāra, and that early Pyrrhonism must be understood as a sect of early Buddhism. In making (...)
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  50. added 2018-07-26
    The Grafted Branches of the Sceptical Tree. "Noli Altum Sapere" and Henri Estienne's Latin Edition of Sexti Empirici Pyrrhoniarum Hypotyposeon Libri III.Luciano Floridi - 1992 - Nouvelles de la République des Lettres 1:127-166.
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