Arcesilaus and the Ontology of Stoic Cognition

Review of Metaphysics 73 (March):455-493 (2020)
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The focus of this paper is the dispute between the Academic Arcesilaus of Pitane (ca. 316–240 BC) and the philosophy of Zeno of Citium. Scholars typically claim that Arcesilaus set out to attack Zeno’s epistemology or theory of knowledge. The framework of epistemology prevails in the modern reconstruction of Arcesilaus’s arguments. Proponents of this framework usually contend that the epistemic possibility of Stoic “cognition” or “apprehension” (κατάληψις) is the principal aim of Arcesilaus’s attack. The aim of this article is to contest the limited scope of the framework of epistemology in the interpretation of Arcesilaus’s attack, and reposition his critical arguments, in view of the fragmentary evidence, within the framework of an ontology of knowledge.

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