Beyond Hellenistic Epistemology: Arcesilaus and the Destruction of Stoic Metaphysics

New York, NY, USA: Bloomsbury Publishing (2021)
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Abstract

Charles E. Snyder considers the New Academy's attacks on Stoic epistemology through a critical re-assessment of the 3rd century philosopher, Arcesilaus of Pitane. Arguing that the standard epistemological framework used to study the ancient Academy ignores the metaphysical dimensions at stake in Arcesilaus's critique, Snyder explores new territory for the historiography of Stoic-Academic debates in the early Hellenistic period. Focusing on the dispute between the Old and New Academy, reveals the metaphysical dimensions of Arcesilaus' arguments as essential to grasping what is innovative about the so-called New Academy. Resisting the partiality for epistemology in the historical reconstructions of ancient philosophy, this book defends a new philosophical framework that re-positions Arcesilaus' attack on the early Stoa as key to his deviation from the metaphysical foundations of both Stoic and Academic virtue ethics. Drawing on a wide range of scholarship on Hellenistic philosophy in French, Italian, and German, Beyond Hellenistic Epistemology builds bridges between analytical and continental approaches to the historiography of ancient philosophy, and makes an important and disruptive contribution to the literature.

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