On the Teaching of Ethics from Polemo to Arcesilaus

Less than a century after Plato’s death, the Academy’s scholarch Arcesilaus of Pitane inaugurates a peculiar oral phase of Academic philosophy, deciding not to write philosophical works or openly teach his own doctrines. Scholars often attribute a radical change of direction to the school under his headship, taking early Stoic epistemology to be the primary target of the New Academy’s attack on Stoic philosophy. This paper defends a rival view of Arcesilaus’ Academic revolution. Shifting the focus of that attack from epistemology to ethics, the paper illuminates the continuity in development from Polemo to Arcesilaus and the evidence corroborating this continuity.
Keywords Stoic epistemology  dialectic  Socrates  Ethics  Polemo  Arcesilaus  New Academy  skepticism
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