Sextus responds to the Dogmatists’ criticism that the Sceptics cannot investigate Dogmatic theses, formulating his own version of Meno’s puzzle against them. He thus forces them to adopt υοεῐυ ἁπλῶς – a way of thinking that does not carry any commitment to the reality of what someone thinks – as their only solution to the puzzle and as the necessary starting point of their investigation. Nοεῐυ ἁπλῶς avoids Dogmatic assumptions without making use of the Sceptical argumentation that leads to suspension of judgment. It constitutes a novel answer to Meno’s puzzle, Dogmatism- and Scepticism-free, with important consequences both for Dogmatism and for Scepticism.
In his ‘Outlines of Pyrrhonism’ Sextus Empiricus compares the Pyrrhonean arguments with a purge, which forces the subject to give up both the philosophical beliefs and the Pyrrhonean arguments. It is shown that this strategy leads to serious troubles: Insofar the Pyrrhonean arguments are at least partly philosophical in nature, they lead to a contradiction in the subject’s beliefs about his own beliefs. But this does not help the Pyrrhonist to reach his goal: On the one hand, facing a contradiction, some, but not all beliefs of a given discourse should be given up. On the other hand, the contradiction is not avoidable: In this respect, the metaphor of a “purge” is misleading: The presupposed timely dimension (first philosophy is given up, then Pyrrhonism) has no counterpart in logical reasoning.
about which the Sceptic cannot suspend belief. Specifically, I suggest that there is one kind of belief that seems to defy the sceptical method, namely scientific definitions.
In the Outlines of Scepticism (= PH ), SextusEmpiricus defines his sceptical method as an ability to suspend belief
According to SextusEmpiricus, Pyrrhonian Sceptics possess the capacity to motivate suspension of judgement concerning any given matter of inquiry by setting contrary but equipollent arguments in opposition ( Outlines of Pyrrhonism [= PH ] I .8–11). The oppositional capacity ( dunamis
many tropoi or “modes” in order to conduct that inquiry. So surely, SextusEmpiricus, the only member of that tradition from whom we possess complete works, should be the star of the show when we talk about ancient conceptions of modes of inquiry. On the other hand, he has also been accused of not
investigations, some say that they have found the truth, others declare that it cannot be apprehended, while others still continue to search.
SextusEmpiricus, Outlines of Pyrrhonism (= PH ), 1.2 (T1)
So SextusEmpiricus begins his general account of scepticism, or as he sometimes puts it, the sceptical
Analytics , notes that the Stoics made logic the primary part of philosophy ( Prior Analytics 8, 20), and SextusEmpiricus reports that the Stoics “say logic comes first, and ethics second, while physics occupies last place” in order of instruction ( Against the Logicians [= AM ] 7.22). The disagreement
an epistemology or an account of knowledge that can be understood in isolation from his account of inquiry. 17
Given that one of the self-characterizations of the ancient skeptic school was, according to SextusEmpiricus, to be zētētikē (disposed to inquire), engaging with the Skeptics promises