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.
History of Philosophy and Logical Analysis – Brill
Published: Apr 5, 2013