+0
1) “As regards the attainment of ataraxia, I think that most students of Sextus’ Pyrrhonism would contend that the Skeptic takes it to be intrinsic to his philosophy. One example is Barnes, who, as we saw, maintains that the attainment of complete ataraxia is what makes one a perfect Skeptic. As in the case of the quest for ataraxia, I think that the achievement of this state is not a defining feature of Pyrrhonism. In what follows I shall attempt to show that Sextus does not regard the search for, and the attainment of, ataraxia in matters of belief as essential to his Skepticism.”

2) “Nussbaum’s view seems to have textual support, given that, while discussing the differences between medical Empiricism and Skepticism, and the similarities between the latter and medical Methodism, Sextus says that ‘that things foreign to nature force <us> to go on to their removal is clear, since even the dog, when a thorn has gotten stuck in him, proceeds to its removal’”.

3) “However, someone might object that my argument is not conclusive since, first, it may still appear to Sextus that, in the cases he mentions, one inevitably tends to unperturbedness but controls this natural impulse, just as one can control the inevitable desire for food when one feels hunger; and second, it may also appear to him that with the acquisition of knowledge, physical strength, and health through exertion, one seeks to attain a more stable state of unperturbedness. I think that in the final analysis there is no way of determining whether or not Sextus has these appearances, since he does not say anything about this. Moreover, in the passages in question Sextus is almost certainly arguing dialectically, and hence just advancing an argument that allows him to oppose the Epicurean position and reach isostheneia.”

4) “If unperturbedness is the Skeptic’s end, then his dunamis antithetike is aimed at achieving that state of mind, so that unperturbedness is to be considered a part of the definition of Skepticism. It seems to follow from this that the quest for, and the attainment of, ataraxia are essential to the Pyrrhonean philosophy. However, first, from what is said at PH i 25 it does not follow that the search for unperturbedness is inherent in Skepticism, given that the fact that all of a person’s actions are aimed at achieving a definite end does not entail that the choice of this end is inevitable, or that it cannot be abandoned and replaced by a different goal. Secondly,….”

5) “There are three passages which, to a greater or lesser degree, seem to confirm that if ataraxia in matters of belief were abandoned as an end, or no longer accompanied epoche, the Skeptics would not consider a vital part of their outlook to have been lost.”

6) “I find this omission at the very least suggestive, since if the search for, or the attainment of, ataraxia were inherent in Pyrrhonism, one would certainly expect Sextus to mention them in the present passage.”

7) “If I understand this passage correctly, these differences between the Skeptic and Arcesilaus with respect to ataraxia does not seem to be crucial; on the contrary, such differences are referred to at the very point where Sextus is enumerating the reasons why the Skeptic’s and Arcesilaus’ attitudes are almost the same.”

8) “Not only does Arcesilaus not consider ataraxia to be his end, but also this state does not accompany his suspension of judgment about everything. If I understand this passage correctly, these differences between the Skeptic and Arcesilaus with respect to ataraxia does not seem to be crucial; on the contrary, such differences are referred to at the very point where Sextus is enumerating the reasons why the Skeptic’s and Arcesilaus’ attitudes are almost the same. In this regard, note that the passage gives the impression that the Pyrrhonist too considers epoche to be one of his aims. Perhaps this is the residue of an earlier Pyrrhonean outlook, which is suggested by a text found in Diogenes Laertius, according to whom Timon and Aenesidemus said that the Skeptic’s end ‘is suspension of judgment, which unperturbedness follows as a shadow’ (ix 107). That suspension was considered by some Skeptics as an aim is confirmed by Sextus’ discussion of the Skeptical telos, at the end of which he remarks that ‘some among the eminent Skeptics have added to them also suspension of judgment in the investigations’ (PH i 30). Now, as we saw in section one, it is only in the passage that immediately follows the one quoted that Sextus refers to a possible key divergence: unlike the Skeptic, Arcesilaus is said to have made assertions about the nature of epoche and sugkatatheis (PH i 233), that is, not to have adopted a really universal suspension of judgment. Sextus also refers that it is also said that Arcesilaus, though at first glance a Pyrrhonist, was in reality a Dogmatist, because he used his aporetic skill to test whether his companions were fitted to receive the Platonic dogmata (PH i 234). Sextus does not seem to put much trust on these versions about a dogmatic Arcesilaus, judging from his own opinion about Arcesilaus’ stance expressed in the first sentence of the passage quoted. Such an approving opinion is unusual in the section of PH i where Sextus examines what distinguishes Skepticism from neighboring philosophies (the other exception is that of the Methodic doctors at PH i 236–241). Still, Sextus remains cautious and says that Arcesilaus’ stance is almost identical to the Pyrrhonist’s. One may then argue that the reason for this caution is precisely the fact that ataraxia plays no part in Arcesilaus’ philosophy. But perhaps the reason is that Sextus does not want to come to the point of admitting a complete identification between Pyrrhonism and the stance of a member of the so-called skeptical Academy. In any case, even if we accept the first hypothesis, Arcesilaus’ not taking unperturbedness as his aim and not achieving this state while suspending judgment about everything appear to constitute in Sextus’ eyes minor discrepancies between Arcesilaus and the Pyrrhonist; otherwise, one would expect Sextus to focus on these differences much more.”

9) “Of course, in this case too the Skeptic is not committed to any belief, but following his appearances, just as in the case of his acting in accordance with the laws and customs of his community.”

10) “If the previous explanation of why the Skeptic adopts a philanthropic attitude is correct or at least plausible, then there is no reason to suppose that he wants to cure the Dogmatists because their perturbation represents a threat to the attainment and stability of his unperturbedness.”

11) “First, it may be argued that the Pyrrhonist’s argumentative therapy implies a number of beliefs about epoche and ataraxia: the belief that ataraxia is objectively good (otherwise, why does he seek to induce this state if he is not himself convinced that it is beneficial?); the belief that this state is achieved by suspending judgment; the belief that epoche is brought about by certain kinds of arguments; and the belief that inducing epoche and ataraxia in his patients is the objectively adequate treatment to be applied when they are afflicted by conceit and rashness. Regarding the first two beliefs, there is nothing more to be said than what was already expounded in section one. Unperturbedness just appears to the Skeptic as a good, and he cannot rule out the possibility that this state will continue to accompany the adoption of total suspension of judgment.”

12) This is the title of the paper: "The Pyrrhonist's ataraxia and philanthropia: On the Nature and Coherence of Pyrrhonism". Just wanna know if it looks ok.

Many thanks,

Sextus
1 2
Comments  (Page 2) 
Sextus
8) Hmm. What are they versions of, though?

What I want to say is that Sextus doesn't put much trust on what is said about Arcesilaus' being a dogmatist. Perhaps I could just say this.

Now I see. How about:

8) 'Sextus does not put much trust in those accounts of Arcesilaus' philosophy that present him as a dogmatist.'

MrP
MrPedantic
Sextus
8) Hmm. What are they versions of, though?

What I want to say is that Sextus doesn't put much trust on what is said about Arcesilaus' being a dogmatist. Perhaps I could just say this.

Now I see. How about:

8) 'Sextus does not put much trust in those accounts of Arcesilaus' philosophy that present him as a dogmatist.'

MrP

Could I then say:

"Sextus does not put much trust in these accounts of Arcesilaus’ philosophy that present him as a Dogmatist, to judge by the former’s own opinion of the latter’s stance, as expressed in the first sentence of the passage quoted." ?

I'm not sure whether 'the former' and 'the latter' sound ok here.

Also, regarding 4), I could perhaps use 'in the first place' instead of 'first', but don't know if this makes a real difference.

Cheers,

Sextus
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Or perhaps, I could say:

"However, on the one hand, one cannot conclude from PH i 25 that the search for unperturbedness is inherent in Skepticism, given that the fact that all of a person’s actions are aimed at achieving a definite end does not entail that the choice of this end is inevitable, or that it cannot be abandoned and replaced by a different goal. On the other hand, I think that if at some point the Skeptic’s ability continued to lead to isostheneia and epoche, but not to ataraxia, he would not regard this as the loss of one of the defining characteristics of his outlook."

Sextus
Sextus
"However, on the one hand, one cannot conclude from PH i 25 that the search for unperturbedness is inherent in Skepticism, given that the fact that all of a person’s actions are aimed at achieving a definite end does not entail that the choice of this end is inevitable, or that it cannot be abandoned and replaced by a different goal. On the other hand, I think that if at some point the Skeptic’s ability continued to lead to isostheneia and epoche, but not to ataraxia, he would not regard this as the loss of one of the defining characteristics of his outlook."

Yes, I think that does the trick.

"...the Skeptic's ability": ability to – ?

MrP
Thanks for your reply. "Ability" is clear from the whole context.

By the way, what do you think of my suggestion regarding 8) (it's in the post previous to the one to which you replied) ?

Cheers,

Sextus
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.