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A Pyrrhonian Plato? Again On Sextus On Aenesidemus On Plato

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Chapter Summary

The standard view of most Platonists was clear: given that philosophy basically consists in doctrines organized in a coherent system, skepticism has nothing to do with it; and given that Plato is the most important philosopher, the inevitable consequence is that he has nothing to share with skepticism either. Neoplatonists will later insist on the same point. In the same direction, but from different assumptions, goes Sextus, our best known Neopyrrhonist. For Plato is a dogmatic philosopher, and thus he has nothing to share with skepticism, or better with the only legitimate form of skepticism, that is Pyrrhonism. But what about Sextus' predecessors? Was Sextus reacting against different interpretations or was he rather following in their footsteps? This problem is especially serious with regard to Aenesidemus. This chapter focuses on this vexed question and provides a plausible reconstruction of the philosophical arguments and their historical context.

Keywords: Aenesidemus; neoplatonists; philosophical arguments; Plato; Pyrrhonism; Sextus; skepticism



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