Sextus Empiricus: Outlines of Pyrrhonism

The Mind Map

Intro:

Life

Content:

Philosophy types 

Dogmatic,  Academic & Sceptic 

The Sceptic 

Origin 

Modes leading to suspension 

1 The first based on discrepancy/err 

2 The second on regress ad infinitum 

3 The third on relativity

3.1 Relativity soul 

3.2 Relativity sense 

3.3 Relativity in space 

3.4 Relativity in purity

3.5 Relativity beauty 

3.6 Dogmatic relativity 

3.7 Relativity in sign 

3.8 Relativity in time 

3.9 Relativity in human conceptions 

3.10 Relativity in culture 

4 The fourth on hypothesis/proof & The fifth on circular reasoning. 

4.1 Untrustworthy

4.2 Depended on the potency of the Criterion/standard/premiss 

4.3 Truth 

Consequence

1 Unexistence of teaching 

2 Unexistence of existence 

2.1 Thus

2.1a “I determine nothing” 

2.1b “All things are undetermined”

2.1c “To every argument, an equal argument is opposed”

2.2 Hope for quietude 

3 Unexistence of god 

4 Unexistence of time 

5 Unexistence of addition 

Pyhrooo.png

Life

(Since there was practically no mention about Pyrroh's life in this book I took the introduction about his life at Wikipedia, still looking for a book that talks more about his life) 

Pyrrhonism is a school of philosophical skepticism founded by Pyrrho in the fourth century BCE. It is best known through the surviving works of Sextus Empiricus, writing in the late second century or early third century.

Pyrrho of Elis is estimated to have lived from around 365/360 until 275/270 BCE. Pyrrho was from Elis, on the Ionian Sea. He was likely a member of the Klytidiai, a clan of seers in Elis who interpreted the oracles of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia where Pyrrho served as a high priest. The Klytidiai were descendants of Klytios, who was the son of Alcmaeon and the grandson of Amphiaraus. In the Python, Pyrrho's student Timon of Phlius describes first meeting Pyrrho on the grounds of an Amphiareion, i.e., a temple of Amphiaraus, while they were both on a pilgrimage to Delphi.

Diogenes Laërtius, quoting from Apollodorus of Athens, says that Pyrrho was at first a painter, and that pictures by him were exhibited in the gymnasium at Elis. Later he was diverted to philosophy by the works of Democritus, and according to Diogenes Laërtius became acquainted with the Megarian dialectic through Bryson, pupil of Stilpo.Unlike the founders of other Hellenistic philosophies, Pyrrho was not substantively influenced by Socrates.

Pyrrho, along with Anaxarchus, travelled with Alexander the Great on his conquest of the east, "so that he even went as far as the Gymnosophists in India and the Magi" in Persia. This exposure to Eastern philosophy, and in specific, Buddhist philosophy, seems to have inspired him to create his new philosophy and to adopt a life of solitude. Returning to Elis, he lived in poor circumstances but was highly honored by the Elians, who made him a high priest, and also by the Athenians, who conferred upon him the rights of citizenship.

Philosophy types 

Dogmatic,  Academic & Sceptic 

The types of philosophy are three - the dogmatic, the Academic, and the Sceptic. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p.16)

 

The Sceptic 

According, the skeptic, seeing so great a diversity of usages, suspends judgment as to the natural existence of anything good or bad or (in general) fit or unfit to be done, therein abstaining from the rashness of dogmatism; and he follows non dogmatically the ordinary rules of life, and because of this he remains impassive in respect of matters of opinion, while in a condition that is necessitated his emotions are moderate; for though as a human being, he suffers emotion through his senses, yet because he does not also opine that what he suffers is evil by nature, the emotion he suffers is moderate. For the added opinion that a thing itself is often such a kind is worse than the actual suffering itself, just as something the patients themselves bear a surgical operation, while the bystanders swoon away because of their opinion that it is horrible to experience. (Sextus Empiricus Outlines of Pyrrhonism p. 265)

Origin 

The origin cause of skepticism is, we say the hope of attaining quietude. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p.18)

The skeptic in fact, had the same experience which is said to have befallen the painter Aplelles. Once, they say, when he was painting a horse and wished to represent in the painting the horse's foam, he was so unsuccessful that he gave up the attempt and flung at the picture the sponge on which he used to wipe the paints off his brush, and the mark of the sponge produced the effect of a horse’s foam. So, too, the skeptic was in hopes gaining quietude by means of a decision regarding the disparity of the objects of sense and of thought, and being unable to effect this they suspended judgment and they found that quietude, as if by chance, followed upon their suspense, even as a shadow follows its substance. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p.24)

Modes leading to suspension 

And thus by means of all the ten modes, we are finally led to the suspension of judgment. The later skeptics hand down five modes leading to suspension, namely these: the first based on the discrepancy, the second on regress ad infinitum, the third on relativity, the fourth on hypothesis, the fifth on circular reasoning. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p. 63)

The eighth modes are based on relativity; and by it, we conclude that, since all things are relative, we shall suspend judgment as to what things are absolutely and really existent. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p. 56)

1 The first based on discrepancy/err 

-The cause of something is unconfirmed - evidence trough appearance

-Order events that show no intent to be ordered

-Preference in selecting a cause in a big scope of probable causation. 

-The unexistent correlation between appearance and non-appearance that they thrive on 

-Proof base only on pre-selected facts.

Thus Aenesidemos furnishes us with eight modes by which, as he thinks, he tests and exposes the unsoundness of every dogmatic theory of causation. The first, he says, is that which shows that, since ethology as a whole deal with the unapparent, it is unconfirmed by any agreed evidence derived from appearances. The second mode shows how often, when there is ample scope for ascribing the object of investigation to a variety of causes, some of them account for it one way only. The third shows how to orderly events they assign causes which exhibit no order. The fourth shows how, when they have grasped the way in which appearances occur, they assume that they have also apprehended how unapparent things occur, whereas, through the unapparent may possibly be realized in a similar way to the appearance. In the fifth mode, it is shown how practically all these theorists assign causes according to their own particular hypotheses about the elements, and not according to any commonly agreed methods. In the sixth, it is shown how they frequently admit only such facts as can be explained by their own theorize, and dismisses facts which conflict therewith through possessing equal probability. The seventh shows how they often assign causes that conflict not only with appearances but also with their own hypotheses. The eight shows that often when there is equal doubt things seemingly apparent and things under investigation, they base their doctrine about things equally doubtful upon things equally doubtful. Nor is it impossible, he adds, that the overthrow of some of their theories of causation should be referred to certain mixed modes that are dependent on the fare going. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p. 68)

2 The second on regress ad infinitum 

An ad infinitum dependency on the cause

The fallacy of this circular mode of reasoning proves both to be inconceivable, the cause being incapable of being conceived as the cause, and the effect as the effect. (....) Besides, since we are inquiring about the reality of cause, it will certainly be necessary for him to produce a cause for the cause of the existence of cause, and of that cause yet another, and so on ad infinitum. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p. 194)

3 The third on relativity

- Since all is relative: suspend judgment 

And just as the single identical breath of a musician breathed into a flute becomes here a shrill note and there a deep note and the same pressure of his hand on the lyre produces here a deep note and there a shrill note, so likewise is it probable that the external objects appear different owing to a difference in the structure of the animals which experience the same impressions. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p.32)

Demophon, Alexander’s butler, used to shiver when he was in the sun or in a hot bath but felt warm in the shade. Chrysemus the Herophelion doctor was liable to get a heart attack if ever he took pepper: and Soterichus the surgeon was seized with diarrhea whenever he smelled fried stars. Aristotle tells of a Thasian who fancied that the image of a man was continually going in front of him (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p. 40)

It is true that Aenesidends and his followers used to say that the skeptic way is a road leading up to the Heraclitean philosophy since to hold that the same thing is the subject of opposite appearances is a preliminary to holding that it is the subject of opposite realities, and while the skeptics say that the same thing is the subject of opposites appearances, the Heraleitereans go on from this to assert their reality. “Not true”(Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p. 70)

3.1 Relativity soul 

In respect of the soul: one thing is pleasing to one man, another thing to another. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p. 41)

3.2 Relativity sense 

The cause of relativity is uncertainty, the only guarantee is the appearance

Consequently, we are unable to say what is the real nature of each of these things, although is possible to say what each thing at the moment appears to be. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p. 44) 

The third mode is, we say, based on differences in the senses. That the senses differ from one another is obvious. Thus, the eye painting seems to have recesses and projections, but hot so to the touch. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p. 43) 

3.3 Relativity in space 

The fifth argument is that based on position, distances, and locations; owing to each of these the same objects appear different; for example, the same porch when viewed from one of its corners appears curtailed, but viewed from the middle symmetrical on all sides. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p. 51)

3.4 Relativity in purity

Only appears to possess in its relative character

When, however, we have thus established that all things are relative, we are plainly left with the conclusion that we shall not be able to state what is the nature of each of the objects in its own real purity, but only what nature it appears to possess in its relative character. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p. 57)

3.5 Relativity beauty 

The sun is, of course, much more amazing than a comet; yet, because we see the sun constantly but the comet rarely, we are so amazed by the comet that we even regard it as a divine portent, while the one causes no amazement at all. If, however, we were to conceive of the sun as appearing but rarely and setting rarely, and illuminating everything all at once and throwing everything info shadow sullenly, then we should experience much amazement at the sight. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p. 58)

3.6 Dogmatic relativity 

¹⁴ For since there exist great divergence in respect of the intellect- for the intelligent of Gorgias, according to which he states that nothing exists, is one kind, and another kind is that of Heraclitus, according to which he declares that all things exist, and another that of those who say that some things do and others do not exist - we shall have no means of deciding between these divergent intellects, nor shall we be able to assert that it is right to take this man’s intellect as our guide but not that men’s. For if we venture to judge by any one’s intellect, by thus agreeing to assent to one side in the dispute we shall be assuming the matter in question; while if we judge by anything else, shall be falsifying the assertion that one ought to judge objects by the intellect alone. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p. 115)

3.7 Relativity in sign 

Apprehension

 -Nothing is apprehended through itself. 

If that through which an object is apprehended must always itself be apprehended through some other things, one is involved in a process of circular reasoning or in regress ad infinitum. And if, on the other hand, one should choose to assume that the thing through which another object is apprehended is itself apprehended through itself, this refuted by the fact that, for the reasons already stated, nothing is apprehended through itself. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyrrhonism p. 67)

3.8 Relativity in time 

Some define time as “the interval of the motion of the whole” (meaning by “whole” the universe), others as “the actual motion of the universe”: Aristotle (or some say Plato) as “the number of the prior and posterior in motion”; Strato (or, as some say, Aristotle) as “the measure of motion and rest”; Epicurus3 (according to Demetrios the Laconian) as “ a concurrence of concurrence, concomitant with days and nights and seasons and affections and nonaffections and motions and rests”. and, in point of substance, some have affirmed that it is corporeal - for instance, Aenesidemus, arguing that it differs in nothing from being and the prime body-others, that it is incorporeal. Either, then, all these theories are true, or all false, or some true and some false; but they cannot all be true (most of them being in conflict), nor will it be grounded by the dogmatists that are false. (Sextus Empiricus Outlines of Pyhonism p. 235)

3.9 Relativity in human conceptions 

Moreover, prostitution is with us a shameful and disgraceful thing, but with many of the Egyptians it is highly esteemed; at least, they say that those women who have the greatest number of lovers wear an ornamental ankle ring as a token of their proud position. And with some of them, the girls marry after collecting a dowry before marriage by means of prostitution. Moreover, with us, tattooing is held to be shameful and degrading, but many of the Egyptians and Sarmatians tattoo their offspring. Also, is a shameful thing for us for men to wear an earring, but amongst, some of the barbarians, like the Syrians, it is a token of nobility. (Sextus Empiricus Outlines of Pyhonism p. 257)

¹⁷ With us, also, the law enjoys that the fathers should receive due care from their children; but the Scythians cut their throats when they get to be over sixty years old. (Sextus Empiricus Outlines of Pyhonism p. 259)

3.10 Relativity in culture 

There is a truth mode, which is mainly concerned with ethics, being on rules of conduct, habits, laws, legendary belief, and dogmatic conceptions. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 59)

Some of the Ethiopians tattoo their children, but we do not; and while the Persians think it seemly to wear a brightly dyed dress reaching to the feet, we think it unseemly; and whereas the Indians have intercourse with their women in public, most other races regard this as shameful. We say that amongst the Persians it is the habit to indulge in intercourse with males, but amongst the Romans, it is forbidden by law to do so. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 60)

4 The fourth on hypothesis/proof & The fifth on circular reasoning. 

4.1 Untrustworthy

Proof 

So, then, proof ought to be an argument which is deductive and true and has a non-evident conclusion which is discovered by the potency of the premises: and because of this, the proof is defined as “an argument which by means of agreed premises discovers by way of deduction a non-evident inference”. It is in these terms, then, that is in the habit of expanding the concept of proof. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 143)

Consequently, a proof will also be unreal; for it is conceived together with the act of proving, and were if not apprehended it would be unable to prove. Wherefore will not exist. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 157)

4.2 Depended on the potency of the Criterion/standard/premiss 

Absurdity 

suspends judgment regarding the premise.

Inconsistency is when the premiss is not logically coherent

Unexistence of proof

Due to circular reasoning

So that if a proof is defined as “ an argument which by deduction, that is conclusive, reveals a non-evident inference by means of certain premises agreed to be true”, while we have shown that there exists no argument either conclusive by means of evident premises or serves to reveals its conclusion, - then it is apparent that proof is without real existence. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 153)

Shall he, then affirm the truth of the proof adopted to establish the criterion after having judged if or without judging it? If without judging, he will be discredited: but if after judging, plainly he will say that he has judged it by a criterion; and of that criterion, we shall ask for a proof, and of that proof again a criterion. For the proof always requires a criterion to confirm it, and the criterion also a proof to demonstrate its truth; and neither can a proof be sound without the previous existence of a true criterion nor can the criterion be true without the previous confirmation of the proof. So in this way both the criterion and the proof are involved in the circular process of reasoning, and thereby both are found to be untrustworthy; for since each of them is dependent on the credibility of the other, the one is lacking in credibility just as much as the other. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 50)

An example of inconsistency is when the premises are not logically coherent with each other and with the inference, as on the argument “If it is day, it is light; but in fact, what is being sold in the market; therefore Dion is walking”. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 144)

Absurdity: So whenever such an argument is propounded to use we shall suspend judgment regarding each premise, and when finally the whole argument is propounded we shall draw what conclusion we approve. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 182)

4.3 Truth 

Truth difference

Essence

Composition

Potency

unclarity in definitions

Useless due to controversy

“The truth is said to differ from the truth in 3 ways: in essence, composition, potency. In essence, since the true is incorporeal (for it is judgment and expression) while the truth is a body (for it is knowledge declaratory of all things, and knowledge in a particular state of the regent part, just as the first is a particular state of the head, and the regent part is the body: for according to them it is breath). (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p.122)

And how could it be other than absurd to assert that definitions are of use for apprehension or instruction or elucidation of any kind when they involve us in such a fog of uncertainty? Thus, for instance, “O rational mortal animal, receptive of intelligence and laughter, with broad nails and receptive of political science, with his (posterior) hemispheres seated on a mortal animal capable of neighing, and leading a four-footed animal capable of barking?”(...) So then we must declare that, so far as we may judge by this, the definition is useless. (...) For in fact, in their desire to propound a definition of the definition they plunge into an endless controversy. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 166)

Consequence

1 Unexistence of teaching 

What is taught is either corporeal or incorporeal, and each of these being either apparent or non-evident is incapable of being thought, according to the argument we have just now stated. Nothing, therefore, is taught. (Sextus Empiricus Outlines of Pyhonism p. 274)

And if neither the learner nor the teacher exists, the method of teaching also is abolished. (Sextus Empiricus Outlines of Pyhonism p. 40)

2 Unexistence of existence 

Sense is passive 

The reason is apprehended of sensible to intelligible 

The fallacy is conceivable due to senses passivity 

Becoming but never being thus not apprehending.

Of existing things some, they say, are sensible, others intelligible, and the latter are apprehended by the reason, the former by the senses, and the senses are “simply-passive”, while the reason proceeds from the apprehension of sensible to the apprehension of intelligible. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 203)

Just as Plato speaks of bodies as “becoming but never being”, - I am perplexed as to how this controversy about the body is to be settled, as I see that it cannot be settled, because of the difficulties stated a moment ago, either by a body or by an incorporeal. Neither, then, is it possible to apprehend the incorporeal by reason. And if they are neither objects of sense nor apprehended by means of reason, they will not be apprehended at all.  (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 206)

2.1 Thus

2.1a “I determine nothing” 

2.1b “All things are undetermined”

So whenever the skeptic says “ I determine nothing” what he means is “ I am now in such a state of mind as neither to affirm dogmatically nor deny any of the matters now in question. So whenever the skeptic says “ All things are undetermined”, he takes the word “are” in the sense of “appear to him”, and by “all things” he means not existing things but such of the non-evident matters investigated by the dogmatists as he has examined, and by “undetermined” he means not superior in point of credibility or incredibility to things opposed, or in any way conflicting. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 75)

2.1c “To every argument, an equal argument is opposed”

So whenever I say “ To every argument an equal argument is opposed”, what I am virtually saying is “ To every argument investigated by me which establishes a point dogmatically, it seems to me there is opposed another argument, establishing a point dogmatically, which is equal to the first in respect of credibility and incredibility”: so that the utterance of the phrase is not a piece of dogmatism, but the announcement of a human state of mind which is apparent to the person experiencing it. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 77)

2.2 Hope for quietude 

Skepticism is an ability, or mental attitude, which opposes appearances to judgments, in any way whatsoever, with the result that, owing to the equivalence of the objects and reason thus opposed, we are brought firstly to a state of mental suspense and next to a state of “ unpretentiousness” or quietude (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p.17)

The origin cause of skepticism is, we say the hope of attaining quietude. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p.18)

3 Unexistence of god 

No agreement in the conception

Plurality in the conception 

How shall we be able to reach a conception of God when we have no agreement about his substance or his form or his place of abode. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 187)

For if they say that he fore-thinks all things they will be declaring that God is the cause of what is evil, while if they say that he fore-thinks some things or nothing they will be forced to say that God is either malignant or weak, and obviously this is to impious language. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 190)

4 Unexistence of time 

not measurable 

So then time is not limited (...) Neither, then, is time divisible. But if it is neither indivisible nor divisible, it does not exist. (Sextus Empiricus Outlines of Pyhonism p. 237)

5 Unexistence of addition 

If then, what is said to be added is neither added to itself nor to what pre-exist nor to the compound of these and besides these, there are no other alternatives, then there in so the addition of anything to anything. (Sextus Empiricus Outlines of Pyhonism p. 222)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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