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Skepticism

(from Gk. for “to look”). Antidogmatic philos. school which holds that truth may exist but cannot be known. Neither reason nor senses provide a trustworthy guide to existence. For every dogmatic statement there is an opposing statement of equal validity. Philosophically, one must suspend judgment. But the ancient skeptic does not despair; he continues to look for truth (hence the name skeptic). Practically, human action is possible by doing what is customary or gen. accepted. Thus one achieves quiet and freedom from fear, the goal of all philosophy.

Pyrrho (ca. 365–ca. 275 BC; followers called Pyrrhonists, doctrine Pyrrhonism) founded a skeptic school at Elis, Greece. Other ancient skeptics include Carneades,* Aenesidemus (Gk. philos.; probably 1st c. BC or AD; taught in Alexandria, Egypt), Cicero,* Sextus Empiricus (2d–3d c. AD; Gk. physician and philos.). Their doctrine was modified, e.g., by I. Kant* and B. Pascal.* EK

See also Agnosticism; Agrippa von Nettasheim, Henry Corneliur Philosophy.

V. C. L. Brochard, Les sceptiques grecs (Paris, 1887); A. Goedeckemeyer, Die Geschichte des Griechischen Skeptizismus (Leipzig, 1905); L. Robin, Pyrrhon et le scepticisme grec (Paris, 1944).


Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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