No More This than That: Skeptical Impression or Pyrrhonian Dogma?

Schole 11 (1):7–60 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

This is a defense of Pyrrhonian skepticism against the charge that the suspension of judgment based on equipollence is vitiated by the assent given to the equipollence in question. The apparent conflict has a conceptual side as well as a practical side, examined here as separate challenges with a section devoted to each. The conceptual challenge is that the skeptical transition from an equipollence of arguments to a suspension of judgment is undermined either by a logical contradiction or by an epistemic inconsistency, perhaps by both, because the determination and affirmation of equipollence is itself a judgment of sorts, one that is not suspended. The practical challenge is that, independently of any conceptual confusion or contradiction, suspending judgment in reaction to equipollence evinces doxastic commitment to equipollence, if only because human beings are not capable of making assessments requiring rational determination without believing the corresponding premises and conclusions to be true. The two analytic sections addressing these challenges are preceded by two prefatory sections, one laying out the epistemic process, the other reviewing the evidentiary context. The response from the conceptual perspective is that the suspension of judgment based on equipollence is not a reasoned conclusion adopted as the truth of the matter but a natural reaction to an impression left by the apparently equal weight of opposing arguments. The response from the practical perspective is that the acknowledgment of equipollence is not just an affirmation of the equal weight of arguments but also an admission of inability to decide, suggesting that any assent, express or implied, is thrust upon the Pyrrhonist in a state of epistemic paralysis affecting the will and the intellect on the matter being investigated. This just leaves a deep disagreement, if any, regarding whether equipollence is an inference based on discursive activity or an impression coming from passive receptivity. But this, even if resolved in favor of the critic (which it need not and ought not be), is not the same as confusion or inconsistency on the part of the Pyrrhonist, the demonstration of which is the primary aim of this paper.

Links

PhilArchive

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Again on Sextus on Persuasiveness and Equipollence.Diego E. Machuca - 2017 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 99 (2):212-228.
Nietzsche and the Ancient Skeptical Tradition. [REVIEW]Rebecca Bamford - 2013 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 51 (1):138-140.
De praktische en epistemische waarde van het pyrronisme.Diego Machuca - 2016 - Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 108 (1):73-98.
Pyrrhonism Sextusian: A Development.Guy O'gorman King - 1982 - Dissertation, The Ohio State University
Rational Agnosticism and Degrees of Belief.Jane Friedman - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 4:57.
Rationality and Ancient Scepticism.Casey Carlton Perin - 2001 - Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
Appearances and Impressions.Rachel Barney - 1992 - Phronesis 37 (3):283-313.
Externalism, Skepticism, and Belief.Michael Shaw Perry - 2014 - Logos and Episteme 5 (3):275-301.

Analytics

Added to PP
2017-03-03

Downloads
522 (#33,804)

6 months
97 (#41,412)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Necip Fikri Alican
Washington University in St. Louis (PhD)

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Lives of Eminent Philosophers.Diogenes Laertius - 1925 - London: W. Heinemann. Edited by Robert Drew Hicks.
The history of scepticism: from Savonarola to Bayle.Richard H. Popkin - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Richard H. Popkin.
The Modes of Scepticism: Ancient Texts and Modern Interpretations.Julia Annas & Jonathan Barnes - 1985 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Jonathan Barnes.
The Skeptical Tradition.Myles Burnyeat (ed.) - 1983 - University of California Press.

View all 26 references / Add more references