Sextus Empiricus

Sextus Empiricus
(fl. c. AD 200)
Doctor of medicine, and author of the most distinguished works of ancient scepticism that have survived. Sextus was a Greek who may have spent time in Rome, and Alexandria, but little is known about his life, including where he was born and died. His works are divided into the Outlines of Pyrrhonism and Adversos Mathematicos (against the professors, or dogmatists). These works provide the main codification of Greek scepticism. Sextus defends a Pyrrhonian position whereby even the dialectic undermining the ‘trickster reason’ is eventually itself to be regarded quizzically: in his famous metaphor, it acts like a purgative, expelling itself along with the diseases it cures. His scepticism is confined to the adela or theoretical world beyond experience; central to his philosophy is the distinction between ‘indicative’ signs, which are signs taken improperly, as pointing to things lying beyond experience, and ‘commemorative’ or recollective signs, which are signs taken as symptoms of yet other signs, which are legitimate. The distinction anticipates the British empiricists ' difficulties in understanding how ideas can ever represent anything except more ideas. Sextus' writings include many central themes of these successors, including a distinction between primary and secondary qualities, and a view of causation similar to Hume's. The aim of scepticism is to show how in life we must take appearances as they come, and the virtue of the sceptic is the imperturbability (ataraxia ) with which he confronts the fact that this is all we can do. See also Aenesidemus, Carneades, Pyrrho.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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  • SEXTUS EMPIRICUS — (2e moitié IIe déb. IIIe s.) Du philosophe sceptique grec Sextus Empiricus on possède trois grandes œuvres: les Hypotyposes pyrrhoniennes en six livres; le traité Contre les professeurs (Adversus mathematicos ) en trois livres (contre les… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Sextus Empirĭcus — Sextus Empirĭcus, griech. Philosoph und Arzt, lebte um 200 n. Chr. in Alexandria und Athen, gehörte als Philosoph der skeptischen Richtung an, wurde aber als Arzt den Empirikern beigezählt. Wir haben von ihm noch zwei wertvolle Schriften:… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Sextus Empiricus — Sextus Empiricus, griech. Philosoph um 200 v. Chr., Empiricus genannt, weil er als Arzt zu der Schule der Empiriker (s. d.) gehalten haben soll, ist der wichtigste unter den Skeptikern der spätern Zeit. Ein Werk in 3 Büchern richtete er gegen… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Sextus Empiricus — Sextus Empirĭcus, griech. skeptischer Philosoph und Arzt zu Ende des 2. Jahrh. n. Chr. in Alexandria und Rom. Schriften hg. von Bekker (1842), deutsch z. T. von Pappenheim (1877) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • SEXTUS EMPIRICUS° — (late second century C.E.), Greek physician and philosophical writer in whose works on Skepticism (extant) the Jewish abhorrence of pig s flesh is mentioned (Pyrrhonic Sketches 3:223) …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Sextus Empiricus — Infobox Philosopher region = Western Philosophy era = Ancient philosophy color = #B0C4DE name = Sextus Empiricus birth = c. 160 AD death = c. 210 AD, possibly in Alexandria or Rome school tradition = Skepticism influences = Pyrrho, Timon of… …   Wikipedia

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  • Sextus Empiricus — ▪ Greek philosopher flourished 3rd century       ancient Greek philosopher historian who produced the only extant comprehensive account of Greek Skepticism in his Outlines of Pyrrhonism and Against the Dogmatists.       As a major exponent of… …   Universalium

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