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The Sceptics (Arguments of the Philosophers) 2nd Revised ed. Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415184465
ISBN-10: 0415184460
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The book is now, and likely to remain for a while, the best introduction in English to ancient scepticism
."
-Julia Annas, University of Arizona

About the Author

R. J. Hankinson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. He is editor of Galen: On Antecedent Causes (1998, 2004) in the Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries series.
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Product Details

  • Series: Arguments of the Philosophers
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2nd Revised ed. edition (May 7, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415184460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415184465
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,871,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This is a comprehensive and rigorous treatment of the subject. It is absolutely the best book on ancient Greek scepticism. Epistemology, a major branch of philosophy, has been a fertile field of study for over 2500 years. Those thinkers of a sceptical persuasion have during this time helped growth by regularly injecting sceptical arguments--fertilizer for the mind, so to speak. Important topics in philosophy are rarely resolved, and this is certainly true of scepticism. Eminent recent philosophers such as Peter Unger and Robert Fogelin have ably defended scepticism, and Professor Hankinson's superb inquiry into its origins is a welcome addition to philosophical scholarship.

The book is divided into two roughly equal parts. The first half is primarily historical, giving us a detailed introduction to the main characters and schools as they evolved in Greek thought. The second chapter, "The Nature of Scepticism," is a fine analytical discussion of scepticism as a philosophical concept. Here we learn important distinctions between Dogmatists and Sceptics, especially ontological and epistemological variants of both positions. This is my favorite chapter in the book, and all students of scepticism will benefit greatly from a careful study of this insightful treatment.

There are two main schools of ancient Greek scepticism, the Academic and the Pyrrhonian. The latter has been the most influential, and this is rightly the focus of the last half of Hankinson's study. The Greek physician Sextus Empiricus is our major source here. Little is known of Sextus. He is thought to have lived c. 200 AD, possibly in Alexandria or maybe even Rome.
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Format: Paperback
These are the real skeptics. Forget silly paranormal refuters who have coopted the name. It is a decent outline of the ancient philosophers who have doubted. A good introduction, but read the primary texts
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