Sextus Empiricus: Against the Logicians (Cambridge Texts in by Sextus Empiricus, Richard Bett

By Sextus Empiricus, Richard Bett

By way of a long way the main exact surviving exam by means of any historic Greek sceptic of epistemology and common sense, this paintings seriously experiences the pretensions of non-sceptical philosophers, to have found tools for choosing the reality, both via direct statement or by way of inference from the saw to the unobserved. a superb instance of the Pyrrhonist sceptical procedure at paintings, it additionally offers vast information regarding the tips of different Greek thinkers, which many times, are poorly preserved in different assets.

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Example text

For some criteria are skilled and some are ordinary; but neither do  Against the Logicians the ordinary ones judge (just as the ordinary person does not), nor do the skilled ones (just as the skilled person does not), for the reasons stated earlier. Therefore nothing is a criterion. Protagoras (–) () Some people have also included Protagoras of Abdera in the chorus of philosophers who do away with the criterion, since he says that all appearances and opinions are true, and that truth is among the things in relation to something, given the fact that everything that has appeared to or been opined by someone is immediately the case in relation to that person.

We would not say it is the ordinary person. For he is defective in his knowledge of the peculiarities of skills. The blind person does not grasp the workings of sight, nor the deaf person those of hearing. And so, too, the unskilled person does not have a sharp eye when it comes to the apprehension of what has been achieved through skill, since if we actually back this person in his judgment on some matter of skill, there will be no difference between skill and lack of skill, which is absurd. So the ordinary person is not a judge of the peculiarities of skills.

For the very person saying this is a human being, and in positing that which appears in relation to himself, he agrees that this very point is among the things that appear in relation to himself. Hence, too, the insane person is a reliable criterion of the things that appear in insanity, and the sleeping person of the things that strike us in sleep, the child of the things that strike us in childhood, and the old person of the things that strike us in old age. () And it is not appropriate to reject one set of circumstances on the basis of a different set of circumstances – that is, to reject the things that appear when one is insane on the basis of the things that happen when one is of sound mind, or those in sleep on the basis of those in wakefulness, or those in childhood on the basis of those in old age.

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