Philosophy06 Jan 2010 02:17 pm
Pyrrhonism, also known as Pyrrhonian skepticism, was an extreme school of skepticism named after Greek philosopher Pyrrho of Elis (c. 365-275 BC) and later founded by his follower Aenesidemus in the first century BC. The distinguishing quality of this philosophy is its rigorous application of skepticism to itself. Thus, ancient skeptics argued that not only could man not know anything for certain, but that he could not even know that he couldn’t know something for certain.
Skeptics also vigorously questioned whether appearance reflected reality, but (of course) neither denied nor claimed that it did so.
Thus, skepticism advocates for a total suspension of judgment, a perspective that would later experience something of a renaissance in the 17th century when the modern scientific method was born, and was later echoed in the works of the philosopher David Hume (1711-1776).
The skeptic reconciles contradiction by suspending judgment, and neither affirms nor denies that knowledge is possible. Skeptics posit that every assertion has an opposing counter argument and is therefore susceptible to doubt. Unsurprisingly, the application of philosophical skepticism acts as a better means of avoiding error than a method of discovering truth. The skeptic eschews belief or disbelief in anything, believing that suspending judgment leads to inner peace and balance with respect to what constitutes truth or falsehood.
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