Skepticism of the new academy: a weak platonism

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In conclusion, both the destructive and constructive elements of Academic philosophy have played a crucial role for contemporary and later Skeptics in acknowledging and classifying Arcesilaus’ philosophy. To consider the Pyrrhonean and skeptical critique solely from a destructive or anti-Stoic viewpoint is insufficient to define Arcesilaus’ novel innovation. The ambiguity already present in ancient times when attempting to situate Arcesilaus somewhere between Pyrrhonism and Platonism, seems to suggest that both philosophical currents existed side by side, albeit with a fair share of difficulties and conflicts. Without doubt, Platonism served to provide the necessary dialectical resources for the Skeptics in their battle against the Stoics; resources that would never cease to be Platonic in nature and whose development would constitute a response to the fundamental problems of Hellenistic philosophy in its own right.


Prof. Titular de Filosofía

Dpto. Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades

Universidad de Córdoba

1 Sextus, P.H., I, 2.

2 See also Román Alcalá, R., El escepticismo antiguo: posibilidad del conocimiento y búsqueda de la felicidad, Córdoba , 1994, note 20, p. 28 for more on the distinction in Skepticism between “Pyrrhonean”, (follower of Pyrrho who has no awareness of belonging to a singular and precise philosophical movement) and “Pyrrhonic” (name that refers to all the philosophers, who as followers of Pyrrho acknowledge him as the founder of the movement and are aware of belonging to a unified and original skeptical tradition embraced by Aenesidemus).

3 “All the faces of Plato-wrote Robin-have their truth in each of the mirrors of tradition (Tous les visages de Platon ont leur vérité sur chacun des miroirs de la tradition)”, Robin, L., Platon, Paris, 1968 (2d), p. 239. Consequently, the change brought about by Arcesilaus in the Academic position was a return to the tradition of the School; it was a revival and not a revolution. For more on this see the article by A. Carlini “Alcuni dialoghi pseudoplatonici e l'accademia di Arcesilao”, Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, 1962, pp. 33-63, esp. pp. 60-63, or the article by Moreau. J., “Pyrrhonien, academique, Empirique?” La Revue Philosophique de Louvain, 77, (1979), pp. 303-344, esp. p. 326.

4 For a study of the problems of the text see the classic introduction by Reid, J., Tulli Ciceronis Academica, London, 1885, pp. 1-73; and the introduction by Pimentel, J., Cuestiones Académicas, México, 1980, esp. pp. VII-XI. (Herein Cicero, Acad.)

5 Cf. Cicero, Acad., I, IV, 13, Cicero claims to have heard this same thesis from Philo himself (quod coram etiam ex ipso audiebamus,).

6 In Acad., I, XII, 46, Cicero himself admits his perplexity regarding this question and with a certain amount of uncertainty denies any distinction between the Old and the New Academy. For him the distinction is unnecessary as nothing is affirmed in Plato’s writings, but all is argued and investigated and nothing is said to be certain. Immediately following, however, he appears to accept the distinction without argument: “But, none the less, let the one you expounded be called the Old, and this one the New: it stuck firmly to Arcesilaus’ philosophy right down to Carneades, who was its fourth head after Arcesilaus.”

7 See Cicero, Acad., I, XII, 46.

8 Cf. Cicero, Acad., II, V, 15. Here he compares Arcesilaus to Tiberius Graco who disrupted the political harmony of the republic in the same way that Arcesilaus picked apart the consolidated philosophy of Plato.

9 Cf., Sextus Empiricus, P.H., I, 220.

10 Cf. D.L., I, 14; see, IV, 28

11 All of these differences demonstrate the difficulties that already existed in ancient times to encompass the Skepticism of the Middle and New Academy of Arcesilaus and Carneades within the Platonic tradition. If this were already true for the contemporary philosophers of the late Academics, it is logical that we would encounter even greater difficulties. Whether we demonstrate that Academic Skepticism was a vital, methodological and pedagogical system or not, there is no question that it was indeed skeptical.

12 Cicero, Acad., I, XII, 46. Cicero firmly acknowledges the germinal ideas of Skepticism in the discussion and absence of definition in Platonic philosophy.

13 "and “Pyrrhonean” from the fact that Pyrrho appears to us tohave applied himself to Scepticism more thoroughly and more conspicuosly than his predecessors”, “Kai\ Purrw/neioj a)po\ tou= fai/nesqai h(mi=n to\n Pu/rrwna swmatikw/teron kai\ e)pifane/steron tw=n pro\ au)tou= proselhluqe/nai th?= ske/yei”, Sextus, P.H., I, 7.

14 Cf., Decleva Caizzi, F., "Prolegomeni ad una raccolta delle fonti relative a Pirrone di Elide", in Lo Scetticismo Antico, Atti del convegno organizzato dal Centro di Studio del Pensiero Antico del C.N.R. Roma, 5-8 Novembre, 1980, Napoli, 1981, p. 126. Pyrrho is presented as a member of a group of singular philosophers who create a new form of philosophy. Cf. Román Alcalá, R., Op. Cit., pp. 63-64.


 "Most do not admit that the Pyrrhonics are a school for they lack clarity [in their doctrine]: some say that it is a school in some ways and not in others; it appears, however, that it is a school. If we call school that which follows or appears to follow a manner of thinking according to phenomena, then it is reasonable to call the skeptics a school; but if by school we understand the adherence to coherently developed doctrines, then in no way can it be called a school as it is not founded on doctrine (translation mine)”; D.L., I, 20. For Diogenes, Skepticism is not a doctrine, but an attitude towards life. To turn it into a school would be to weaken its force as a theory. A school means doctrine, and thus dogma.


 Cf., Adorno, F., "Sesto Empirico: metodologia delle scienze e scetticismo como metodo", Lo Scetticismo antico, Atti del convegno organizzato dal Centro di Studio del Pensiero Antico del C.N.R. Roma, 5-8 Novembre, 1980, Napoli, 1981, p. 450, note 2.

17 “... which had brought Socrates to an admission of ignorance; and before him already, Democritus, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, and almost all the ancients, who said that nothing could be grasped or cognized or known”; Cicero, Acad., I, XII, 44. See also De Oratore, III, XVIII, 67 where he presents the same idea.

18 Furthermore, when Cicero names Pyrrho in Academicas, he associates him with Aristo of Chios a stoic and disciple of Zeno who is principally concerned with matters of ethics. Cf. Cicero, Acad., II, XLII, 130. This is not the only reference by Cicero to Pyrrho’s relationship with Aristo. See other passages, for example, De officiis, I, 2; De finibus, II, IV, 11 and 13; V, III, 8 and Tusc. disp., V, 30. This ethical attitude is clearly insufficient to classify Pyrrho as a skeptic as it does not treat the problem of the possibility or impossibility of knowledge.

19 See my book on Pyrrho (supra note 2) where I discuss the relevance of his life to his philosophy, pp. 183-201.

20 For a more detailed study of this question see the article by Decleva Caizzi, “Aenesidemus and the academy”, Classical Quarterly, 42, (1992), pp. 176-189. See also my article Román Alcalá, R., “La nueva academia: dogmatismo o skêpsis”, Pensamiento, 51 (1995), 455-465.

21 Gellius, Noctes Atticae., Praefatio, 4; For the problems related to the text and the ordering of chapters see: Aullu Gelle, Les Nuits Attiques, [texte établi et traduit par René Marache], Paris, Tome I 1967, tome II, 1978, introduction; also, The Attic Nights of Aulus Gellius, [trans. J.C. Rolfe], London, Cambridge, Massachusetts, vol. I,II,III, 1948-1952; and the Oxford critical edition; A. Gellii, Noctes Atticae, [Recognovit Brevique Adnotatione Critica Instruxit, P.K., Marshall], vols. I and II, Oxford, 1968.

22 The Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria wrote a commentary of the Pentateuch. At the end of the treatise De ebrietate, which constituted a part of the commentary, Philo reproduces the of Aenesidemus. The ten tropes of Skepticism are a systematic set of the most important arguments advanced by the ancient Pyrrhonics against the possibility of knowledge; arguments that compel us to suspend judgment. The list of ten tropes or “argument modes” was apparently produced by Aenesidemus, who was responsible for the revival of Pyrrhonism.


 Gellius, Noct. Att., XI, V.


 Favorinus was born in Arles, Provence between 80-50 AD and was distinguished for transmitting the doctrines of his contemporary philosophers, although he is illustrious more for his literary and historical erudition than for his philosophical significance. It is unlikely that Gellius modeled his work after Favorinus’ ten books on Pyrrhonic tropes. In spite of his reference to the work by Favorinus, "Super qua re Favorinus quoque subtilissime argutissimeque decem libros composuit, quos inscribit," we are inclined to think that Gellius used another work by Favorinus and refers excursus to the author’s best work, hence the epithets subtilissime argutissimeque, proof of this parenthetical reference. This theory is also supported by Dumont, J.P., Le Scepticisme et le Phénomène. Essai sur la signification et les origines du pyrrhonisme (Bibliothèque d'Histoire de la Philosophie), Paris, 1972, p. 159.


 In Outlines of Pyrrhonism, Sextus Empiricus distinguishes between three kinds of philosophy: dogmatic, academic and skeptic and clearly states that Academic Skepticism has features that differentiate it from Pyrrhonism, cf. Sextus P.H., I, 4.

26 This hypothesis is defended by Striker, G., "Skeptical Strategies" in Doubt and Dogmatism. Studies in Hellenistic Epistemology, Ed. Schofield, Burnyeat and Barnes, Oxford, 1980, p. 54, note 1.

27 Gellius, Noct. Att., XI, V.

28 Cf. My article supra note 20. Another account of this debate can be found in the article by J. Annas, “Platon le sceptique” Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, 2, (1990), pp. 267-291 and in the response by C. Lévy, “Platon, Arcésilas, Carnéade. Réponse à J. Annas”, Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, 2, (1990), pp. 293-306.

29 Doubtless, the term “skeptic” would have meaning for Arcesilaus, as C. Lévy rightfully states in “La nouvelle académie a-t-elle été antiplatonicienne?”, in Contre Platon, Tome I, Le platonisme dévoilé, Textes réunis par Dixsaut, M., Paris, 1993, pp. 140-141, just as the same term does not appear to have much meaning for Pyrrho. Aenesidemus was responsible for reconstructing his Pyrrhonic model (earlier I made the distinction between Pyrrhonic-the awareness of being immersed in a skeptical tradition-from Pyrrhonean- to follow Pyrrho ’s thought-, see Román Alcalá, R., El escepticismo antiguo, Op. cit, p. 28, note, 20) on the abderite-Pyrrhonean tradition, which is different from the Socratic-Platonic tradition. However, it does not mean that the use of the term “skeptic” as a suitable description-as I stated above-of an investigative method, which is also academic, is to isolate this philosophical thought from its historical context.

30 In order to clarify this question we must turn to one of Gellius’ fundamental texts that proposes the basic distinction between Academics and Pyrrhonics: “because the Academics do, as it were, “comprehend” the very fact that nothing can be comprehended, and, as it were, decide that nothing can be decided, while the Pyrronians assert that not even that can by any means be regarded as true, because nothing is regarded as true, Gellius, Noct. Att., XI, V. Sextus would use this same argument, cf. P.H., I, 226.

31 Cf. Augustine of Hipona, Confessions, VI, 11, 18 or Against the Academics, III, 20, 43. The notion that the dogmatic elements of Platonism were preserved in the Academy, revealed to only a select few, has been widely disputed; in my opinion successfully so by Levy, C., “Scepticisme et dogmatisme dans l'académie: l'ésotérisme d'Arcesilas”, Revue des Études Latines, 56, (1978), pp. 335-348.

32“non arbitrari se scire quod nesciat”, Cicero, Acad., I, 4, 16.

33 “So Arcesilaus was in the practice of denying that anything could be known (Itaque Arcesilas negabat esse quicquam quod sciri posset), not even the one thing Socrates had left for himself - the knowledge that he knew nothing: such was the extent of the obscurity in which everything lurked (sic omnia latere censebat in occulto), on his assessment, and there was nothing which could be discerned or understood. For these reasons, he said, no one should maintain or assert anything or give it the acceptance of assent”, Cicero, Acad., I, XII, 45. This position is also defended by Moreau, J. in “Pyrrhonien, Académique, Empirique?”, art. cit., pp. 311-313 and Robin, L. in Pyrrhon et le Scepticisme grec (Les Grands Philosophes), Paris, 1944, pp. 43-44.

34 Cf.Brochard, V., Les Sceptiques grecs, Paris, 1887, pp. 432; II ed. Paris, 1923; repr. 1932; repr. 1957; III ed. in accordance with the first, 1969, p. 9.

35 “He certainly seems to have admired Plato, and he had acquired his books”, D.L. IV, 32.

36 Cf. D.L., IV, 29-32. Although he studied mathematics with Autolycus in his native city, he soon moved to Athens.

37 Cf. Sextus, P.H., I, 220.

38 Plutarch, Adv. Col., 26

39 For more details about his life, compare the work by Von Arnim, H., s.v. “Arkesilaos von Pitane”, Realencyclopädie des klassischen Altertumswissenschaft (RE), eds. Wissowa, Kroll et al., Stuttgart, 1917, II, 1 (1895) coll. 1164-1168 and the book by Brochard, V., Les Sceptiques grecs, Op. cit., pp. 99-101.

40 This is not the place for a detailed discussion of the scope or value of Plato’s unwritten teachings. It is clear that Plato included passages and texts in his works on the impossibility of putting in writing all knowledge, or transmitting it to another person. For more on this see the monographic issue of the journal Méthexis, Vol. VI, 1993 or Román Alcalá, R., “¿Son los ágrapha dógmata las lecciones no escritas de Platón?”, Anales del Seminario de Historia de la Filosofía, (1999), 16, 85-108.

41 Luc Brisson is one of the staunchest defenders of this interpretation. He explicitly states the suppositions and consequences of opting for the first interpretation. Cf. “Présupposés et conséquences d'une interprétation ésotériste de Platon”, Méthesis, Vol. VI, 1993, pp. 11-35.

42 It is difficult to reconcile Plato’s writings and oral theory with the doctrine of principles espoused by Speusippus and Xenocrates. After Plato’s death, the history of the Academy is inexorably linked to the history of mathematics given the widely used concept of “number”, which some view as the development of the unwritten Platonic doctrine of the Priniciples of Oneness and Infinite Duality, while others view it as a subsequent Pythagorean interpretation of Plato’s dialogues, cf. Napolitano Valditara, L.M., “Riparlare di Platone. Ancora su scrittura, oralità e dialettica”, Méthesis, VII, (1994), pp. 5-25, esp. pp. 22-25.

43 Cf. Cherniss, H., L'enigma dell'Accademia antica, Firenze, 1974, pp. 71 and ff. under the supervision of Margherita Isnardi Parente, Zeller-Mondolfo, La Filosofia dei Greci. (Platone e l'Accademia antica), part II, vol. III/2, Firenze, 1974, pp. 861-877, thoroughly examines the true character of the Old Academy in an extensive footnote, emphasizing the change that came about as a result of the close community of fi/loi, which was open to the possibility of participating in political affairs as a means of transforming political life into a profoundly philosophical community with generically impostaciones genéricamente estetizantes que intitucionaliza de forma «cultual» la fórmula del primitivo entusiasmo de la e)leuqe/ra fili/a y que olvida los programas políticos de renovación.

44 Cf. Wilamowitz-Moellendorf, U., Platon. Sein Leben und seine Werke, 2 vols., Berlin, 1920, pp. 324-370 and Bickel, E., "Das Platonische Schriftenkorpus der Tetralogien und die Interpolation in Platontext", Rheinisches Museum für Philologie, 92, (1943), pp. 94-96.

45 Bickel, Ibid, p. 94, contests the arguments by Jachmann, G., Der Platontext, Gott. Nachr., 1941, 7, against the Academic edition of Plato’s work due to the interpolations that he believes occurred in the text. Jachman argues that the spurious writings in the corpus of the tetralogies discredit the textual quality of the Corpus writings. However, Bickel reasonably demonstrates that the interpolations which are not strictly Platonic are authentically Academic, and form a normal part of the tetracorpus tradition of the Alexandrines.

46 We are before a new literary genre, the dialogue. This new formula did not belong to Plato, but all Socratic philosophers who were attentive to the living word of their teacher, which, perfected by the active practice of the dialectic, was eventually transformed into a singular mi/mhma o ei)/dwlon that would give rise to a particular form of Socratic braxulogi/a discourse. This idea would prompt Isnardi Parente to defend the position that Plato’s dialogues are not merely abstract forms, but in fact, the best type of written discourse, particularly the “Discourse of Socrates”. See Isnardi Parente, M., “Platone e il discorso scritto”, Rivista di storia della filosofia, 3, (1991), pp. 451-453.

47 It is interesting to note what happened as a consequence of the changes and successions in the Academy. The diadoxaiªj provide us with insight into the Platonic Academy (D. L., I, 19; Sextus,.P.H. I, 220 and Eusebius, XIX, 4, 16) The successions are interrupted in the first century, prompting Glucker, J., Antiochus and the late Academy, (“Hypomnemata” Heft LVI), Göttingen, 1978 to assume that the Academy disappeared with Philo of Larissa, Cicero’s teacher (Tarrant, H., Scepticism or Platonism? The Philosophy of the Fourth Academy, Cambridge, London, New York, New Rochelle, Melbourne, Sydney, 1985) shares the same opinion). In spite of these successions, no one explains, although everyone assumes, that changes did, in fact, occur in the different Academies. No one says if this change was a result of modifications in philosophical orientation, institutional changes or both. Nothing is found regarding this question in commentaries by Sextus, Eusebius or Diogenes, leading us to believe that they knew nothing about the matter. In any case, the changes occurring in the Academy were most likely not a break with tradition but a continuation of it; the problem arises when justifying and evaluating these reforms.

48 Cf. D.L., IV, 28. A detailed study of Diogenes’ biography of Arcesilaus can be found in Dorandi, T., “Il quarto libro delle di Diogene Laerzio: l'Academia da Speusippo a Clitomaco”, in Austieg Und Niedergang der Römischen Welt, Band II. 36.5, Berlin, New York, 1992, pp. 3761-3792, esp. pp. 3777-3784.

49 D.L. , I, 14. Plato initiated the first (Early Academy). Arcesilaus introduced reforms that gave rise to the Middle Academy and finally Lacydes was responsible for the New Academy. When characterizing the different Academies, Sextus makes the distinction between 1) the Early Academy of Plato and his followers, 2) the Middle Academy of Arcesilaus and 3) the New Academy of Carneades and Clitomachus, cf. Sextus. P.H. I, 220. Sextus is well aware of the distinction between Platonic and Skeptic philosophy (Pyrrhonic Skepticism). It is therefore worth noting that he included Arcesilaus’ philosophic views within a broader analysis of the Academy, clearly emphasizing the Platonic origins of the originator of the Middle Academy.

50 Diogenes seems to attribute the creation of a dialectic method of pro and contra to Protagoras, D.L., IX, 51. Protagoras was the first philosopher to espouse the impossibility of the ontological debate as such when he makes the controversial statement that it is not possible to contradict: “ou)k e)/stin a)ntile/gein”, cf. my article “Logos and antilogos in Protagoras: The inexhaustibility of the truth field”, in the Seventh International Conference on Greek Philosophy, Samos, August 1995. This contrariety of arguments, these alterations of the logoi, re-emerged in Arcesilaus’ effective philosophical system.

51 “Socrates was in the habit of drawing forth the opinions of those with whom he was arguing, in order to state his own view as a response to their answers. This practice was not kept up by his successors; but Arcesilaus revived it (Qui mos cum a posterioribus non esset retentus, Arcesilas eum revocavit instituitque)”, Cicero, De Fin., II, I, 2. I would like to call attention to the abandonment and subsequent revival by Arcesilaus of a method (the Socratic-Platonic) that had been lost with Plato’s disciples. Again, Plato’s writings and the dialectical aspects of Plato’s dialogues are recuperated by Arcesilaus, bestowing them with a renewed prominence in the Academy, perhaps at the expense of the theory of principles founded on Plato’s oral teachings.

52 According to Diogenes, he was the first to suspend (e)pisxw\n) equal and opposed arguments (e)nantio/thtaj) in discourse, Cf. D.L., IV, 28. Accounts by Cicero, Sextus Empiricus and Plutarch have provided us with brief examples of Arcesilaus’ dialectical virtuosity cf. Cicero, Acad., II, 67, 76-78; Sextus, M., VII, 150-158 and Plutarch, Adv. Col., 1122 a-f.

53 A more moderate but identical opinion regarding his intentions can be found in Carlini, A., “Alcuni dialoghi pseudoplatonici e l'Accademia di Arcesilao”, Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, 1962, pp. 61-62, and Robin, L., Pyrrhon et le Scepticisme grec, Op. cit., pp. 42-48.

54 Robin, L., Op. cit., pp. 45 and ff., upholds the theory of “the spontaneous development of the germinal ideas of Skepticism”; seeds which were sterile in the Platonism of Arcesilaus’ time, but developed by him to turn a system of rigorously dogmatic doctrines into one which was both revolutionary and heretical. In his opinion, Pyrrhonism was responsible for the changes that transpired in the Academy. In the same way that Hume awakened Kant from his dogmatic dream state, Pyrhho awakened Arcesilaus. Mario Dal Pra, Lo scetticismo greco, Roma-Bari (2d), 1975, pp. 121-125 agrees and concludes that Pyrrhonism was secondary to Arcesialus’ philosophic position, which was primarily Platonic. Couissin, P., “L'origine et l'évolution de l’e)poxh/”, Revue des Études Grecques, 42, (1929), pp. 373-397 and Couissin, P., “Le stoïcisme de la nouvelle Académie”, Revue d'Histoire de la Philosophie, 3, (1929), pp. 241-276 has always firmly opposed the idea of a direct Pyrrhonean influence.

55 Anna Maria Ioppolo has attempted to demonstrate that suspension of judgment (e)poxh/) in Arcesilaus was not the result of a dialectical game, but a philosophical attitude, founded on the fact that Arcesilaus did not espouse any theory in the first person, cf. Ioppolo, A. M., Opinione e Scienza. Il dibattito tra Stoici e Accademici nel III e nel II secolo a. C., Napoli, 1986 and Ioppolo, A. M., “Dóxa ed epoché in Arcesilao”, Elenchos, 5, (1984), pp. 317-63, esp. 351-359.

56 In this same line, Burnyeat states that the problem with Skepticism is to maintain a position without upholding a dogma, “Can the Sceptic live his scepticism?” in Doubt and Dogmatism, Studies in Hellenistic Epistemology, Oxford, 1980, pp. 20-53, repr. in The Skeptical Tradition. Berkeley-Los Angeles-London, 1983.

57 Cf. Couissin, P., “Le stoïcisme de la nouvelle Académie”, art. cit., pp. 241-276, states that the Academics did not invent or teach any original theory of knowledge or action, but rather used the material of their adversaries for their contradictory discourses, see p. 242.

58 Cf. Krämer, H.J. Platonismus und Hellenistische Philosophie, Berlin New York 1971, pp. 5 13.

59 Cf. Ioppolo, A. M., Opinione e Scienza. Op. cit., pp. 9-11, esp. note 3 and “Doxa ed epoché in Arcesilao”, art. cit., see pp. 317-320.

60 Cf. Numenius in Eusebius Praep. Evang. XIV 5,11, Cicero, Varro, 35, Strabo, XIII, 67, Augustine of Hipona, Against the Academics, III 17, 38. Diogenes Laertius reports that Zeno was acquainted with Diodorus, cf. D.L., VII, 25 and like Arcesilaus, studied dialectics with him. See Sextus P.H., I, 234 and D.L., IV, 33 (Giannntoni, G., Socraticorum Reliquiae, II F, 3 and 4). Recently, J. Glucker, Antiochus and the Late Academy, Gottingen 1978, p. 33 note 78 has reoriented the role that Stoicism was given in Arcesilaus’ philosophy, defending the hypothesis that concepts such as katalhpto/n, eu)/logon, kato/rqwma were habitual in Arcesilaus and Zeno as they had studied under the same teachers.

61 With a fair amount of sarcasm, Timon says: “Having spoken thus, he [Arcesilaus] plunged into the crowd of bystanders. And they like chaffinches round an owl gawped at him, showing up his vanity because he pandered to the mob. There’s nothing big in this, you miserable fellow. Why do you give yourself airs like a fool?”, D.L., IV, 42, Diels, Poet., 9 B 34: S.H., 808. Timon also speaks out against the Academics in general, cf. D.L., IV, 67: Diels, Poet., 9 B 35: S.H., 809.

62 “pro/sqe Pla/twn, o)/piqen [de\] Pu/rrwn, me/ssoj Dio/dwroj”, D.L., IV, 33: Diels, Poet., 9 B 31-32: Decleva Caizzi, 32. Aristo’s verse paraphrases Homer’s description of the Chimera “pro/sqe le/wn, o)/piqen de\ dra/kwn, me/ssh de\ xi/maira”, Homer, Iliad, VI, 181, Cf. also Hesiod, Theogony, 323 and Lucretius, De rerum natura, V, 905. See also Sextus, P.H.,I, 234, who cites this verse. For Sextus’ interpretation of this news (not as an affirmation of Arcesilaus’ stoic teachings, nor the recognition of Arcesilaus as a Pyrrhonist) in an attempt to demonstrate the affinities between both philosophies, cf. Ioppolo, A. M., “Sesto Empirico e l'Accademia scettica”, Elenchos, 13, (1992), pp. 171-199, esp. pp. 183-185.

63 Sextus, P. H., I, 232. This question is discussed in greater depth in my book El escepticismo antiguo. Op. cit., pp. 94-100. Bailey, A., Sextus Empiricus and Pyrrhonean Scepticism, Oxford, 2002, p. 43 shares this same opinion and firmly rejects the idea that Arcesilaus was a proto-Platonist who espoused the suspension of judgment as a mere dialectical strategy without foundation.

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