It is commonly agreed that a clarification of Plutarch's attitude towards scepticism is useful to better assess the meaning of his Platonist stance. But which is his attitude is far from clear and scholars widely diverge, ranging from the view that Plutarch was not interested at all in scepticism to the hypothesis that he might have had a sceptical phase or even that his philosophy as a whole was sceptic. In this paper it is argued that a solution can be found if Plutarch's interpretation of the Hellenistic Academy is correctly reconstructed; to do so the difference with Pyrrhonism must be taken into consideration too. For Plutarch claims that Pyrrhonism is nothing but the result of an empiricist ontology and epistemology, whereas what distinguishes Academy scepticism is an anti-empiricist stance. More precisely, an analysis of the treatise Against Colotes shows that the Academic polemics against Epicurean empiricism involves the acknowledgment of the dualism between the sensible and the intelligible which is distinctive of the whole Platonist philosophy. If one considers only the senses and the sensible dimension life would be impossible; but the fact itself that we live shows, according to Plutarch's interpretation of Arcesilaus, that something else, that is the intelligible, exists. By exploiting the so-called apraxia argument and by interpreting Arcesilaus' philosophy against the background of dualism, Plutarch can therefore claim that also the Hellenistic Academics can be regarded as loyal heirs of Plato.

Plutarch on the Difference between the Pyrrhonists and the Academics / M. Bonazzi. - In: OXFORD STUDIES IN ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY. - ISSN 0265-7651. - 43(2012), pp. 271-298.

Plutarch on the Difference between the Pyrrhonists and the Academics

M. Bonazzi
Primo
2012

Abstract

It is commonly agreed that a clarification of Plutarch's attitude towards scepticism is useful to better assess the meaning of his Platonist stance. But which is his attitude is far from clear and scholars widely diverge, ranging from the view that Plutarch was not interested at all in scepticism to the hypothesis that he might have had a sceptical phase or even that his philosophy as a whole was sceptic. In this paper it is argued that a solution can be found if Plutarch's interpretation of the Hellenistic Academy is correctly reconstructed; to do so the difference with Pyrrhonism must be taken into consideration too. For Plutarch claims that Pyrrhonism is nothing but the result of an empiricist ontology and epistemology, whereas what distinguishes Academy scepticism is an anti-empiricist stance. More precisely, an analysis of the treatise Against Colotes shows that the Academic polemics against Epicurean empiricism involves the acknowledgment of the dualism between the sensible and the intelligible which is distinctive of the whole Platonist philosophy. If one considers only the senses and the sensible dimension life would be impossible; but the fact itself that we live shows, according to Plutarch's interpretation of Arcesilaus, that something else, that is the intelligible, exists. By exploiting the so-called apraxia argument and by interpreting Arcesilaus' philosophy against the background of dualism, Plutarch can therefore claim that also the Hellenistic Academics can be regarded as loyal heirs of Plato.
Plutarch of Chaeronea ; Platonism ; scepticism ; Pyrrhonism ; Epicureanism ; Greek empiricism ; ancient interpretations of Plato ; Arcesilaus ; Plutarch' polemics against Epicureanism ; Platonist metaphysics ; apraxia argument ; suspension of judgment
Settore M-FIL/07 - Storia della Filosofia Antica
24-gen-2013
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/176289
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