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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Davenport, Randi Lise 2016. La mujer hermosa y la estatua de palo deEl mundo por de dentrode Francisco de Quevedo. Revue Romane, Vol. 51, Issue. 2, p. 307.

    Naumann, Friedrich Liebermann, Wolf-Lüder Fussel, Marian Filippi, Elena Landfester, Manfred Gáldy, Andrea M. Erben, Dietrich Weichenhan, Michael Hübner, Wolfgang Kirschner, Stefan Gruber, Joachim Kahle, Manuela Kullmann, Thomas Maissen, Thomas Ammann, Andreas Huber-Rebenich, Gerlinde Gastgeber, Christian Wolfzettel, Friedrich Hinz, Berthold Riedel, Volker Bezner, Frank Deflers, Isabelle Frank, Günter Ruby, Sigrid Jerke, Tina Hintzen, Beate Heesakkers, Christiaan Lambert Laureys, Marc Fuchs, Thorsten Huss, Bernhard Hoeges, Dirk Folkerts, Menso Maike, Rotzoll Leitgeb, Maria-Christine Leopold, Silke Kuhn-Chen, Barbara Pietschmann, Klaus Berns, Jörg Jochen Senger, Hans Gerhard Thurn, Nikolaus Reinhardt, Volker Bergemann, Lutz Kallendorf, Craig de Beer, Susanna Ciccolella, Federica Gummert, Peter Schirrmeister, Albert Kuhlmann, Peter Füssel, Marian Schuh, Maximilian Gáldy, Andrea Rotzoll, Maike Almási, Gábor Schenk, Peter Gareis, Iris Korenjak, Martin Auffarth, Christoph Wyss, Beatrice and Formisano, Marco 2014. Renaissance-Humanismus. p. 1.

  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: March 2010

14 - The rediscovery and posthumous influence of scepticism

from Part III - Beyond Antiquity


The history of the transmission, recovery and posthumous influence of ancient scepticism is a fascinating chapter in the history of ideas. An extraordinary collection of philosophical texts and some of the most challenging arguments ever devised were first lost, then only partly recovered philologically, and finally rediscovered conceptually, leaving Cicero and Sextus Empiricus as the main champions of Academic and Pyrrhonian scepticism respectively. This chapter outlines what we know about this shipwreck and what was later salvaged from it. It cannot provide many details, given its length. And, being a review, it does not try to solve the many puzzles and mysteries still unsolved. But, as an introduction, it does seek to give a general idea of what happened to ancient scepticism in the long span of time occurring between Augustine and Descartes. It covers a dozen centuries of Western philosophy, so a few generalizations, some schematism and a good degree of abstraction from specific information will be inevitable.


Our story begins with a dramatic loss of memory, roughly in the fourth century. By the time Augustine was writing Contra Academicos, Academic scepticism, transmitted in Latin, had become the brand of scepticism known to philosophers and theologians, at the expense of Pyrrhonism in general and Sextus Empiricus’ Greek texts in particular. There may still be some sporadic references to the Pyrrhonians at the beginning of the fifth century, but it is significant that the word academicus had become synonymous with sceptic, a linguistic use that will remain unchanged until the seventeenth century.

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The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Scepticism
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