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Belief and TruthA Skeptic Reading of Plato$
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Katja Maria Vogt

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199916818

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199916818.001.0001

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The Nature of Disagreement: Ancient Relativism and Skepticism

The Nature of Disagreement: Ancient Relativism and Skepticism

Chapter:
(p.97) 4 The Nature of Disagreement: Ancient Relativism and Skepticism
Source:
Belief and Truth
Author(s):

Katja Maria Vogt

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199916818.003.0005

Pyrrhonian skepticism has roots in metaphysical discussions relevant to relativism. The chapter reconstructs these discussions in Plato's Theaetetus, and explores how different versions of Pyrrhonian skepticism—the skepticism of Pyrrho, of Aenesidemus, and of Sextus Empiricus—compare to Protagorean relativism. The chapter begins with a sketch of why Plato interprets Protagoras' Measure Doctrine as global relativism rather than relativism about a particular domain. Pyrrhonian skepticism, it is argued, inherits this global scope. But Pyrrhonian responses to disagreement differ importantly from the responses Protagorean relativism envisages. Skepticism suggests that, when encountering disagreement, it is rational to step back from one's view and investigate, rather than simply hold on to one's view, as presumably the relativist does. The chapter defends skepticism's response to disagreement as construed by Sextus Empiricus as superior to earlier proposals.

Keywords:   relativism, skepticism, Pyrrhonism, Theaetetus, disagreement, Aenesidemus, Pyrrho, Sextus Empiricus

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