Pyrrho of Elis

(c. 365–275 BC)
The founder of Greek scepticism . Pyrrho was originally a painter, but followed Anaxarchus to Persia as part of the train of Alexander the Great. There tradition has it that he was influenced by the gymnosophists (perhaps the Jaina ) or magi ( Zoroastrians ); at any rate he returned to live a highly respected but poor life in his native city of Elis, with his sister, a midwife. He left no writings. It is clear that his way of life involved recognizing the vain pursuits and childish folly of humanity, but after that there are two divergent traditions. According to the one, repeated in Diogenes Laertius and followed by Hume, Pyrrhonism involved a superhuman refusal to accept the testimony of the senses, to the extent that Pyrrho needed constant protection from falling over precipices, refused to recognize Anaxarchus when the latter was stuck in a bog, etc. The other, more likely, tradition, accepted for instance by Montaigne, connects him with the mainstream of ancient scepticism, in resting content with the phenomena or appearance of things, with the morals and manners of the society one is in, and with avoiding all unnecessary speculation. It seems likely that Pyrrho himself was not a dialectician, and did not develop the later sceptical armoury used by the Academy against the Stoics . But he is credited with the fundamental sceptical rhythm of isosthenia, or the balancing of opposite opinions; epochē, or suspension of opinion; aphasia, or silence; and the goal of ataraxia, or tranquillity.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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  • Pyrrho — of Elis …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Pyrrho — Pyrrho, aus Elis, 376–288 v. Chr., Philosoph, war früher Maler u. ging als solcher mit Alexander dem Großen nach Indien, wurde dann Oberpriester in Elis u. erhielt das Bürgerrecht in Athen. Er selbst schrieb nie etwas. Seine Lehre: die Dinge… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Elis — Elis, or Eleia (Greek, Modern: Ήλιδα Ilida , Ancient: Polytonic|Ἦλις Ēlis , Doric: Polytonic|Ἆλις Alis , Elean : Polytonic|Ϝάλις Walis ) is an ancient district, that corresponds with the modern Elis Prefecture. It is in southern Greece on the… …   Wikipedia

  • Pyrrho — Pyrrho, griech. Philosoph, Stifter der ältern skeptischen Schule, geb. um 360 v. Chr. zu Elis, gest. um 270; nach ihm heißt der Skeptizismus auch Pyrrhonismus …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Pyrrho — Pyrrho, griech. Philosoph, geb. um 376 zu Elis, gest. 288 v. Chr., der Vater der älteren Skepsis, wohl kein Systematiker, sondern hauptsächlich darauf ausgehend, die Blößen der philosophischen Systeme durch scharfe Dialectik aufzudecken. Vergl.… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Pyrrho — Infobox Philosopher region = Western Philosophy era = Ancient philosophy color = #B0C4DE name = Pyrrho birth = ca. 360 BC, Elis (Greece) death = ca. 270 BC school tradition = Skepticism influences = Democritus influenced = Timon of Phlius,… …   Wikipedia

  • Elis — City of the Peloponnese of Greece, deserving immortal fame because, in honour of its native son Pyrrho, it passed a law exempting all philosophers from taxation …   Philosophy dictionary

  • PYRRHO —    the father of the Greek sceptics, born in Elis, a contemporary of Aristotle; his doctrine was, that as we cannot know things as they are, only as they seem to be, we must be content to suspend our judgment on such matters and maintain a… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Pyrrhon von Elis — Pyrrhon in stürmischer See, von Petrarcameister, 16. Jhd. Pyrrhon von Elis (altgriechisch Πύρρων, * um 360 v. Chr. in Elis; † um 270 v. Chr.) war ein antiker griechischer Philosoph und Stifter der älteren skeptischen Schule. Die nach ihm benannte …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pyrrhon d'Élis — Πύρρων Pyrrhon d Élis (en grec ancien Πύρρων / Pýrrhôn) (360–275 av. J. C.) est un philosophe sceptique originaire d Élis, ville provinciale du nord ouest du Péloponnèse. Son activité philosophique se situe à Athènes vers …   Wikipédia en Français

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