Pyrrho, his Antecedents, and his Legacy

Pyrrho, his Antecedents, and his Legacy

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Richard Bett presents a ground-breaking study of Pyrrho of Elis, who lived in the late fourth and early third centuries BC and is the supposed originator of Greek scepticism. In the absence of surviving works by Pyrrho, scholars have tended to treat his thought as essentially the same as the long subsequent sceptical tradition which styled itself 'Pyrrhonism'. Bett argues, on the contrary, that Pyrrho's philosophy was significantly different from this later
tradition, and offers the first detailed account of that philosophy in this light. Bett considers why Pyrrho was adopted as the figurehead for that tradition: his answer suggests that we should distinguish two phases within Pyrrhonism, of which the initial phase is much closer to Pyrrho's own thought than is
the better-known later phase. Bett also investigates the origins and antecedents of Pyrrho's ideas; in particular, Plato is singled out as an important inspiration. The result is the first comprehensive picture of this key figure in the development of philosophy. The new claims that Bett puts forward have major implications for the history and interpretation of ancient Greek thought.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 276 pages
  • 163 x 242 x 20mm | 559g
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 0198250657
  • 9780198250654

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. Pyrrho the Non-Sceptic ; 2. Putting it into Practice ; 3. Looking Backwards ; 4. Looking Forwards ; References ; Index of Names ; Index Locorum ; Index of Subjects
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Review quote

An important addition to the study of ancient skepticism ... Rarely are philosophical acumen and scholarly care married as well as they are in this book. * The Review of Metaphysics * The detail and quality of argument is high, and Bett is never less than scrupulous and clear in his exposition, so this book deserves to be read and thought about seriously
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About Richard Bett

Richard Bett is Professor of Philosophy at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. He was educated at Oxford and at the University of California, Berkeley, and he was Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas, Arlington, from 1986 to 1991.
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