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Sextus Empiricus

Sextus Empiricus (flourished at some time in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD), physician and philosopher, lived at Alexandria and at Athens.

In his medical work he belonged to the "methodical" school (see Asclepiades ), as a philosopher, he is the greatest of the later Greek Sceptics. He studied under one Herotodus, a doctor in Rome. His claim to eminence rests on the facts that he developed and formulated the doctrines of the older Sceptics, and that he handed down a full and, on the whole, an impartial, account of the members of his school. His works are two, the Pyrrhonian Hypotyposes (Πυῤῥώνειοι ὑποτύπωσεις) and Against the Mathematici (ed. Fabricius, Paris, 1621, and Bekker, Berlin, 1842).

Many of his sceptic arguments bear considerable resemblance to the arguments used by the 1st century CE philosopher Nagarjuna.

See Brochard, Les Sceptiques grecs (1887); Pappenheim, Lebensverholtnisse des Sextus Empiricus (Berlin, 1875); Jourdain, Sextus Empiricus (Paris, 1858); Patrick, Sextus Empiricus and the Greek Sceptics (1899).

This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopędia Britannica.

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45