Workshop in Ancient Philosophy (Thursday - Week 1, TT23)

Workshop in Ancient Philosophy

This paper deals, once again, with the most troublesome, yet substantial source on Pyrrho, namely the Aristocles passage, to argue for a metaphysical reading of it. The proposed interpretation shows that Pyrrho held a radical metaphysical thesis about things, that is, that they are undifferentiated, unstable and indeterminate. It is also shown that Pyrrho’s radical views are not fully novel in ancient Greek philosophy, since a close parallelism between Pyrrho’s indeterminacy thesis and Protagoras’ Secret Doctrine (as this is illustrated in the Theaetetus) is drawn. This parallelism does not exclude the fact that Pyrrho’s views have also close analogies with similar doctrines held in early Buddhism (as recent studies have significantly shown). Instead of arguing for historical influence in way or another, I shall claim that in his encounter with Indian philosophy Pyrrho is likely to have been the actual witness of a similarity of views between Indian and Greek philosophy. These views are likely to have been first developed autonomously one from the other, to find later a common philosophical ground of interaction thanks to Pyrrho.

Chair: Alesia Preite

Workshop in Ancient Philosophy Convenors: Ursula Coope, Simon Shogry and Alexander Bown