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Antiochus of Ascalon

Page history last edited by kowens18@... 13 years, 3 months ago


- Live from 130-68 B.C.E.
- Academic philosopher
- Pupil of Philo of Larissa at the Academy in Athens
- Diverged from skepticism of Philo and predecessors
- Teacher of Cicero
- Wanted to revive Academic Skepticism into a philosophical system

- Foundation of three schools: Platonism, Peripateticism, and Stoicism.
- With him began Middle Platonism


    Antiochus was born in the second century B.C.E in Ascalon.  He moved to Athens during the time when it was still the center of the philosophical world, becoming a member of the Academy founded by Plato in the fourth century B.C.E.. His membership within the Academy dates around 110 B.C.E. when Philo of Larissa the head of scholarchate.  After a number of years as a student of Philo, Antiochus broke away from the Academy. According to Cicero, Antiochus left the Academy because of its skepticism and became a dogmatist.  Following Philo, Antiochus led the Academy back to a form of dogmatism, claiming that the Stoics more accurately understood Plato’s academic and philosophical outlook (Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).  
Dogmatism and Academic Skepticism

    Academic skepticism arose out of the debate about the nature and possibility of knowledge between the Academy and the Stoa which had been inaugurated by Arcesilaus. The Academy's method of argument was dialectical. Their model was derived from Socrates, as depicted in Plato's Socratic dialogues. By arguing in this way, the Academics hoped to enhance both their understanding and their opponents' understanding of the issues, hoping to progress towards the discovery of the truth. The difficulties that the Academics uncovered in this way were meant to be internal to their interlocutors' position, and, in drawing them out, the Academics did not necessarily commit themselves to a position of their own.*

    Stoic epistemology attempts to show how it is possible for human beings to attain wisdom, which the Stoics take to be a condition entirely free of opinion. For this to be possible, there must be a criterion of truth, or a cognitive impression, which they define as an impression acting in accordance with what is and could not be from what is not.  These cognitive impressions are dogmatic.  By confining assent to cognitive impressions, it is possible to avoid error. *

    These two doctrines make up the skeptical Academic position. The Stoics, followed by Antiochus in his dogmatic phase, argued that this position is self-refuting since to adopt a position is to assent to its component doctrines and assent is impossible since the Academics admit to not committing to a position.  Antiochus and the Stoics also argued  that the skepticism included within the Academics' arguments was a practical impossibility since action is impossible without assent and assent is possible only for those who commit to a position. *

     Antiochus seems to have followed the Stoics, who produced a substantial literature defending their position and attacking the Academy's probabilistic alternative, but also added some elements of his own to the argument. He defended the veracity of the senses. He seems to have argued that in order to possess a concept of the truth we must indisputably apprehend some truths in a way that is possible only if there are cognitive impressions. He argues that probable impressions are a wholly inadequate substitute for cognitive impressions, so that by abolishing the cognitive impression, the Academics deprive human beings of a basis for action. He argues that, in maintaining the skeptical position, the Academics must take themselves to know at least one thing; that nothing can be known. *




Important Terms:


Ascalon-  An ancient city of southwest Palestine on the Mediterranean Sea  Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/ashkelon#ixzz1E0fV2mr4



 The Academy- The designation academy, as a school of philosophy, is usually applied not to Plato’s immediate circle but to his successors down to the Roman Cicero’s time (106–43 bc). Legally, the school was a corporate body organized for worship of the Muses, the scholarch (or headmaster) being elected for life by a majority vote of the members. Most scholars infer, mainly from Plato’s writings, that instruction originally included mathematics, dialectics, natural science, and preparation for statesmanship. The Academy continued until ad 529, when the emperor Justinian closed it, together with the other pagan schools. (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/2615/Academy)

Dogmatism- a method of thinking by which certain propositions are turned into rigid conclusions that are applied without regard for the concrete conditions of life. Dogmatism interprets all truths as absolutes. Unlike dogmatism, dialectics includes in the concept of truth not only the aspect of absoluteness but also that of relativity, and it demands the enrichment and development of all truths and a concrete approach to their practical application (http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Dogmatism)

Academic Skepticism- both a generalized sense of doubt and disbelief as expressed in everyday language and an identifiable school of thought in the history of ideas. In its most general sense it refers to uncertainty, doubt, disbelief, suspension of judgment, and rejection of knowledge. It is characterized by its opposition to dogmatism, which claims to know reality and the truth.
Read more: Skepticism - Academic Skepticism, Pyrrhonism, Early Reception, Reception In And Since The Enlightenment, Skepticism In Medicine And Science http://science.jrank.org/pages/8081/Skepticism.html#ixzz1E0iDgHQA


Dialectic- discussion and reasoning by dialogue as a method of intellectual investigation; specifically : the Socratic techniques of exposing false beliefs and eliciting truth  (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dialectic)

Cognitive Impression- refer to ‘stoics’

Stoics- http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/stoicism/





*- Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu


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