ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf


75. Reappearance of Sceptlcism. -- The eclecticism which, in the New Academy, had taken the place of scepticism early in the first century B.C., contained within it the very germs of the theory it wished to supersede. The instability of the mind that goes foraging into all systems, is an index of the doubt that troubles it. The new converts to scepticism were, for the most part, medical doctors. In the name of medical empiricism, they confined themselves to the observation of phenomena, and attaching no importance to speculative knowledge they contented themselves in the domain of practical maxims. Scepticism was but one step farther.

The scepticism of this period claims to follow Pyrrho, but it owes much more to Arcesilaus and Carneades. Its influence was neither great nor lasting. Through exhaustion of thought there arose a thirst for dogmatism -- indeed, it may be said that Neo-Pyrrhonic scepticism was an approach towards the ideas that inspired Neo-Platonism.

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