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Article Dans Une Revue Polis Année : 2021

Pyrrhonism and the Value of Law


The aim of this paper is to determine how a Pyrrhonian (as she/he is described by Sextus Empiricus) considers the Law and can respond to Aristocles’ objection that a Pyrrhonian is unable to obey laws. First (1), we analyze the function of the Law in the 10th Mode of Aenesidemus, in order to show laws as a dogmatic source of value. But (2) Sextus shows also that the Sceptic can live in a human society by following laws and customs, according to so-called ‘sceptical conformism’. In the light of Pyrrhonian Hypotyposes (Pyr.) 1.23–24 and Against the Mathematicians (Math.) 11.162–164, I discuss the validity of the label ‘conformism’ in order to understand the nature of the political effect of the suspension of judgement. (3) The real nature of the political position of Pyrrhonian Scepticism – that lack of commitment does not mean indifference to politics but rather a criticism of fanaticism and praise for political cautiousness – appears by comparison with the Scepticism of the New Academy.
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hal-03349260 , version 1 (30-01-2023)



Stéphane Marchand. Pyrrhonism and the Value of Law. Polis, 2021, 38 (3), pp.573-587. ⟨10.1163/20512996-12340351⟩. ⟨hal-03349260⟩
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