Academic SkepticsFundamentally, the Skeptics attempted to deny knowledge, including epistemology and metaphysics. Their view was adopted in modern times by David Hume
If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.Arcesilaus, the sixth head or scholarch of the Platonic Academy. Under him, the Academy returned to the Socratic method and engaged in negative dialectics that denied the possibility of knowledge (akatalêpsia). Arcesilaus realized that he could not say that he knows nothing without making a knowledge claim. This mitigated absolute skepticism. The Academic Skeptics refused to accept any philosophical arguments that claimed to justify knowledge. Whatever reasons are used to justify something must themselves be justified, leading to an infinite regress. The Skeptics recommended that their followers therefore suspend (epochê) all judgments. Most of his best known arguments were dialectical attacks on the Stoics. His major Stoic opponent was Chrysippus, whose philosophy of "assent" was more or less the opposite of Arcesilaus' epochê. Stoic epistemology was more empirical than the logical and rational approach of the Skeptics, which allowed them to generate several dialectical puzzles and paradoxes from the Stoic premises or first principles.
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