Skeptics - Ancient Greek Philosophy
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Skeptic Philosophy

We don't know as much as we might like to about the activities of Plato's Academy after the death of Aristotle. But between about 300 and 100 B.C.- almost up to the birth of Jesus - the Academy became known as the center of the Skeptics.

The Skeptics were a group of philosophers whose main idea was that we can't really know anything for certain about the world around us, or about ourselves. Therefore, we can't really ever know what is right or wrong, either. Some of these ideas came from Socrates, who also thought that the wisest man is the one who realizes that he doesn't know anything, but Skepticism really began with Pyrrhon (about 365-270 B.C.) and was continued by Pyrrhon's student Timon (about 320-230 B.C.).

You might say, if you can't really know anything, why bother studying philosophy at all? But the Skeptics said the real point was not to worry about things they couldn't know or didn't have enough information to decide. Instead, people should relax and let go. If you couldn't know, then there wasn't any point in worrying about it. You should leave it in the hands of the gods.

Some people think that this Skeptic attitude might have been influenced by Indian philosophy. This is certainly possible, because Alexander the Great went to India around this time, and we know that Alexander and his followers spoke to many Indian philosophers there. According to some Greek historians, Pyrrhon actually travelled to India with Alexander.

Pyrrhon himself did not write down any of his ideas, so we don't know as much about the Skeptics as we would like to. We do know that most people forgot about Skepticism after about 100 years, so it wasn't as successful a philosophy as Stoicism or Epicureanism.

Bibliography and further reading about Skeptic philosophy:

Stoics
Epicureans
Greek Philosophy
Roman Philosophy
Quatr.us home


Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Check out our new ebook: Short and Simple: Ancient Greek Myths! - just out! Twenty-five easy to read, illustrated stories, from Pandora to Medea, Icarus, and the Trojan Horse (you can read these online as samples). Get it this week for just $14.99, five dollars off the regular price of $19.99.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 26 June, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT