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PYRRHO (/ˈpɪroʊ/ ; Greek : Πύρρων Pyrrōn, c. 360 BC – c. 270 BC), was a Greek philosopher of Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
and is credited as being the first Greek skeptic philosopher.

CONTENTS

* 1 Life * 2 Philosophy * 3 Indian influences on Pyrrho
Pyrrho
* 4 See also * 5 Notes * 6 References * 7 External links

LIFE

Pyrrho
Pyrrho
was from Elis
Elis
, on the Ionian Sea
Ionian Sea
. Diogenes Laërtius
Diogenes Laërtius
, quoting from Apollodorus of Athens , says that Pyrrho
Pyrrho
was at first a painter, and that pictures by him were exhibited in the gymnasium at Elis. Later he was diverted to philosophy by the works of Democritus
Democritus
, and according to Diogenes Laertius became acquainted with the Megarian dialectic through Bryson , pupil of Stilpo
Stilpo
.

Diogenes reports further that Pyrrho, along with Anaxarchus , travelled with Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
on his exploration of the East, 'so that he even went as far as the Gymnosophists
Gymnosophists
in India
India
and the Magi
Magi
' in Persia . This exposure to Eastern philosophy
Eastern philosophy
seems to have inspired him to adopt a life of solitude; returning to Elis, he lived in poor circumstances, but was highly honored by the Elians and also by the Athenians, who conferred upon him the rights of citizenship.

Pyrrho
Pyrrho
wrote nothing. His doctrines were recorded in the writings of his pupil Timon of Phlius
Timon of Phlius
. Unfortunately these works are mostly lost. Today Pyrrho's ideas are known mainly through the book Outlines of Pyrrhonism written by Sextus Empiricus .

PHILOSOPHY

Pyrrho
Pyrrho
is renowned for creating the first formal approach to skepticism in Western Philosophy
Western Philosophy
: Pyrrhonism .

A summary of Pyrrho's philosophy was preserved by Eusebius
Eusebius
, quoting Aristocles , quoting Timon , in what is known as the "Aristocles passage."

"Whoever wants to live well (eudaimonia ) must consider these three questions: First, how are pragmata (ethical matters, affairs, topics) by nature? Secondly, what attitude should we adopt towards them? Thirdly, what will be the outcome for those who have this attitude?" Pyrrho's answer is that "As for pragmata they are all adiaphora (undifferentiated by a logical differentia), astathmēta (unstable, unbalanced, not measurable), and anepikrita (unjudged, unfixed, undecidable). Therefore, neither our sense-perceptions nor our doxai (views, theories, beliefs) tell us the truth or lie; so we certainly should not rely on them. Rather, we should be adoxastous (without views), aklineis (uninclined toward this side or that), and akradantous (unwavering in our refusal to choose), saying about every single one that it no more is than it is not or it both is and is not or it neither is nor is not.

The main principle of Pyrrho's thought is expressed by the word acatalepsia , which connotes the ability to withhold assent from doctrines regarding the truth of things in their own nature ; against every statement its contradiction may be advanced with equal justification.

Pyrrhonians (or Pyrrhonism) can be subdivided into those who are ephectic (a "suspension of judgment"), zetetic ("engaged in seeking"), or aporetic ("engaged in refutation").

INDIAN INFLUENCES ON PYRRHO

Diogenes Laertius' biography of Pyrrho
Pyrrho
reports that Pyrrho
Pyrrho
traveled with Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
's army to India
India
and based his philosophy on what he learned there:

...he even went as far as the Gymnosophists, in India, and the Magi. Owing to which circumstance, he seems to have taken a noble line in philosophy, introducing the doctrine of incomprehensibility, and of the necessity of suspending one's judgment....

The sources and the extent of the Indian influences on Pyrrho's philosophy, however, are disputed. Elements of scepticism were already present in Greek philosophy, particularly in the Democritean tradition in which Pyrrho
Pyrrho
had studied prior to visiting India. Pyrrhonism was a logical extension of these, requiring no exogenous influences. Richard Bett heavily discounts any substantive Indian influences on Pyrrho, arguing that on the basis of testimony of Onesicritus
Onesicritus
regarding how difficult it was to converse with the gymnosophists, as it required three translators, none of whom understood any philosophy, that it is highly improbable that Pyrrho
Pyrrho
could have been substantively influenced by any of the Indian philosophers.

According to Christopher I. Beckwith 's analysis of the Aristocles Passage, adiaphora, astathmēta, and anepikrita are strikingly similar to the Buddhist Three marks of existence
Three marks of existence
, indicating that Pyrrho's teaching is based on Buddhism. Beckwith disputes Bett's argument about the translators, as the other reports of using translators in India, involving Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
and Nearchus
Nearchus
, say they needed only one interpreter, and Onesicritus
Onesicritus
was criticized by other writers in antiquity for exaggerating. Besides, Pyrrho
Pyrrho
spent about 18 months in India, which is long enough to learn a foreign language.

It has been hypothesized that the gymnosophists were Jains , or Ajnanins , and that these are likely influences on Pyrrho.

SEE ALSO

* Ajñana * Callisthenes * Greco-Buddhism
Greco-Buddhism
* Nausiphanes

NOTES

* ^ Beckwith, Christopher I. (2015). Greek Buddha: Pyrrho\'s Encounter with Early Buddhism in Central Asia (PDF). Princeton University Press . pp. 22–23. ISBN 9781400866328 . * ^ Pulleyn, William (1830). The Etymological Compendium, Or, Portfolio of Origins and Inventions. T. Tegg. p. 353. * ^ "The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers". Peithô's Web. Retrieved March 23, 2016. * ^ Richard Bett, Pyrrho, His Antecedents and His Legacy, 2000, p177-8. * ^ Beckwith, Christopher I. (2015). Greek Buddha: Pyrrho\'s Encounter with Early Buddhism in Central Asia (PDF). Princeton University Press . p. 28. ISBN 9781400866328 . * ^ Beckwith, Christopher I. (2015). Greek Buddha: Pyrrho's Encounter with Early Buddhism in Central Asia. Princeton University Press . p. 221. ISBN 9781400866328 . * ^ Barua 1921 , p. 299. * ^ Jayatilleke 1963 , pp. 129-130. * ^ Flintoff 1980 .

REFERENCES

* This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). " Pyrrho
Pyrrho
of Elis". Encyclopædia Britannica . 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 696. * Algra, K., Barnes, J., Mansfeld, J. and Schofield, M. (eds.), The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. * Annas, Julia and Barnes, Jonathan, The Modes of Scepticism: Ancient Texts and Modern Interpretations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. * Barua, Benimadhab (1921). A History of Pre-Buddhistic Indian Philosophy (1st ed.). London: University of Calcutta. p. 468. * Beckwith, Christopher I., Greek Buddha. Pyrrho's Encounter with Early Buddhism in Central Asia, Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford, 2015. * Bett, Richard, "Aristocles on Timon on Pyrrho: The Text, Its Logic and its Credibility" Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 12, (1994): 137-181. * Bett, Richard, "What did Pyrrho
Pyrrho
Think about the Nature of the Divine and the Good?" Phronesis 39, (1994): 303-337. * Bett, Richard, Pyrrho, His Antecedents, and His Legacy, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. * Brunschwig, Jacques, "Introduction: the Beginnings of Hellenistic Epistemology" in Algra, Barnes, Mansfeld and Schofield (eds.), The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999, 229-259. * Burnyeat, Myles (ed.), The Skeptical Tradition, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983. * Burnyeat, Myles and Frede, Michael (eds.), The Original Sceptics: A Controversy, Indianapolis: Hackett, 1997. * Doomen, Jasper, "The Problems of Scepticism" Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 10 (2007): 36-52. * Flintoff, Everard (1980). " Pyrrho
Pyrrho
and India". Phronesis. Brill. 25 (1): 88–108. JSTOR
JSTOR
4182084 . * Halkias, Georgios, "The Self-immolation of Kalanos and other Luminous Encounters among Greeks and Indian Buddhists in the Hellenistic world". Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, Vol. VIII, 2015: 163-186. * Hankinson, R.J., The Sceptics, London: Routledge, 1995. * Jayatilleke, K.N. (1963). Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge (PDF) (1st ed.). London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. p. 524. * Kuzminski, Adrian, Pyrrhonism; How the Ancient Greeks Reinvented Buddhism, Lanham, Lexington Books, 2008. * Long, A.A., Hellenistic Philosophy: Stoics, Epicureans, Sceptics, University of California Press, 1986. * Long, A.A