Sextus Empiricus: Against the Ethicists

Paperback | July 15, 2000

EditorSextus EmpiricusbyRichard Bett

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About Sextus: Sextus Empiricus is one of the most important ancient philosophical writers after Plato and Aristotle. His writings are our main source for the doctrines and arguments of Scepticism. He probably lived in the second century AD. Eleven books of his writings have survived, covering logic, physics,ethics, and numerous more specialized fields. About Against the Ethicists: In this unjustly neglected and misunderstood work Sextus sets out a distinctive Sceptic position in ethics. He discusses the concepts good and bad, and puts forward the sceptical argument that nothing is either good or bad by nature or intrinsically or invariably, but only relatively to personsand/or to circumstances. He then argues that the sceptic is better off than the non-sceptic. In the latter part of the book, Sextus attacks the Stoic view that there is such a thing as a 'skill for life'. About this edition: This volume contains a translation of Against the Ethicists into clear modern English, together with an introduction and a detailed commentary. Those who have discussed this work in the past have tended to underestimate it, often regarding its main position as essentially the same as that ofSextus' better-known Outlines of Pyrrhonism. Richard Bett shows that Against the Ethicists represents a quite distinct and coherent philosophical outlook, associated with a phase of Scepticism earlier than Sextus himself, an outlook of which little other evidence survives.

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About Sextus: Sextus Empiricus is one of the most important ancient philosophical writers after Plato and Aristotle. His writings are our main source for the doctrines and arguments of Scepticism. He probably lived in the second century AD. Eleven books of his writings have survived, covering logic, physics,ethics, and numerous mor...

Richard Bett is Professor of Philosophy at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. He was educated at Oxford and at the University of California, Berkeley, and he was Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas, Arlington, from 1986 to 1991.

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Format:PaperbackPublished:July 15, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198250975

ISBN - 13:9780198250975

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Table of Contents

Introduction; Against the Ethicists: translation; Commentary; Appendices; Bibliography; Indexes.

Editorial Reviews

`Sextus' work Against the Ethicists has long suffered from a lack of consideration by students of Pyrrhonism. Richard Bett's meticulous translation and commentary sets out to rectify this scholarly discourtesy by a careful analysis of Sextus' arguments and an accurate and concise exposition ofhis opponents' doctrines. Bett's treatment of textual matters.. is a model of concision. His grasp and presentation of the mainly Stoic doctrines dealt with... appears unerring... every student of Pyrrhonism will want this commentary for its detailed criticisms of Sextus' arguments.'Charles Brittain, Ancient Philosophy 19, 1999