Sextus Empiricus, Against the Logicians

LCL 291: 24-25

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Sextus Empiricus

κατὰ πολὺ διενήνοχεν, ᾗ τὸ μὲν ἀπὸ ἀστείας γίνεται γνώμης, τὸ δὲ ψεύδεσθαι ἀπὸ πονηρᾶς.

46Ταῦτα καὶ περὶ τῆς ἀληθείας κατά τινας προαποδόντες, ἀκολούθως καὶ τὴν γενομένην τοῖς δογματικοῖς φιλοσόφοις διάστασιν περὶ τοῦ κριτηρίου σκοπῶμεν· ἀνάγκη γάρ ἐστι ζητοῦντας περὶ τῆς τούτου ὑπάρξεως συνεπιθεωρεῖν καὶ ὅ τι ἔστιν. 47πολλαὶ μὲν οὖν καὶ ποικίλαι διαιρέσεις φέρονται κατὰ τὸν τόπον1· ἀλλ᾿ ἡμῖν ἀπόχρη πρὸς τὸ παρὸν λέγειν ὅτι οἱ μὲν ἀνεῖλον τὸ κριτήριον οἱ δὲ ἀπέλιπον. καὶ τῶν ἀπολιπόντων τρεῖς αἱ ἀνωτάτω γεγόνασι στάσεις· οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἐν λόγῳ τοῦτο ἀπέλιπον, οἱ δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἀλόγοις ἐναργείαις,2 οἱ δὲ 48ἐν ἀμφοτέροις. καὶ δὴ ἀνεῖλον μὲν αὐτὸ Ξενοφάνης τε ὁ Κολοφώνιος καὶ Ξενιάδης ὁ Κορίνθιος καὶ Ἀνάχαρσις ὁ Σκύθης καὶ Πρωταγόρας καὶ Διονυσόδωρος, πρὸς δὲ τούτοις Γοργίας ὁ Λεοντῖνος καὶ Μητρόδωρος ὁ Χῖος καὶ Ἀνάξαρχος ὁ εὐδαιμονικὸς καὶ Μόνιμος ὁ κύων. [ἐν τούτοις δέ 49εἰσι καὶ οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς σκέψεως.]3 ὧν Ξενοφάνης μὲν κατά τινας εἰπὼν πάντα ἀκατάληπτα ἐπὶ ταύτης ἐστὶ τῆς φορᾶς, ἐν οἷς γράφει

καὶ τὸ μὲν οὖν σαφὲς οὔ τις ἀνὴρ ἴδεν, οὐδέ τις ἔσται εἰδὼς ἀμφὶ θεῶν τε καὶ ἅσσα λέγω περὶ πάντων εἰ γὰρ καὶ τὰ μάλιστα τύχοι τετελεσμένον εἰπών, αὐτὸς ὅμως οὐκ οἶδε, δόκος δ᾿ ἐπὶ πᾶσι τέτυκται.


Against the Logicians, I

that the former proceeds from a kindly intention but lying from an evil intention.

Having thus stated the views held by some concerning46 truth, let us next consider the divergent opinions which have arisen among the dogmatic philosophers concerning the criterion; for while we are investigating its existence we must also consider at the same time what, in its essence, it is. Now many47 divergent opinions of all sorts are propounded regarding this subject, but for the present it is sufficient for us to say that some have rejected, others retained the criterion. Of those who have retained it the main views are three: some have retained it in rational discourse, some in non-rational self-evident facts, some in both. Moreover, it has been rejected by48 Xenophanes of Colophon and Xeniades of Corinth and Anacharsis the Scythian and Protagoras and Dionysodorusa; and besides these, by Gorgias of Leontini and Metrodorus of Chios and Anaxarchus “the Eudaemonist” and Monimus the Cynic. [And amongst these are also the Sceptics.] And of these49 Xenophanes, according to some, took up this position by declaring all things to be non-apprehensible, as in this passageb:

Yet, with respect to the gods and what I declare about all things, No man has seen what is clear nor ever will any man know it. Nay, for e’en should he chance to affirm what is really existent, He himself knoweth it not; for all is swayed by opining.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.sextus_empiricus-against_logicians.1935