Sextus Empiricus, Against the Physicists

LCL 311: 2-3

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Sextus Empiricus

ΠΡΟΣ ΦΥΣΙΚΟΥΣ

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1Τὴν μὲν αἰτίαν δι᾿ ἣν μετὰ τὸ λογικὸν τῆς φιλοσοφίας μέρος εἰς ἐπίσκεψιν ἡμῖν ἄγεται τὸ φυσικόν, καίπερ χρόνῳ τῶν ἄλλων προήκειν δοκοῦν, ἀνώτερον ὑπεμνήσαμεν· τὸν αὐτὸν δὲ τρόπον τῆς ζητήσεως πάλιν ἐνταῦθα συστησόμεθα, οὐκ ἐμβραδύνοντες τοῖς κατὰ μέρος, ὁποῖόν τι πεποιήκασιν οἱ περὶ τὸν Κλειτόμαχον καὶ ὁ λοιπὸς τῶν Ἀκαδημαϊκῶν χορός (εἰς ἀλλοτρίαν γὰρ ὕλην ἐμβάντες καὶ ἐπὶ συγχωρήσει τῶν ἑτεροίως δογματιζομένων ποιούμενοι τοὺς λόγους ἀμέτρως ἐμήκυναν τὴν ἀντίρρησιν), ἀλλὰ τὰ κυριώτατα καὶ συνεκτικώτατα κινοῦντες, ἐν οἷς ἠπορημένα ἕξομεν καὶ τὰ λοιπά. 2καθάπερ γὰρ ἐν ταῖς πολιορκίαις οἱ τὸν θεμέλιον τοῦ τείχους ὑπορύξαντες τούτῳ συγκαταφερομένους ἔχουσι τοὺς πύργους, οὕτως οἱ ἐν ταῖς φιλοσόφοις σκέψεσι τὰς πρώτας τῶν πραγμάτων ὑποθέσεις χειρωσάμενοι δυνάμει τὴν παντὸς πράγματος 3κατάληψιν ἠθετήκασιν. οὐκ ἀπιθάνως γοῦν τινὲς ἀπεικάζουσι τοὺς μὲν εἰς τὰς κατὰ μέρος ζητήσεις συγκαταβαίνοντας τοῖς ἐκ ποδὸς τὸ

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Against The Physicists, I

Against The Physicists

Book I

We have explained abovea the reason why the1 physical division of philosophy is being examined by us after the logical, although in point of time it seems to precede all the other divisions; and with regard to it we shall pursue again the same method of inquiry, and not delay long on particular points as Cleitomachusb has done and the rest of the Academic troupe (for by plunging into alien subject matter and framing their arguments on the basis of assent to dogmatic assumptions not their own they have unduly prolonged their counter-statement); instead of this, we shall attack the most important and most comprehensive dogmas, as in the doubts cast on these we shall find the rest also included. For just as, in2 a siege, those who have undermined the foundation of a wall find that the towers tumble down along with it,c so too in philosophical investigations those who have routed the primary assumptions on which the theories are based have potentially abolished the apprehension of every particular theory. Thus it is3 not without plausibility that some people compare those who join in plunging into inquiries into particulars

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.sextus_empiricus-physicists.1936