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Chapter 6 - Dialectic in the Hellenistic Academy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 October 2018

Thomas Bénatouïl
Affiliation:
Université de Lille
Katerina Ierodiakonou
Affiliation:
Université de Genève
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Summary

The chapter investigates the nature, function and extent of dialectic and dialectical arguments within the Hellenistic Academy, with special focus on Arcesilaus and Carneades. Section 6.1 reconstructs Arcesilaus’ and Carneades’ attitudes towards what they, and their contemporaries, called ‘διαλεκτική’. Section 6.2 examines some key ancient testimonies on their philosophical method, and ask whether, and in what sense exactly, it should be characterized as ‘dialectical’. Section 6.3 analyzes the structure of Arcesilaus’ and Carneades’ ‘core argument’ for suspension of judgement, and surveys a number of examples of Academic arguments, asking in what sense, if any, all these arguments were ‘dialectical’. Finally, Section 6.4 asks whether any exegetical and logical space is left to interpret the philosophy of Arcesilaus and Carneades as an exercise in ‘pure dialectic’, as argued by Pierre Couissin in his influential article on ‘The Stoicism of the New Academy’.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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