Wednesday, January 28, 2015


If your impression’s cataleptic,
That will make Sextus quite dyspeptic.
But if what you’re seeing
Is not guaranteeing,
Then its advantage to the skeptic.

Note: The Stoic school (which met at the porch in the Athenian agora) began and flourished in the 3rd century BCE, under its first three leaders, Zeno of Citium, Cleanthes, and Chrysippus.  According to the Stoics, some of our (sense) impressions (in part because of their vividness and coherence) can be recognized as true reflections of a mind-independent reality, while others (e.g., incoherent or hazy dreamlike states) are not.  Impressions of the former kind Stoics called “cataleptic impressions”.  But Stoics were criticized by Skeptics (including Sextus Empiricus, 160-210), who thought that some impressions Stoics wanted to categorize as non-cataleptic (e.g., vivid and coherent hallucinations) were in fact indistinguishable from the cataleptic ones.  

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