10 Facts About Arcesilaus


Arcesilaus was the founder of Academic Skepticism and what is variously called the Second or Middle or New Academy — the phase of the Platonic Academy in which it embraced philosophical skepticism.

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Arcesilaus succeeded Crates of Athens as the sixth scholarch of the Academy around 264 BC.

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Arcesilaus did not preserve his thoughts in writing, so his opinions can only be gleaned second-hand from what is preserved by later writers.

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Arcesilaus then studied philosophy, becoming a disciple first of Theophrastus and afterwards of Crantor.

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Arcesilaus attended the school of Pyrrho, whose philosophy he maintained, except in name.

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Arcesilaus subsequently became intimate with Polemo and Crates of Athens, who made Arcesilaus his successor as scholarch of the Platonic Academy.

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Arcesilaus is known to have been much respected by the Athenians.

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Arcesilaus's opinions were imperfectly known to his contemporaries, and can now only be gathered from the statements of later writers.

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Eusebius, probably quoting Aristocles of Messene, reported that Arcesilaus studied in Pyrrho's school and adhered, except in name, to Pyrrhonism.

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Arcesilaus remained Pyrrhonist in his rejection of everything, except in name.

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