Ancient scepticism and ancient religion

Julia Annas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


This paper considers an Epicurean challenge to the possibility of Sceptical inquiry (reminiscent of a famous paradox in Plato's Meno), and also explores Sextus' reply to that challenge. It suggests that Sextus makes the good point that one need not know, nor even believe, that p, in order to inquire whether p is so. However, it is less clear whether one can inquire if one lacks all beliefs; yet the Sceptics are sometimes thought to disavow all beliefs. The paper also discusses the vexed notion of Epicurean prolepses, and evaluates Sextus' argument for the claim that it is the Epicureans who are not well placed to inquire, given their epistemological commitments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEpisteme, etc.
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in Honour of Jonathan Barnes
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191738036
ISBN (Print)9780199696482
StatePublished - May 24 2012


  • Epicurean prolepses
  • Epicurus
  • Inquiry
  • Paradox of inquiry
  • Scepticism
  • Sextus Empiricus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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