Pyrrhonism and the Law of Non-Contradiction

In D. E. Machuca (ed.), Pyrrhonism in Ancient, Modern, and Contemporary Philosophy. Springer (2011)
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The question of whether the Pyrrhonist adheres to certain logical principles, criteria of justification, and inference rules is of central importance for the study of Pyrrhonism. Its significance lies in that, whereas the Pyrrhonist describes his philosophical stance and argues against the Dogmatists by means of what may be considered a rational discourse, adherence to any such principles, criteria, and rules does not seem compatible with the radical character of his skepticism. Hence, if the Pyrrhonist does endorse them, one must conclude that he is inconsistent in his outlook. Despite its import, the question under consideration has not received, in the vast literature on Pyrrhonism of the past three decades, all the attention it deserves. In the present paper, I do not propose to provide a full examination of the Pyrrhonist’s attitude towards rationality, but to focus on the question of whether he endorses the law of non-contradiction (LNC). However, I will also briefly tackle the question of the Pyrrhonist’s outlook on both the canons of rational justification at work in the so-called Five Modes of Agrippa and the logical rules of inference. In addition, given that the LNC is deemed a fundamental principle of rationality, determining the Pyrrhonist’s attitude towards it will allow us to understand his general attitude towards rationality.
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