The founder of the philosophical school of Pyrrhonism and regarded as the father of Scepticism, Pyrrho (365-275 BC) was born in Elis, Greece. He was a pupil of Anaxarchus of Abdera and in about 330 began to teach philosophy in his native Elis.

He traveled widely and learned many different philosophic viewpoints, each one claiming to be the truth. Because they could not all be right, Pyrrho decided to suspend judgment about truth, right, and wrong.

He quickly established a far-reaching reputation among Greek philosophers of his day and although he produced no written works, his ideas were preserved in the poems of Timon of Phlius.

He asserted that Man must not reply on sense perceptions and must not make judgments. That our senses tell us only how things appear, not what they really are. Custom and convention, he felt, were the only guides to what is just or unjust.

He believed that Man needed to be indifferent to the changes of fortune and bear his troubles with fortitude. His teachings, which enshrined the principle of doubt, directly influenced the ancient sceptics and, later, philosophical thought in seventeenth century Europe.

More by this Author

  • The Philosophy of Epicureanism

    Epicureanism, school of Greek philosophy founded by Epicurus in the late 4th century BC. Opposing the idealistic and skeptical mood of the times, Epicurus wanted to provide security in an unsure world. He grounded his...

  • What is Materialism?

    Materialism in philosophy is the view that everything that exists is either composed of matter or depends on matter for its existence. Materialism is generally contrasted with idealism, which holds that ideas are real...

  • The Philosophy of Stoicism

    Stoicism is an ancient philosophy stressing calm acceptance of fate and of God's universal plan. Stoicism was founded by Zeno of Citium in about 300 B.C. It gained followers during a period when Greek power was in...


No comments yet.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article