Ancient Self-Refutation: The Logic and History of the Self-Refutation Argument from Democritus to Augustine

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 30, 2010 - History - 394 pages
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A 'self-refutation argument' is any argument which aims at showing that (and how) a certain thesis is self-refuting. This is the first book-length treatment of ancient self-refutation and provides a unified account of what is distinctive in the ancient approach to the self-refutation argument, on the basis of close philological, logical and historical analysis of a variety of sources. It examines the logic, force, and prospects of this original style of argumentation within the context of ancient philosophical debates, dispelling various misconceptions concerning its nature and purpose and elucidating some important differences which exist both within the ancient approach to self-refutation and between that approach, as a whole, and some modern counterparts of it. In providing a comprehensive account of ancient self-refutation, the book advances our understanding of influential and debated texts and arguments from philosophers like Democritus, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, the Stoics, the Academic sceptics, the Pyrrhonists and Augustine.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
truth falsehood and selfrefutation
11
Aristotle
68
Sextus Empiricus
95
Augustines turn
121
Interim conclusions
139
blame and reversal
145
pragmatic or ad hominem
160
how to prove ones existence
197
operational selfrefutations in Plato
205
scepticism and selfrefutation
249
looking backwards
308
References
362
Index of passages
380
General index
389
Copyright

Must we philosophise? Aristotles protreptic argument
187

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

Luca Castagnoli is Lecturer in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Durham. He is the author of several articles on a variety of themes in ancient philosophy.

Bibliographic information