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Augustine and Academic SkepticismA Philosophical Study$
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Blake D. Dutton

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452932

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452932.001.0001

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The Academic Denial of the Possibility of Knowledge

The Academic Denial of the Possibility of Knowledge

(p.145) Chapter 7 The Academic Denial of the Possibility of Knowledge
Augustine and Academic Skepticism

Blake D. Dutton

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Augustine of Hippo's efforts to vindicate the possibility of knowledge as he sought to discredit Academic skepticism. It first considers the debate that took place between the Academics and the Stoics over the possibility of knowledge, with particular emphasis on the Academics' attack on apprehension that the Stoics considered to be a necessary precursor to knowledge. It then provides an overview of the basics of Stoic epistemology before discussing the apprehensible impression by looking at an imaginary dialogue that Cicero constructs between Arcesilaus and Zeno. It also offers a simplified definition of apprehensible impression and goes on to analyze the attack on apprehension that the Academics launched against the Stoics, focusing on the “Indistinguishability Thesis.” Finally, it assesses the general consequences of the Academic attack against the Stoics.

Keywords:   possibility of knowledge, Augustine of Hippo, Academic skepticism, Academics, Stoics, apprehension, epistemology, apprehensible impression, Cicero, Indistinguishability Thesis

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