Sextus Empiricus was a physician and philosopher in the 2nd century who wrote several works in Greek. He was a representative of Pyrrhonism. Sextus Empiricus is the last representative of the skeptical school tradition that is tangible to us. The writings preserved by him are, along with the Platonic and Aristotelian, the most extensive original sources of Greek philosophy. He left 14 books on skepticism, published under three titles.

Sextus Empiricus applied the basic assumption of "Pyrrhonian" skepticism, namely that certain knowledge is impossible, to virtually all fields of knowledge. Thus, his work represents a kind of "negative compendium" of the knowledge of his time: The author deals with a plethora of alleged findings in many fields, using a wide variety of arguments to deny that secured knowledge exists. In this way, many ancient theorems and doctrines are referred to; many of them are only preserved in Sextus Empiricus writings.


Sextus Empiricus (circa 160–circa 210 AD) was a Greek philosopher and physician who played a significant role in the development of skeptical philosophy. Not much is known about his life, but his writings have left an important mark on the history of ancient philosophy.

Sextus Empiricus is best known for his works on skepticism, particularly his collection of writings titled "Outlines of Pyrrhonism." In these writings, he presents a systematic exposition of Pyrrhonian skepticism, a philosophical school that questions the possibility of attaining certain knowledge and suspends judgment on matters that lack clear evidence.

His writings explore the principles of skepticism, emphasizing the suspension of belief in order to achieve a state of tranquility and mental peace. Sextus Empiricus outlines various modes of skepticism, highlighting the limitations of human perception, the relativity of beliefs, and the fallibility of reason.

Sextus Empiricus' works influenced later philosophers and played a crucial role in the history of skepticism and epistemology. His emphasis on the need for constant inquiry and the recognition of the limitations of human understanding continue to contribute to discussions about the nature of knowledge and the boundaries of human cognition.

Sextus Empiricus Texts, Tubes & Books

Outlines of Pyrrhonism: Sextus Empiricus

Outlines of Pyrrhonism

Through history, philosophers have sought to define, understand, and delineate concepts important to human well-being. One such concept is "knowledge". Many philosophers believed that absolute, certain knowledge is possible. Sextus Empiricus stands as an example of the "skeptic" school of thought whose members believed that knowledge was either unattainable or, if a genuine possibility, the conditions necessary to achieve it were next to impossible to satisfy.