Epoché

Kieran Daly embarks on an exploration of supreme philosophical significance:

There are two common positions applied to Pyrrhonism that are frequently asserted throughout the literature, one conflatory and the other denigrative. The conflatory position is that Pyrrhonism is primarily psychological or practical in nature (Annas and Barnes 1985; Hankinson 1999; Perrin 2010; Machuca 2012; Trisokkas 2012). Whereas the denigrative position asserts that Pyrrhonism is impossible for people to practice and naturally unlivable (Johnson 1978; Burnyeat 1980; Vogt 2010; Comesaña 2012; Wieland 2012; Eichhorn 2014). The former position is often posited under the auspices of defending Pyrrhonism, while the latter operates obviously for the purpose of its dismissal. The present paper attempts to show that while each position is misguided, the former possibly does more dogmatic harm than the other, and the latter is extremely suggestive of the conclusion that Pyrrhonism has no-thing to do with life at all.

This initial precaution is a gateway of inestimable importance.

From this base camp, Urban Future is tempted to advance incautiously into the vast tracts opened by the closure of psychology, into an involvement with ἐποχή as the foundation of abstract ontology (the substantive unknown). Heidegger’s silence on Pyrrho only increases the temptation to assign ἐποχή primordial status among the ‘names of Being’ — as a term that precomprehends the ultimate potentialities of nihilism.

Milton is our guide to this “dark, unbottomed, infinite Abyss” or (as he calls ἐποχή) “the vast abrupt” — onto which unknowing opens as a door:

… Thus with the year
Seasons return; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer’s rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with a universal blank
Of nature’s works to me expung’d and ras’d,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.

— PL III 40-55

Lucid blindness is our only light (and the darkness is not ours at all).

2 thoughts on “Epoché

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