The purpose of this study was to explore philosophical skepticism from its origins in Greece to its resurgence in the European Renaissance, in particular in the work of Francisco Sánchez, the Hispanic medical doctor and thinker of the XVI and XVII centuries. In order to provide the background to Sánchez’ book, Quod nihil scitur (That nothing is known), which called in question any possibility of knowledge, an analysis of the various stages of skeptical thought was conducted. Special attention was paid to the work of three ancient philosophers: Pyrrho of Elis, the legendary founder of the skeptical school who left no written work behind, but whose life, as told mainly by Diogenes Laertius, was a model for his followers; Arcesilaus, who helped to steer Plato’s Academy towards skepticism during the period of that school that is known as the Middle Academy, and Carneades, who headed the so called New Academy. In the Middle Ages, skeptic doubt was displaced by dogmatic certainty, based mainly on the authority of Aristotle and the Church. With very few exceptions, such as those found in some texts by Henry of Ghent, dogmatism reigned during this period. This dissertation also deals with some characteristics of medieval dialectic. In this regard, it presents the translation of two important critical texts, one by Francesco Petrarca and the other by Juan Luis Vives, anticipating the criticism of Francisco Sánchez. This work also considers the role that two religious reformers, Girolamo Savonarola and Martin Luther, could have played in the revival of skepticism during their time. The last section of this study is devoted to Francisco Sánchez, and analyzes two of his works, Carmen de cometa anni M.D.LXXVII, and Quod nihil scitur. The latter was instrumental in the rediscovery of critical thinking, and was well known and highly appreciated, or defamed, in its time. It is the work that placed Sánchez in the history of Western thought.
|Commitee:||Costa, Marithelma, Schwartz, Lia|
|School:||City University of New York|
|Department:||Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/12, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Latin American literature, Philosophy|
|Keywords:||Duda, Escepticismo, European Renaissance, Greece, Philosophical skepticism, Portugal, Sanchez, Francisco|
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