Greek philosophers

Pyrrhon of Elis

Pyrrhon of Elis was a Greek philosopher. He was born in 360 BC (Elid) and died in 260 BC. He is considered the founder of Pyrrhonism, according to some sources even skepticism.

Pyrrhon of Elyda was originally a painter, but more is not known about his life. He was supposed to have been influenced by Democritus and Anaxarchus. It was with Anaxarchus that he visited India, where he drew inspiration for his philosophy. According to Diogenes Laertius, he accompanied King Alexander the Great on his expeditions. It is said that Pyrrhon was very calm and composed in all situations of life, as evidenced by numerous anecdotes. It was this calmness that was very inspiring to his pupils, among whom was the physician and philosopher Sextus Empiricus. Probably Epicurus was also here.

His works have not survived and so it is not known whether he wrote any. Pyrrhon's central idea is the uncertainty of all knowledge. And so it is said that a wise man has no choice but to reserve judgment in all things. It is the only way to achieve inner peace.

He always asked himself three basic questions:

  1. What is the nature of things?
  2. What is the nature of things?
  3. What does this attitude imply for us?