Sextus Empiricus

Sextus Empiricus (Greek: Σέξτος Ἐμπειρικός; c. 160 – c. 210 AD) was a Greek Pyrrhonist philosopher and a physician. His philosophical works are the most complete surviving account of ancient Greek and Roman Pyrrhonism, and because of the arguments they contain against the other Hellenistic philosophies they are also a major source of information about those philosophies.

Sextus Empiricus
Bornc. 160 AD
Diedc. 210 (aged 4950) AD
possibly in Alexandria or Rome
Notable work
  • Outlines of Pyrrhonism
  • Against the Professors
  • Against the Dogmatists
EraHellenistic philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Empiric school
Main interests
Notable ideas
Criticism of Academic skepticism

In his medical work, as reflected by his name, tradition maintains that he belonged to the Empiric school in which Pyrrhonism was popular. However, at least twice in his writings, Sextus seems to place himself closer to the Methodic school.

Little is known about Sextus Empiricus. He likely lived in Alexandria, Rome, or Athens. The Suda, a 10th-century Byzantine encyclopedia, states that he was the same person as Sextus of Chaeronea,[2] but this identification is commonly doubted.[3]