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Headword: Οὐδὲν μᾶλλον
Adler number: omicron,802
Translated headword: no more (this than that)
Vetting Status: high
The sceptics, that is the Pyrrhonists, when overturning all the dogmas of the schools, declare nothing dogmatically. They explain the assertions [of other thinkers] to display their unprecipitate attitude, just as they would be able to do if they accepted [them]. By means of no determined utterance[2] they show a situation of equilibrium; and similarly too, by means of the utterance "no more this than that" and the utterance "an argument can be opposed to every argument", and similar utterances. Now the expression "no more this than that" can also be said positively, insofar as some things are similar. For instance, "the pirate is no worse than the liar". But this is said negatively by the sceptics, not positively, such as one refutes someone by saying "Scylla no more has existed than has the Chimera". And the same expression "more than" [τὸ μᾶλλον ] sometimes is used comparatively, as when we say "honey is sweeter than grapes". And sometimes the expression "more than" is used both positively and negatively, as when we say "virtue benefits more than it harms". For we mean that virtue benefits and that it does not harm. However, the sceptics also deny the very utterance "no more this than that", for just as providence is no more than it is not, so too the expression "no more this than that" is no more that it is not. Therefore, the utterance ["no more this than that"] means to determine nothing and to refuse to give assent.[3] And the utterance "an argument can be opposed to every argument" also concludes with suspension of judgement [ἐποχή ].[4] For when the things are controversial but the arguments have equal force, ignorance of truth follows. There are ten modes, according to which the foundations [of something] were declared to contain some variation.[5]
Greek Original:
Οὐδὲν μᾶλλον: ὅτι οἱ Σκεπτικοί, τουτέστιν οἱ Πυρρώνειοι, τὰ τῶν αἱρέσεων δόγματα πάντα ἀνατρέποντες αὐτοὶ οὐδὲν ἀποφαίνονται δογματικῶς: προσφέρονται δὲ ἀποφάσεις εἰς μήνυσιν τῆς ἀπροπτωσίας, ὡς εἰ καὶ νεύσαντας τοῦτο ἐνεδέχετο δηλῶσαι. διὰ τῆς οὐδὲν ὁριζομένης φωνῆς τὸ τῆς ἀρεψίας πάθος δηλοῦται: ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ διὰ τῆς, οὐδὲν μᾶλλον, καὶ τῆς, παντὶ λόγῳ λόγος ἀντίκειται, καὶ ταῖς ὁμοίαις. λέγεται δὲ τὸ οὐδὲν μᾶλλον θετικῶς, ὡς ὁμοίων τινῶν ὄντων: οἷον, οὐθὲν μᾶλλον ὁ πειρατὴς κακός ἐστιν ἢ ὁ ψεύστης. ὑπὸ δὲ τῶν Σκεπτικῶν οὐ θετικῶς, ἀλλ' ἀναιρετικῶς λέγεται: ὡς ὑπὸ τοῦ ἀνασκευάζοντος καὶ λέγοντος, οὐ μᾶλλον ἡ Σκύλλα γέγονεν ἢ Χίμαιρα. αὐτὸ δὲ τὸ μᾶλλον ποτὲ μὲν συγκριτικῶς ἐκφέρεται: ὡς ὅταν φῶμεν, μᾶλλον τὸ μέλι γλυκὺ ἢ τὴν σταφίδα: ποτὲ δὲ θετικῶς καὶ ἀναιρετικῶς: ὡς ὅταν λέγωμεν, μᾶλλον ἡ ἀρετὴ ὠφελεῖ ἢ βλάπτει. σημαίνομεν γάρ, ὅτι ἡ ἀρετὴ ὠφελεῖ, βλάπτει δ' οὔ. ἀναιροῦσι δ' οἱ Σκεπτικοὶ καὶ αὐτὴν τὴν οὐδὲν μᾶλλον φωνήν: ὡς γάρ, οὐ μᾶλλόν ἐστι πρόνοια, ἢ οὐκ ἔστι: οὕτω καὶ τό, οὐδὲν μᾶλλον ἔστιν, ἢ οὐκ ἔστι. σημαίνει οὖν ἡ φωνὴ τὸ μηδὲν ὁρίζειν, ἀλλ' ἀπροσθετεῖν. ἡ δὲ παντὶ λόγῳ φωνὴ καὶ αὐτὴ συνάγει τὴν ἐποχήν. τῶν μὲν γὰρ πραγμάτων διαφωνούντων, τῶν δὲ λόγων ἰσοσθενούντων, ἀγνωσία τῆς ἀληθείας ἐπακολουθεῖ. εἰσὶ δέκα τρόποι, καθ' οὓς τὰ ὑπερκείμενα παραλλάττοντα ἀπεφαίνετο.
This entry reproduces (with some minor but representative changes) Diogenes Laertius 9.74-76. See also already mu 115.
[2] Diog.Laert. has "we determine nothing" (οὐδὲν ὁρίζομεν ).
[3] This assertion is attributed to the Pyrrhonist Timon of Phlius (320-230 BCE), and it would have been included in his work Pytho (see Diog.Laert. 9.76).
[4] Or "withholding of assent".
[5] The sceptic modes are manners of introducing suspension of judgement (Annas & Barnes, 1985, 19-30). They are listed by Sextus Empiricus (Outlines of Pyrrhonism 1.36-38; I follow Annas & Barnes translation in their 1985): (1) the mode depending on the variations among animals; (2) the mode depending on the differences among humans; (3) the mode depending on the differing constitutions of the sense-organs; (4) that depending on circumstances; (5) that depending on positions and intervals and places; (6) that depending on admixtures; (7) that depending on the quantities and preparation of existing things; (8) that deriving from relativity; (9) that depending on frequent or rare encounters; and (10) that depending on lifestyle and customs and laws. These modes are partially accounted for both in Sextus (Outlines 1.40-163) and Diog.Laert. 9.79-88. All these passages (plus some important ones in Philo of Alexandria, 25 BC-50 AD) are translated and commented on in Annas & Barnes 1985. An excellent and complete introduction to ancient scepticism can be found in Mates, 1996, 4-85.
J. Annas & J. Barnes, The Modes of Scepticism. Ancient Texts and Modern Interpretation (Cambridge/London/New York/New Rochelle/Melbourne/Sydney: Cambridge University Press), 1985
B. Mates, The Skeptic Way. Sextus Empiricus's Outlines of Pyrrhonism (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press), 1996
Keywords: definition; ethics; food; mythology; philosophy; rhetoric
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 5 May 2000@15:56:31.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (cosmetics, status) on 6 February 2004@00:56:15.
Catharine Roth (more slight changes in the translation) on 6 February 2004@00:58:29.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 6 February 2004@03:08:11.
David Whitehead (x-ref; more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 31 July 2013@05:29:15.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 2 August 2013@15:32:28.


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