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own ignorance, into a maxim of the Academic school. This was partly owing to the sceptical philosophy of Pyrrho, whose tenets were then much promulgated, and to whom the Academy, at this epoch, so nearly approached as to deny the capability of man to attain certainty at all. Arcesilaus himself was born at Pitane, about the one hundred and sixteenth Olynipiad ; and was successively the pupil of Theophrastus, Aristotle, and Polemon the Platonist : his chief success arose from his extreme liberality, which induced him frequently to practise generous frauds, as they were termed by a sick friend, under whose pillow he had, unobservedly, slipped a purse of gold.
His whole doctrine terminated in the very extreme of doubt: for not only, with Socrates, did he admit his general ignorance, but asserted that he was ignorant of this very ignorance itself: practically, however, his rule of life was to pursue good and to avoid evil, in which man was to be guided by probabilities; and it is to be lamented that his own character hastened the decay of the pure
Platonic system no less than the variation of his opinions. It was, assuredly, a convenient tenet for so licentious a man to adopt, that right and wrong were matters of doubt; but the discrepancy
between the high moral self-discipline of Plato and the reckless libertinism of Arcesilaus, showed to men that the hold of the former, upon the minds even of his successors, had become extinct. He died, from excessive drinking, at the age of seventy-five; his intellect having fallen a victim to the same vicious indulgence. Lacydes, the last philosopher of this epoch, following the example of his predecessor, died palsied from the same cause, after disgracing the era of the second Academy by acts abhorrent from the nature of wisdom: nor was it until the period of Carneades that
an attempt was made to substitute a mental system for that one which Plato had raised to so noble an elevation. For although Carneades of Cyrene endeavoured to purify the Academic school — the principles of which he had imbibed from Hegesias-yet he made further innovations upon
the doctrine of Plato, and held that error was so blended with truth as to prevent its reception, and, therefore, that the essence of philosophy consisted in a suspension of opinion. He studied the Stoical writings in order to refute them, and, indeed, so closely did he unite his attacks upon this sect with his own purpose in study, that he is said to have exclaimed, “Had there never been a Chrysippus, I should never have been what I am.” Cicero contrasts the opinion of the two as to sense-knowledge, by telling us that Chrysippus, having tried to disparage the power of the senses, presented to himself such arguments against them, that he could not be content to believe their testimony; whereupon Carneades boasted that he would employ the very arguments of Chrysippus to confute him, and thus cried out against him, “O miserable ! thy force has destroyed thee.” " There can be nothing absurd to a greater degree than to maintain that fire does not warm, that light does not shine, that there is no weight nor solidity in iron—which are things conveyed to us by-the senses : neither is there belief nor knowledge in man that can be compared to that for certainty."
From his known shrewdness in disputation, he was sent by his countrymen as ambassador to Rome, where, before Cato the Censor, he spoke one day most eloquently in praise of justice ; the next, however, he exhibited the truth of his favourite creed, that all knowledge was uncertain, by refuting all the arguments in favour of justice he had adduced the day before-conduct which impressed Cato with to keen a perception of the dangers to which
the Roman youth might be exposed by the study of such subtleties, that he persuaded the senate to dismiss the philosopher and his companions with all speed. To refute the old doctrines especially those of the Stoical school; and in ethics, to oppose the first Academy and Aristotle by representing practical life as an art; by the denial of the existence of any criterion of ‘moral truth, to reduce all science to a question of the greater or less degree of probability; at the same time, in morals, to proffer the obscure phrase, “an enjoyment of natural principles," as "the end and aim of life"-these point out to us both the general features of the last Academical system, and its utter degradation even as a mental exercise.
Indeed, the brighter period of Greek philosophy had now passed away; the rays of truth, scanty and weak even at the zenith of its intellectual sun, had become utterly obscured; and sophistical quibbling and oratorical display, increased the fallacies of ignorance and superstition. The power of attaining knowledge that a First Cause existed, being denied, as to scientific investigation, a spirit of doubt rejected a true ground of science from a knowledge of effects.
Both the Pyrrhonists and the Academicians derived the same painful result of their
erroneous theories, in the unsettling of belief, the check of investigation, and the merging of all philosophical principle in the querulousness of one common scepticism. It has been well remarked, that centuries of thought had not advanced the mind one step nearer to a solution of the problems with which, childlike, it began. It commenced with infantine inquiry-it ended with aged doubt; not only did it doubt the solution of the great problem which others had attempted, but it questioned the possibility of any solution. It was not the hesitation of mind which causes us to investigate, but the incredulity which ends inquiry; and only one refuge was left open to the reason, thus assailed and invalidated, namely, the symbol of religious faith.
The disciples of Carneades, Clitomachus and his followers, employing philosophy solely for oratorical purposes, soon completed its general corruption. Panætius of Rhodes, (B.C. 138,) the friend of Scipio and Lælius, and who attended the former in all his expeditions, wrote a treatise on the duties of man, in which he endeavoured to restore a purer system of ethics, which he introduced to the Romans as modifying the severity of the Stoics, and more identified with the genius of Plato. He was followed by Posidonius, who blended all pre