Phronesis 61 (2016) 237-242


Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy

Christopher Gill Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Exeter, Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter EX4 4RJ. UK [email protected]

R. Polito, of Cnossus provides the first edition of all the testimonia on the first-century BC Sceptic philosopher.1 Although Aenesidemus presented himself as merely transmitting the ideas of (fourth century BC), and his writings are only known indirectly, he may well be the key innovative thinker in this tradition, and the many surviving works of (second century AD) may owe much to him. Aenesidemus developed (what became) the main distinctive theses of ‘Pyrrhonian’ Scepticism: systematic argument against philosophical (‘dogmatic’) concepts, couched in terms of ten ‘modes’, proving that we have no understanding of things and leading to the conclu- sion that we should suspend judgement on how things actually are and accept ‘appearances’ (2-3). There is a helpful introduction, discussing Aenesidemus’ place in the history of Scepticism, followed by a review of the sources (Photius, Sextus, Diogenes Laertius, and Aristocles of Messene). The testimonia selected are those which identify Aenesidemus by name and discuss his views. In each case, Polito provides a text with apparatus criticus and his own translation; the commentary offers an overview of the significance of the testimony, followed by more detailed treatment based on selected terms and phrases. The testimonies are organised in groups. These relate, respectively to the thinker’s life (includ- ing philosophical activity, affiliation and succession), his works (Arguments of the Pyrrhonists and Outline Introduction to ), and Aenesidemus and . The commentary, as well as examining the philosophical content of the works as far as this can be reconstructed, aims to clarify his relationship to Academic Scepticism and the interaction between (Empiricist) medicine and Sceptical philosophy in the Hellenistic era. Aenesidemus discussed Heraclitus

1 R. Polito, Aenesidemus of Cnossus: Testimonia. Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries 52. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Pp. vii + 395. £79.99. Hardback. ISBN: 9780521190251.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���6 | doi 10.1163/15685284-12341306 238 Gill extensively, especially in his First Introduction; Polito suggests that his inter- pretation assimilated Heraclitean ideas to Scepticism, perhaps contesting the Stoic view of this (enigmatic) Presocratic thinker. Polito’s book originated from his work as Research Associate in the Cambridge University project on first-century BC philosophy, and is published in the Cambridge University Press (‘orange’) series of texts with full-scale commentary. It is clearly a major contribution, providing detailed examination of an important figure in the history of Scepticism and enabling close scrutiny of his ideas and his place in . What is Up to Us?, eds. P. Destrée, R. Salles and M. Zingano, is a volume of new essays on agency, responsibility and determinism in ancient philosophy.2 The number of (medium-length) essays is quite large (twenty), the range of theories is broad, and the line-up of contributors is unusually international (the editors are based in Belgium, Mexico and Brazil respectively). After pre- liminary discussions of and (M. R. Johnson and P. Destrée), there are four essays on , especially Nicomachean Ethics 3.5 and Eudemian Ethics 2.6, examining from various standpoints how—or how far— he addresses the question of determinism versus indeterminism. The authors are D. Frede, S. Bobzien, S. S. Meyer and J. Echeñique. There are six essays on Stoic determinism (or compatibilism), one on the Stoic theory of action (K. Vogt), two on Chrysippus (L. Gómez and J.- B. Gourinat), while the oth- ers are on Panaetius (E. Vimercati), (R. Salles) and Marcus Aurelius (M. Boeri). The competing indeterminist standpoint is represented by discus- sions of (P.- M. Morel and S. Maso, the latter on Cicero’s presenta- tion of the Epicurean view) and on Alexander of Aphrodisias (M. Zingano). A number of essays explore later : M. Bonazzi on Middle Platonism, L. Gerson on , D. P. on Porphyry, C. Steel on Proclus and C. Wildberg on Epictetus and Simplicius. (Although the issue of determin- ism versus indeterminism does not figure as a topic of debate in Plato, later Platonists reinterpreted texts such as the Myth of Er in the light of subsequent discussion.) C. Horn discusses Augustine’s notion of free will. The volume ends with an essay by M. Frede published (posthumously in 2007) in a Greek philosophical journal, which encapsulated the view of ancient philosophical thought on this topic which Frede presented more fully in his 1997-8 Sather

2 P. Destrée, R. Salles, and M. Zingano (eds.), What is Up to Us? Studies on Agency and Responsibility in Ancient Philosophy. Studies in Moral and Political Philosophy 1. Sankt Augustin: Academia, 2014. Pp. vi + 372. €39. Paperback. ISBN: 9783896656346.

Phronesis 61 (2016) 237-242