Stoics and Skeptics on Cataleptic Impressions by Tobias Reinhardt

On Friday February 19 2016, 11am-1pm, Tobias Reinhardt from Corpus Christi College/University of Oxford discusses his recent work on Academic Skepticism.

Poster by Jens Haas

Comments by Benjamin Morison (Princeton University) and Charles McNamara (Columbia University). Location: Schermerhorn Hall 934, Columbia University.

The Stoics are famous for their view that there are so-called cataleptic impressions, namely, impressions “from what is” and “imprinted and sealed” in accordance with what is. The skeptics are equally famous for arguing against this. As the skeptics aim to show, there could always be an impression that is indistinguishable from the presumed cataleptic impression, and still false. In a well-known anecdote, a Stoic is presented with an apple. In accepting the apple, the skeptics say he accepted that this—what he saw in front of him—is an apple. And yet it was a wax apple! Along these lines, the debate revolves around the question of whether two impressions can be such that no one, not even a wise person, would be able to keep them apart, even though one of them presents the world as it is while the other is false. The precise moves in this debate are highly contested. Reinhardt offers a new reconstruction, which is part of his large-scale project on Cicero’s Academica.