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Pyrrho (allegedly), c. 360 BCE (allegedly) - c. 270 BCE (allegedly)
Thinking hardly
or hardly thinking?

Icon philosophy.svg
Major trains of thought
The good, the bad
and the brain fart
Come to think of it

Pyrrhonism is an ancient Greek philosophy of extreme skepticism.

Pyrrhonists hold nothing can be known for certain and, therefore, they remain in a perpetual state of knowing nothing.

Pyrrhonism is named after the Greek philosopher Pyrrho, who was one of the first advocates of extreme skepticism.[1]

As a personal philosophy[edit]

Pyrrho also believed that his philosophy could be applied to daily life, as he believed that the world's suffering is mostly caused by people's opinions and beliefs. Pyrrho advocated living in a state of "mental ataraxia," or perpetual indecision, as he believed that this would free people from worry and allow them to live without judging or deciding anything.[2] For Pyrrho, this included putting himself in dangerous situations because he did not believe his senses could be trusted.[3]

Any attempt to follow or live by Pyrrhonism in practice will eventually drive you batshit crazy, as it is akin to having an existential crisis 24 hours a day. (see below).

Sample 5 minutes as a Pyrrhonist[edit]

Below is a snarkilicious stream-of-consciousness transcript of how fun it is to think like a Pyrrhonist:

  1. Wake up: Did I really just wake up, or am I just imagining it? How do I know I ever slept in the first place? How do I know sleeping and being awake aren't actually the same thing?
  2. Get out of bed: How do I know this is actually a bed? How do I know I am standing? I could still be sitting or lying down for all I know. How do I know I was ever in this so-called "bed" to begin with?
  3. Look around room: How do I know this is even a room? How do I know it is mine? How do I know I am actually looking? I may not even have eyes, and how do I know that eyes are even able to perform the action that is supposedly called "looking"?
  4. Walk over into bathroom: Is this really a bathroom? There's no proof of that. How do I know I'm not still in the bedroom? How do I know that the bedroom ever existed in the first place? How do I know the bathroom even exists? How do I know I exist? How do I know that thing I may or may not have seen in that other room was the kind of object that is supposedly referred to as a "bed"?

...and so on and so forth ad infinitum...

See also[edit]