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Comment by laertius on Pretending to be Wise · 2009-02-20T11:12:39.000Z · LW · GW

The Pyrrhonians and Epicureans aspired to an emotional state of studied equivalence, 'epoche', attained by the diligent and conscientious elucidation of equally excellent argument (isothenia) which in perfect equipoise persuaded you of the contingency of all positions. Skepticism, in that classical sense, is profoundly humbling, requires care and effort, and counsels against precipitous action. Granted that's not especially worldly, but then maybe good philosophy never is.

I'd hesitate to dismiss that approach as 'pretentious'. If anything there's something rather appealing about its asceticism. And far from a being a pretence of wisdom, at least so long as you have gone to the trouble of evaluating both sets of arguments, the recognition that some disputes are irresolvable, even scholastic, and that strong preference in such debates is more often contingent on circumstance or a desire by what you call 'participants' to minimize cognitive dissonance than to discover the truth, sounds quite a lot like genuine wisdom to me.