, a celebrated Greek philosopher, about 300 years before the Christian sera, was born at Pitane, in Eolis. He founded what in the history of ancient philosophy is denominated the Second Academy. He was a man of great learning, and versed in the writings of the ancients, remarkable for the severity of his criticisms; but, in his private character, no enemy to the utmost licentiousness of his age. He had, however, a great number of disciples. His doctrines were different in many respects from what his predecessors had taught; but, instead of reforming their errors, he plunged into as great and perhaps more pernicious absurdities. It was the opinion of his school that we could know nothing, nor even assure ourselves of the certainty of this position: thence they inferred that we should affirm nothing, but always suspend our judgment. They advanced, however, that a philosopher was able to dispute upon every subject, and force conviction whichever side of the question he chose to adopt; and that there were always reasons of equal force, both in the affirmative and negative of every argument. Neither our senses nor our reason were to have any credit. Stanley and Brucker, in their Histories of Philosophy, may be consulted for a detail of the reveries of Arcesilaus; and Bayle has an elaborate article on the same | subject, Arcesilaus is said to have died of excess, in his 75th year, in the fourth year of the 134th olympiad. He appears to have been a man of good taste, as he studied Homer with a relish approaching to reverence. 1


Gen. Dict. —Brucker. Stanley.