Sec.Sec.43—END. Cicero’s historical justification of the New Academy. Summary. Arcesilas’ philosophy was due to no mere passion for victory in argument, but to the obscurity of phenomena, which had led the ancients to despair of knowledge (44). He even abandoned the one tenet held by Socrates to be certain; and maintained that since arguments of equal strength could be urged in favour of the truth or falsehood of phenomena, the proper course to take was to suspend judgment entirely (45). His views were really in harmony with those of Plato, and were carried on by Carneades (46).
Sec.43. Breviter: MSS. et breviter; see 37. Tunc: rare before a consonant; see Munro on Lucr. I. 130. Verum esse [autem] arbitror: in deference to Halm I bracket autem, but I still think the MSS. reading defensible, if verum be taken as the neut. adj. and not as meaning but. Translate: “Yet I think the truth to be ... that it is to be thought,” etc. The edd. seem to have thought that esse was needed to go with putandam. This is a total mistake; cf. ait ... putandam, without esse II. 15, aiebas removendum II. 74; a hundred other passages might be quoted from Cic.
Sec.44. Non pertinacia aut studio vincendi: for these words see n. on II. 14. The sincerity of Arcesilas is defended also in II. 76. Obscuritate: a side-blow at declaratio 41. Confessionem ignorationis: see 16. Socrates was far from being a sceptic, as Cic. supposes; see note on II. 74. Et iam ante Socratem: MSS. veluti amantes Socratem; Democritus (460—357 B.C.) was really very little older than Socrates (468—399) who died nearly sixty years before him. Omnis paene veteres: the statement is audaciously inexact, and is criticised II. 14. None of these were sceptics; for Democritus see my note on II. 73, for Empedocles on II. 74, for Anaxagoras on II. 72. Nihil cognosci, nihil penipi, nihil sciri: the verbs are all equivalent; cf. D.F. III. 15 equidem soleo etiam quod uno Graeci ... idem pluribus verbis exponere.