ACATALEPSY (α, privative; and
κατάληψις, comprehensio, incomprehensibility), the
doctrine held by the Academics of the Middle Academy, and by the sceptics, that
human knowledge never amounts to certainty, but only to probability (Plutarch,
II. 1122A, Πρὸς Κολώτην; Diog. Lært.,
IX. 61, Pyrrho).
Arcesilas, chief of
the second Academy, taught that we know nothing with certainty, in opposition to
the dogmatism of the Stoics, who taught
κατάληψις, or the possibility of seizing
the truth. Sceptics and Pyrrhonians were called Acataleptics.
synonymous with ἀφασία and
ἐποχή (Zelier's Stoics, Epics, and Skeptics, p. 408).
Bacon repudiates ἀκατάληψις. "We do not meditate or propose
eucatalepsy, for we do not derogate from sense, but help it, and we do not
despise the understanding, but direct it" (Nov. Org., I., app. 126).—V.