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Sanches, Francisco (1551–1623)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-C037-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

Francisco Sanches was a sceptical philosopher and a professor of medicine at the University of Toulouse in southern France in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century. He was born in Spain to a family of Jewish ancestry that had been forcibly converted to Catholicism, but he was brought up in France. Though he was a distant cousin of the sceptic Michel de Montaigne, he independently advanced what was perhaps the strongest sceptical critique of Aristotelianism and Platonism. In addition he developed a scepticism about mathematical knowledge claims. At the same time, he offered the first form of constructive scepticism, a way of solving intellectual problems without antecedently overcoming the sceptical challenge to traditional kinds of knowledge. He thus presented science as a way of dealing with experience, rather than as a way of gaining knowledge, and in this his views anticipate some twentieth-century philosophies. Sanches was also an important empirical medical practitioner, who presented the newest medical findings in his courses at Toulouse. His sceptical-critical views were influential in the first half of the seventeenth century, and were still being studied in Leibniz’s time.

Citing this article:
Popkin, Richard H.. Sanches, Francisco (1551–1623), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-C037-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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