DOGMA is ‘strong belief’. The word <dogma> has quite a ‘softer’ meaning in Ancient Greece compared to nowadays. It is very similar to ‘opinion’ (<doxa>), ‘judgement’, ‘evaluation’. Instead, today the term has, most of the times, negative nuances, in association with the notions of rigidity, stubbornness and close-mindedness.
<Dogmata> are bad when their basis are fragile preconceptions, assumptions and prejudices. They are even worse when difficult to correct or remove. We all know how difficult it is to root out of ourselves all the presuppositions and expectations inhabiting the mind, although extremely weak or even totally groundless. Nonetheless a solid, truthful and robust belief might be useful and important like one of the bricks we build our house with. <Dogma> is ‘strong belief’, but the point is to explore where this belief comes from.
In Stoicism <dogma> is a principle whose origins are reason and experience. This is a very important concept because it means that, for Stoics, a <dogma> does not fall from the sky impromptu. In fact the combination of reason and experience is a very solid foundation for a strong belief. Stoicism has many strong beliefs, such as the famous dogma “the only good is moral good, and the only evil is moral evil”.
Epicureanism is a dogmatic philosophy teaching that truth is reachable. Also this philosophical school maintains that there are understandable, measurable, observable truths. Its dogmatism rests on the Epicurean view of empiricism and has its basis on the evidence of the senses.
In Pyrrhonist philosophy dogma is assenting to a statement on non-evident matters. The main thesis of Pyrrhonism is acatalepsia, rejecting doctrines about the truth of things in their own nature. Pyrrhonists argue that dogmatists, such as the Stoics, Epicureans, and Peripatetics, fail to demonstrate that their doctrines on non-evident matters are true.