Thursday, December 27, 2007

Skeptical Meeting

Just a reminder: tomorrow begins the meeting of the Society for Skeptical Studies at the Eastern Division meeting of the APA. For information, click here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kant and Skepticism

Early next year, Princeton University Press will publish Michael Forster's book Kant and Skepticism. Forster's main thesis is that Pyrrhonism was the variety of skepticism which "first really shook Kant’s faith in the precritical discipline of metaphysics ... and thence eventually led to the reform of metaphysics undertaken by the critical philosophy, and which (like Humean skepticism) also remained at the heart of the mature motivation of the critical philosophy".

You can find information about the book here.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

APA 2008 Pacific Division Meeting

At the next Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association, there will be a colloquium on skepticism:

Wednesday, March 19

Colloquium: Skepticism
1:00-4:00 p.m., Location TBA

1:00-2:00
Chair: Sanford Goldberg (Northwestern University)
Speaker: Giovanni Mion (University of Cincinnati)
“Skepticism and Objective Contexts: A Critique of DeRose.”
Commentator: Richard Greene (Weber State University)

2:00-3:00
Chair: Helmut Wautischer (Sonoma State University)
Speaker: Daniel M. Johnson (Baylor University)
“Can Moore’s Proof Rationally Persuade Without Transmitting Warrant?”
Commentator: Tim Black (California State University–Northridge)

3:00-4:00
Chair: Diana Palmieri (University of Western Ontario)
Speaker: Nathan Ballantyne (University of Arizona)
“Variability and Skepticism.”
Commentator: Peter Murphy (University of Indianapolis)

The full program of the Pacific Division Meeting can be found here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Conference on Pyrrhonism

The web page of the conference on Pyrrhonism and its influence on modern and contemporary philosophy that will take place in August 2008 has now been updated. It can be found here.

If you are interested in participating in this conference, you can contact me here.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Oxford Handbook of Skepticism

John Greco is editing The Oxford Handbook of Skepticism, which will be published by Oxford University Press next year. So far I know that it will include the following contributions:

Robert Audi, “Skepticism About the A Priori: Self-Evidence, Defeasibility, and Cogito Propositions”.

Michael Bergmann, “Externalist Responses to Skepticism".

Terence Cuneo, “Moral Realism, Quasi-realism, and Skepticism”.

Bryan Frances, “Live Skeptical Hypotheses”.

John Greco, “Skepticism about the External World”.

Mark Kaplan, “Austin's Way with Skepticism”.

Peter Klein, “Contemporary Responses to Agrippa's Trilemma”.

Jonathan Kvanvig, “Closure and Alternative Possibilities”.

Paul Moser, “Religious Skepticism”.

Duncan Pritchard, “Sensitivity, Safety, and Anti-Luck Epistemology”.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Greco's Paper on External World Skepticism

John Greco (Saint Louis University) has recently published an interesting article entitled "External World Skepticism" in Philosophy Compass. You'll find it here.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Mutschmann's edition of the Pyrroneioi Hypotyposeis

Here you can download Mutschmann's edition of Sextus Empiricus' Pyrroneioi Hypotyposeis. I haven't done it yet because my main computer is kaputt. However, I know that James Warren could do it; It was precisely in his blog where I found the link.

Monday, November 19, 2007

List of Specialists Updated

I've been updating the list of specialists on skepticism, so you'll find a couple of new links to pages of important scholars. I'll been adding more in the next days.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

NYU Skepticism Conference

I've just found out that the New York University Philosophy Department is going to hold the conference "Skepticism: Ancient, Modern, Contemporary" next June at the NYU's Florence villa "La Pietra". The web page is here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Meeting Society for Skeptical Studies

The next meeting of the SSS will take place next December at the Eastern Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association. For information about the program, go here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Published in 2006 - First Part

An important book that appeared in 2006 is Joëlle Delattre (ed.), Sur le Contre les professeurs de Sextus Empiricus (Lille: Presses de l’Université de Charles-de-Gaulle–Lille 3). This collective volume is devoted to Sextus Empiricus' least-known work, namely, his Adversus Mathematicos.

In my view, Richard Bett's "La double ‘schizophrénie’ de M. I–VI et ses origines historiques" is by far the best essay in this volume. He maintains that the tensions detectable in Adversus Mathematicos are to be explained by Sextus’ drawing on different Pyrrhonian sources and by his failure to adapt fully earlier skeptical arguments to his later version of Pyrrhonism. These arguments would have the same origin as the negative arguments found in the fifth book of Sextus' Adversus Dogmaticos.

More information about the book can be found here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Encyclopedia Entries - Second Part

Highly recommended is also Walter Sinnott-Armstrong's entry on Moral Skepticism from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Other entries worth reading are those on Ancient Greek Skepticism (Harald Thorsrud) and Contemporary Skepticism (Duncan Pritchard) from The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Encyclopedia Entries - First Part

The following entries on ancient skeptics from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy are highly recommended, since they've written by leading specialists:

Pyrrho and Timon by Richard Bett.

Arcesilaus and Philo of Larissa by Charles Brittain.

Carneades by James Allen.

I hope there will be entries on Aenesidemus and Sextus Empiricus.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Conference on Pyrrhonism

I've started working on the web page for the conference on Pyrrhonism and its impact on early modern and contemporary philosophy that will take place here in Buenos Aires in August 2008. Though there's still much work to do, you can find some information here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Conference on Skepticism in Modern Philosophy

Next Monday begins the international conference on skepticism in modern philosophy organized by José Raimundo Maia Neto. The conference will take place in Belo Horizonte (Brazil) and will include talks by important scholars from Brazil, Europe and the US. As I said in a previous post, the program can be found here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Published in 2005 - Final Part

The last two books I'll refer to concern contemporary discussions of epistemological skepticism.

- Duncan Pritchard, Epistemic Luck. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Pritchard defends what he calls a neo-Moorean safety-based externalism. As regards the notion of epistemic luck, he distinguishes between veritic luck and reflective luck, affirming that his safety-based view deals successfully with the former but not with the latter. An interesting aspect of the book is that it takes into consideration Pyrrhonian skepticism, claiming that the challenge posed by the Modes of Agrippa concerns the problem of reflective luck and not that of “veritic” epistemic luck. Therefore, the Pyrrhonian attack is not directed against knowledge simpliciter but only against internalist knowledge, so that Pyrrhonism is compatible with widespread externalist knowledge. Certainly, this is a contentious claim. For more information about this book, click here.

- Bryan Frances, Scepticism Comes Alive. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Frances claims to have discovered a new kind of skepticism that cannot be countered by present-day responses to traditional skepticism. What characterizes this type of skepticism is that it is based upon live scientific-philosophical hypotheses. For more information, go here.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Published in 2005 - Third Part

Another important book published in 2005 is Richard Bett's new translation of Sextus Empiricus' Against the Logicians (Adversus Dogmaticos I-II). The only previous complete English version of Sextus' Against the Logicians is Bury's translation in the Loeb Classical Library, which appeared in 1935. Given that Bury's English versions of Sextus' works are sometimes inaccurate or even misleading and often sound dated, Bett's translation is a most welcome addition to the literature on Pyrrhonism. I also highly recommend the Bett's introduction, in which he claims that in the Adversus Dogmaticos it is possible to detect traces of a variety of Pyrrhonism earlier than Sextus' own variety. If you want more information about this book, click here.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Published in 2005 - Second Part

Another book published in 2005 that must be mentioned is the collective volume O Ceticismo e a possibilidade da Filosofia (Ijuí: Unijuí), edited by Waldomiro Silva Filho. The book contains essays by Alves Eva, Bolzani Filho, Junqueira Smith, and Porchat Pereira, among others. The subjects discussed include ancient Pyrrhonism, Hume, Kant, and Davidson. Click here to find more information. (I'm grateful to Roberto Bolzani for sending me a copy of this book.)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Published in 2005 - First Part

In 2005, Emidio Spinelli published his Questioni Scettiche: Letture introduttive al pirronismo antico (Roma: Lithos), which brings together six of his essays on Pyrrhonism published between 1999 and 2005 in journals and collective volumes. As the subtitle indicates, the essays are above all intended as an introduction to the Pyrrhonian philosophy. For more information, click here.

Also in 2005, Brigitte Pérez-Jean published her Dogmatisme et scepticisme: L’héraclitisme d’Énésidème (Lille: Septentrion). As I said in a previous post, I haven't read this book yet, but I assume that it will be interesting to compare Pérez-Jean's view with that defended in Roberto Polito's The Sceptical Road. You'll find more info here. (Note that, although the site says that the book appeared in 2006, my copy says that it was published in 2005).

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Published in 2004 - Second and Final Part

I haven't had enough time to work on the list of books published in the past five years. As I now have a couple of minutes, I'll finish with those published in 2004.

- W. Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Pyrrhonian Skepticism. New York: Oxford University Press.

This book has its origin in a conference in honor of Robert Fogelin held at Darmouth College. The contributions examine the differences between ancient Pyrrhonism and Fogelin's neo-Pyrrhonism, his interpretation of the skeptical positions of certain modern and contemporary philosophers, and his own variety of Pyrrhonism. Among the contributors are Gisela Striker, Roy Sorensen, Michael Williams, Barry Stroud, Ernest Sosa, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, and Fogelin himself. For more information, click here.

- J. R. Maia Neto, R. Popkin (eds.), Skepticism in Renaissance and Post-Renaissance Thought: New Interpretations. Amherst: Humanity Books.

The essays assess Richard Popkin's view of the impact of ancient skepticism upon modern philosophy. Some of the contributors are José Maia Neto, Gianni Paganini, Luciano Floridi, and John Christian Laursen. For more information, take a look at here.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Published in 2004 - First Part

I begin the list of the books published in 2004 with Roberto Polito's The Sceptical Road: Aenesidemus' appropriation of Heraclitus (Leiden: Brill).
Polito (University of Cambridge) deals with one of the most difficult puzzles of ancient Pyrrhonism, namely the so-called Heracliteanism of Aenesidemus - the originator of the later Pyrrhonian tradition in the first century BC. He tries to show that Aenesidemus did not endorse Heraclitean doctrines but rather intended to offer an exegesis of Heraclitus' thought. Thus, when Aenesidemus said that Pyrrhonism is a road towards Heracliteanism, what he was trying to say was that Pyrrhonism is a tool for understanding the philosophy of Heraclitus. As far as I know, this is the first book in English which is entirely devoted to Aenesidemus' relation to Heraclitus. For information about this work, go here.

It seems to me that these days there is a revived interest in the Aenesideman variety of Pyrrhonism. In a future post, I'll refer to Brigitte Pérez's book on Aenesidemus, which I haven't had to time to read yet. In this regard, it is also worth mentioning that Polito is working on an edition of the fragments of Aenesidemus, although I don't know when he's planning to finish this book.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Published in 2003 - Final Part

The last book published in 2003 which I'd like to mention is Hansueli Flückiger's Die Herausforderung der philosophischen Skepsis: Untersuchungen zur Aktualität des Pyrrhonismus (Wien: Passagen Verlag).

Flückiger (Privatdozent at Universität Freiburg, Switzerland) examines the challenge that Pyrrhonian skepticism still poses nowadays by analyzing the neo-Pyrrhonism of Odo Marquard and the positions of Richard Rorty and Hans Albert. For more information, take a look at here.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Published in 2003 - Second Part

Another key book published in 2003 is Richard Popkin's The History of Scepticism from Savonarola to Bayle (New York: Oxford University Press), in which he defended the thesis according to which the rediscovery of ancient skepticism played a crucial role in the formation of early modern philosophy.

As I noted in a previous post, this edition of The History of Scepticism was fully revised and considerably expanded. Popkin, who died in 2005, could include in this last edition of his pioneering book discussions of quite a few modern figures whose positions were not examined in the previous editions. He also took into account the specialist literature published since the 1979 edition. You'll find more information about the book here.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Published in 2003 - First Part

I've just realized that the three books I mentioned in my previous post all have to do with Sextus. I will now refer to a book that will interest those concerned with contemporary skepticism:

Steven Luper (ed.), The Skeptics: Contemporary Essays. Aldershot: Ashgate.

I highly recommend this book. In his introduction, Luper offers a clear and useful taxonomy both of types of skepticism and of types of anti-skeptical responses. The volume includes fine essays by Gilbert Harman, Peter Klein, Ernest Sosa, Robert Fogelin, Fred Dretske, and Marie McGinn, among others. It also reprints Hilary Putnam's famous "Brains in a Vat", and David Lewis' "Elusive Knowledge". Information about the book is found here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Published in 2002

Among the books published in 2002, three must be mentioned:

1. Sextus Empiricus, Contre les professeurs. Paris: Éditions du Seuil.

The translation is by Catherine Dalimier, Daniel Delattre, Joëlle Delattre, and Brigitte Pérez. The introduction and the glossary are by Pierre Pellegrin. This book is important particularly because it is the first complete French version of Sextus' Adversus Mathematicos. It is also worth mentioning that the book includes the Greek text. For information, see here.

2. Luciano Floridi, Sextus Empiricus: The Transmission and Recovery of Pyrrhonism. New York: Oxford University Press.

Floridi offers an exhaustive and rigorous examination of the transmission of Sextus' extant writings from late antiquity until modern times. Information about the book is found here.

3. Alan Bailey, Sextus Empiricus and Pyrrhonean Scepticism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

One of the interesting aspects of Bailey's book is that it shows that the skeptical stance found in Sextus' works has a great deal to contribute to present-day epistemological discussions. Information about this work is found here.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Books published in the past five years

I think it might be useful to devote some posts to providing information about important books on skepticism that were published in the past five years, from 2002 to 2006. I will try to make the list as exhaustive as possible and will consider one year at a time.

The List

I think the list is quite complete now, particularly because it includes scholars from different countries: Brazil, Canada, England, France, Iceland, Italy, and the US. Unfortunately, there are important specialists in Pyrrhonian and Academic skepticism such as Fernanda Decleva Caizzi and Anna Maria Ioppolo who, as far as I know, don't have webpages.

Friday, August 31, 2007

List of Specialists

On the right side of this page, you'll find a list with links to the webpages of specialists in the different varieties of skepticism: Pyrrhonian or Academic; ancient, early modern or contemporary. I'm still working on the list so as to make it as complete as possible. But if you want to be added and you've got a webpage, let me know.

Special volume of Philosophiques

I want to let you know that Sébastien Charles (Université de Sherbrooke, Québec) is currently editing Scepticisme et philosophie à l’âge classique, a special volume of the Canadian journal Philosophiques, forthcoming in 2008.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A new book on Montaigne

Luiz Eva (Universidade Federal do Paraná) has recently published a book on Montaigne: A figura do filósofo: ceticismo e subjetividade em Montaigne. São Paulo: Loyola, 2007.

You'll find more information here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A couple of books

Two collective volumes on skepticism have been published this year, one in Portuguese and the other in Italian:

- W. Silva Filho, P. J. Smith (eds.), Ensaios sobre o ceticismo. São Paulo: Alameda Editorial, 2007.

The description and table of contents are here.

- M. De Caro, E. Spinelli (eds.), Scetticismo. Una vicenda filosofica. Roma: Carocci, 2007.

The description and table of contents are here.

New journal devoted to skepticism

Sképsis is a new Brazilian journal devoted to skepticism. The main editor is Plínio Junqueira Smith and the assistant editors are Luiz Antonio Alves Eva, Roberto Bolzani Filho, and Waldomiro José Silva Filho. Published biannually, its first volume has already appeared. As far as I know, this is the first philosophy journal entirely devoted to skepticism.
Complete information about Sképsis can be found here.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Companion to Ancient Skepticism

I've heard that Richard Bett (Johns Hopkins University) is editing The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Scepticism, forthcoming in 2008. So far I only know that he's writing an essay on skepticism and ethics, and that Luciano Floridi (Oxford University) is writing one entitled "The Rediscovery and Posthumous Influence of Scepticism".

I look forward to reading this book, which I'm sure will include papers by several leading specialists in ancient skepticism. In fact, Bett is one of them: he has written a number of papers on ancient (and contemporary) skepticism, published Pyrrho, his Antecedents and his Legacy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), and translated Sextus' Against the Ethicists (Oxford University Press, 1997; with an introduction and an extensive commentary) and Against the Logicians (Cambridge University Press, 2005; with an introduction).


Edit: for more information about the contributions, see the comment by Jim Hankinson (University of Texas).

Conference on Pyrrhonism

I'm organizing a conference on ancient Pyrrhonism and its influence on early modern and contemporary philosophy. If everything happens as expected, it will take place in Buenos Aires (Argentina), most probably during the first week of August 2008. Among the participants are specialists from the US, Italy, France, England, Brazil, and Canada.

What will distinguish this event from other conferences on Pyrrhonism is that it will also examine the impact of this philosophy on the development of both early modern and contemporary philosophy.

Though this is an ambitious project, I think there is a good chance that the conference will be a reality.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Michael Frede

On August 11 Michael Frede died in Delphi (Greece), where he was attending the Symposium Hellenisticum. A memorial notice from the Berkeley Classics Department is found here.

Frede was a leading specialist in several fields of ancient philosophy, including skepticism. His two most important contributions in this area are "The Sceptic's Beliefs" and "The Sceptic's Two Kinds of Assent and the Question of the Possibility of Knowledge".

Both papers - which have exerted a major influence on the subsequent research on ancient skepticism - can be found in M. Burnyeat and M. Frede (eds.), The Original Sceptics: A Controversy (Hackett: Indianapolis, 1997).

Friday, August 24, 2007

Conference in memory of Richard Popkin

Next October there will be a conference on skepticism from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment in Belo Horizonte (Brazil) in memory of Richard Popkin. Popkin is widely known particularly for his ground-breaking book The History of Scepticism. This work was first published in 1960 under the title The History of Scepticism from Erasmus to Descartes. Its second edition appeared in 1979 under the title The History of Scepticism from Erasmus to Spinoza, and its last edition - fully revised and considerably expanded - was published in 2003 under the title The History of Scepticism from Savonarola to Bayle.

The conference will be organized by José Raimundo Maia Neto. The program can be found here.