Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bilan

This has been an important year for skeptical studies. Here is a short bilan:

First, there were four conferences on skepticism, held in Edinburgh (May-June), Florence (June), Buenos Aires (August), and New York (November). There were also the talks on skepticism organized by the Society of Skeptical Studies at the APA meetings, and a few other individual talks given in Paris, Cambridge, Venice, and Rio de Janeiro.

Second, a number of important books and special issues of journals were published:

John Greco, The Oxford Handbook of Skepticism (OUP).

Harald Thorsrud, Ancient Scepticism (Acumen Publishing).

Carlos Lévy, Les scepticismes (Presses Universitaires de France).

Karel Janáček, Studien zu Sextus Empiricus, Diogenes Laertius und zur pyrrhonischen Skepsis (Walter de Gruyter).

Michael Forster, Kant and Skepticism (Princeton University Press).

Jeremy Popkin (ed.), The Legacies of Richard Popkin (Springer), which deals in part with skepticism.

José Maia Neto and Gianni Paganini (eds.), Renaissance Scepticisms (Springer).

La rationalité sceptique, issue of the Cahiers Philosophiques 115/3.

Le scepticisme à l'âge classique, issue of Philosophiques 35/1.

Third
, a few articles appeared in journals or collective volumes:

Filip Grgic, “Sextus Empiricus on the Possibility of Inquiry”, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89/4.

Richard Bett, "What Kind of Self Can a Greek Sceptic Have?", in Ancient Philosophy of the Self (Springer), edited by Pauliina Remes and Juha Sihvola.

Otávio Bueno, “Relativism and Skepticism”, International Journal of Philosophical Studies 16.

Machuca, “Sextus Empiricus: His Outlook, Works, and Legacy”, Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie 55.

Finally, we started a new association, the International Society for the Study of Skepticism, which hopefully will become a serious forum for discussion of skepticism.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cahiers Philosophiques

I've just received a copy of the latest issue of the Cahiers Philosophiques (115, October 2008), which is devoted to 'la rationalité sceptique'. Stéphane Marchand was in charge of this issue. Given that the table of contents is not available online yet, I copy it here:

Sylvie Perceau: "Homère, le premier des sceptiques".

Emidio Spinelli: "Sextus Empiricus, l'expérience sceptique et l'horizon de l'éthique".

Anne Gabrielle Wersinger: "Le scepticisme à l'épreuve de la logique".

Julie Giovacchini: "Sextus et Galien à la recherche d'une médecine sceptique".

Among other things, there is also an interview with Jonathan Barnes about the interpretation of ancient Pyrrhonism.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Skepticism and Relativism

Post moved to the top (originally posted on April 23) because there's a new comment:

An interesting paper by Otávio Bueno entitled "Relativism and Scepticism" has just appeared in the International Journal of Philosophical Studies. It forms part of a book symposium on Steven Hales' Relativism and the Foundations of Philosophy. I think that Otávio's interpretation of the dialectical character of Pyrrhonism is entirely correct. You can find his paper here.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

India

This might be the best place to ask the following question, since some readers of this blog are from India. There is a (remote) possibility that I'll be in New Delhi for a few weeks in February or March. I know there is the University of Delhi, but I don't know anything about its department of philosophy and the areas of research of its members. Does any one of you know whether there's anyone working on skepticism in that department?

Friday, December 26, 2008

New Article

Volume 142/1 (January 2009) of Philosophical Studies features the papers presented at the first annual Midwest Epistemology Workshop, which was held at Northwestern University in November 2007. This issue, which is already available online, contains a paper by Baron Reed (Nothwestern University) entitled “A New Argument for Skepticism”. The link to this paper is found here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

SSS Meeting

The next meeting of the Society for Skeptical Studies will take place next Sunday at the Eastern Division Meeting of the APA. For information about the program, go here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

List of Specialists Updated

I've just updated the List of Specialists on the right side of the blog. I've added new names and corrected the links that were out of date. Some specialists' names are missing because they don't (seem to) have webpages.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Socrates and Skepticism

I've just found out that Richard Bett contributed a paper entitled "Socrates and Skepticism" to A Companion to Socrates (Blackwell, 2006), edited by Sara Ahbel-Rappe and Rachana Kamtekar. You should be able to download the PDF file of the printed version here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

New Book on Ancient Skepticism

Hal Thorsrud's Ancient Scepticism (Acumen Publishing) has just appeared in print. The book will also be published by the University of California Press at the beginning of 2009.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Two Books

Two collective volumes on Renaissance and early modern skepticism to which I referred in previous posts are now available online. These books are (i) The Legacies of Richard Popkin (edited by Jeremy Popkin), which deals in part with skepticism, and (ii) Renaissance Scepticisms (edited by José Maia Neto and Gianni Paganini). It seems that these two volumes will appear in print next year. To see the online contents, click here and here, respectively. I assume that some of you will have the required access through your university network.

Edit December 13: I was wrong, since the two books have already appeared in print. Thanks to Gianni Paganini for pointing this out.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Conference on Socrates

Although the following information doesn't have to do with skepticism, I think that it might be of interest to some of you. On December 18, there will be a conference on Socrates organized by the Chair of the History Ancient Philosophy of the Università di Roma "La Sapienza".

Biblioteca di Lingue (ex aula III)
Villa Mirafiori -Via Carlo Fea, 2

Chair: Anna Maria Ioppolo

10.00 Introduction

10.30 ENRICO BERTI, Socrate e la scienza dei contrari secondo Aristotele

11.15 Coffee break

11.30 DAVID N. SEDLEY, Socrates’ place in the history of teleology

Discussion

Chair: Bruno Centrone

15.30 ALDO BRANCACCI, Le concezioni di Socrate nei capitoli teologici dei Memorabili

16.15 Coffee break

16.30 CHRISTOPH HORN, Socrates and political thought

Discussion

Monday, December 1, 2008

New Paper on Sextus

Filip Grgic's paper "Sextus Empiricus on the Possibility of Inquiry" has just appeared in Pacific Philosophical Quarterly. You can find the article here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Book

Gianni Paganini's Skepsis: Le débat des modernes sur le scepticisme. Montaigne–Le Vayer–Campanella–Hobbes–Descartes–Bayle has just been published by Vrin. You can find some information on Vrin's webpage. Below I copy the table of contents:

Chap. I
La redécouverte du phénomène
Montaigne vs Sanches

1. « Qu’il n’y a point de science »: Montaigne contre Sanches
2. Deux critiques de la connaissance sensible
3. L’aristotélisme « implicite » de Sanches et le paradigme de la « normalité »
4. Montaigne: l’abandon de la species et la découverte du problème sceptique
5. L’invention de l’apparence. Montaigne et le commentaire des Hypotyposes par Estienne
6. Le phénomène comme mixte
7. L’introduction du doute dans la modernité

Chap. II
Le scepticisme des anciens et des modernes
La Mothe Le Vayer et le “Pyrrhonisme tout pur”

1. Sources antiques, problèmes modernes
2. L’ “obstinée varieté” de la nature: le douteur et le “joueur de marionettes”
3. Le sceptique et les “novateurs”
4. « Les phénomènes de notre douteuse éthique »
5. Scepticisme et critique de l’imposture: l’ “illusion” du prodige
6. “Parallèles” insidieux
7. La damnation de Pyrrhon et l’athéisme de Sexte

Chap. III
Le scepticisme et la “métaphysique nouvelle”
Tommaso Campanella, Marin Mersenne et René Descartes

1. Campanella et les doutes du scepticisme
2. Rêve et veille, sagesse et folie
3: Le dépassement du scepticisme: perception de la passion et qualités premières de l’être
4. Scientia modica et exilis
5. Toujours la connaissance est connaissance de soi
6. L’influence cachée: Mersenne
7. L’influence niée: Descartes
8. Autour du cogito
9. La primauté du sentir et l’expérience de soi

Chap. IV
Phénomènes et corps
Thomas Hobbes, le scepticisme continental et la réforme de la “philosophie première”

1. Apparitions unto us et world without us
2. La scène primitive du scepticisme
3. Lectures anciennes et modernes
4. Unica vera basis rerum: “fantasmes” et corps en mouvement
5. Hobbes et le scepticisme de la première Méditation
6. Protagoras, Théétète et la doctrine des phénomènes
7. Les choses “occultes” et leurs signes: Hobbes et Gassendi
8. Aller au delà des “fantasmes”: la fonction de la causalité
9. Songe et veille: fantasmes sans corps et corps sans fantasmes
10. Accidents, phénomènes et conjectures rationnelles: la solution du De corpore

Chap. V
Du bon usage du doute
Descartes et le sceptiques modernes

1. Le scepticisme des anciens: une “soupe rechauffée”?
2. Descartes, “les sceptiques d’aujourd’hui” et la méthode des “apparences”
3. Le modèle des “athées sceptiques”
4. “Ces sceptiques qui vont au-delà de toutes les limites du douter”: doute cartésien et doute libertin
5. “Irrésolution” libertine, “résolution” cartésienne
6. Le doute dans les Regulae: Socrate sceptique
7. “L’ignorance de Socrate ou l’incertitude des Pyrrhoniens”: le “doute universel” dans la Recherche de la vérité
8. La logique du doute
9. Descartes et Sanches: scepticisme et connaissance de soi
10. Interroger le contexte

Chap. VI
Après Descartes
Scepticisme, véracité et omnipotence divines chez Bayle

1. Les origines du scepticisme: la “mauvaise chute” de Xénophane
2. L’existence idéale des objets mathématiques
3. La réduction aux phénomènes: Bayle, Foucher, Leibniz
4. Omnipotence et tromperie: origines médiévales et débats calvinistes
5. Le contexte cartésien: le problème de la garantie de la véracité divine
6. Le contexte post-cartésien: Bayle et le débat entre Malebranche et Arnauld sur l’existence des corps
7. L’impossibilité de la théodicée de l’erreur

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Long on Ancient Skepticism

Although some of you probably know about this, I'd like to tell you that, in 2006, OUP published A. A. Long's From Epicurus to Epictetus: Studies in Hellenistic and Roman philosophy. The book collects seventeen papers Long published in journals and collective volumes and one new essay. The second part of the volume consists of five fine papers on ancient skepticism:

"Aristotle and the History of Greek Scepticism".
"Timon of Phlius: Pyrrhonist and Satirist".
"Arcesilaus in his Hime and Place".
"Scepticism about Gods".
"Astrology: Arguments pro and contra".

For information, click here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dissertation Defense

Stéphane Marchand will defend his PhD dissertation ("Identité philosophique et évolution historique du pyrrhonisme ancien") on December 5, at 2 pm, at the Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne Campus Croix-Rouge, salle du conseil de l'UFR de Lettres.

The members of the examining committee will be:

Anne-Gabrièle Wersinger (Reims)
Jonathan Barnes (Paris IV)
Jean-François Balaudé (Paris X-Nanterre)
Carlos Lévy (Paris IV)
Emidio Spinelli (Rome, La Sapienza)
Patrick Wotling (Reims)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Conference

I've just come across this information: on November 13-14, a conference entitled "Vivre" will take place at the Université de Paris X-Nanterre (Building K). On the 13th, there will be two talks on ancient Pyrrhonism:

14h45-15h45: Baptiste Bondu: "Le scepticisme de Sextus Empiricus ou la distinction de la vie et de la philosophie"

17h15-18h15: Stéphane Marchand: "Vivre le Pyrrhonisme?"

A description of the nature and aim of the conference as well as the program can be found here. You can also find Marchand's paper here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Talk on Pyrrhonism and Medicine

Tomorrow, at the Faculty of Classics of the University of Cambridge, James Allen (Pittsburgh) will deliver a paper entitled "Sceptical affinities: Pyrrhonism and the medical schools". This will take place in room 1.04 at 1.00-2.00 pm. The talk forms part of the lunchtime seminar series on first-century BC Greco-Roman philosophy.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NYU Conference on Skepticism

On the NYU Philosophy Department webpage, you can now find Leiter's, Sosa's, Vogel's, and Paganini's papers. There is, however, a little problem: to read the papers, you need a password. This is certainly strange, since the conference is an open event, unlike the conference on skepticism the NYU held in Florence last june.

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Association

In order to bring together scholars doing research on skepticism, a new international association is being created. The provisional webpage can be found here. If you would like to become a member, you can contact me by e-mail.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Book Symposium

The latest issue of Philosophy and Phenomenological Research features a book symposium about Walter Sinnott-Armstrong's Moral Skepticisms. The authors are Sinnott-Armstrong, Peter Railton, Mark Timmons, and David Copp.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Paper on Sextus

Stéphane Marchand has let me know about this paper published last year:

Anne Gabrièle Wersinger, "La philosophie entre Logique et Musique. Sextus Empiricus et la diaphônia" (Discussion de quelques arguments de Jonathan Barnes), Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 56 (2007): 499-519.

I haven't had the time to read this article yet, so I have no opinion about its quality. You can find it here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

NYU Skepticism Conference

As you may remember, in May I mentioned that, on November 8-9, there would be a another conference on skepticism organized by the NYU Department of Philosophy. Gianni Paganini has just let me know that the program is now complete. You can find it by clicking here. If you can, you should try to attend, since to all appearances it will be a great conference. The speakers and commentators include, among others, Paganini, Ernest Sosa, Robert Fogelin, Brian Leiter, Barry Stroud, and Catherine Wilson.

Update October 18: I forgot to say that all the papers will be posted here as they become available. So far you can find Leiter's paper on Nietzsche.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Webpage on Ancient Philosophy

Stéphane Marchand and Olivier Renaut have created Zétesis, an excellent webpage devoted to ancient philosophy, and hence also to ancient skepticism. It is the site of the "Association de doctorants et de jeunes chercheurs en philosophie ancienne et en sciences de l'antiquité".

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Blog

I just want to let you know about this new blog called "Epistemology@Edinburgh", which you can find here. One of the subjects that will be dealt with therein is skepticism.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ancient Skepticism and the Self

The book Ancient Philosophy of the Self (Springer, 2008), edited by Pauliina Remes and Juha Sihvola, features Richard Bett's "What Kind of Self Can a Greek Sceptic Have?". The online version of all the papers can be found here. I suppose that some of you may have access through your university network.

Monday, October 6, 2008

SSS Meeting

The program for the Society for Skeptical Studies meeting at the 2008 Eastern Division meeting of the APA is already available (go here). The speakers will be Otávio Bueno, Brian Ribeiro, and Joel Buenting.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

ANPOF Congress

On October 6-10 will take place the “XIII Encontro Nacional de Filosofia” organized by the Associação Nacional de Pós-graduação em Filosofia (ANPOF) of Brazil. There will be many talks on skepticism, both from a historical and from a systematic perspective. You can find out about the talks in the program, which can be found here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Isn't Something Missing?

A couple of weeks ago I read a review of the following book at BMCR:

Richard Sorabji & Robert W. Sharples (edd.), Greek and Roman Philosophy 100 BC-200 AD. 2 vols. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies. Supplement 94. London: Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, 2007.

I was really surprised by the absence of one or more chapters on Pyrrhonism as well as by the fact that the reviewer didn't say anything about this. Perhaps Sorabji provides an explanation in his introduction? But what could possibly be the reason for not including at least a chapter on Pyrrhonism?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sinnott-Armstrong's Moral Skepticism

The latest issue of The Philosophical Quarterly features a critical discussion of Walter Sinnott-Armstrong's Moral Skepticisms (OUP, 2006). Its author is Garrett Cullity (University of Adelaide). You can find the article here (if the link doesn't work, please let me know).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Handbook of Skepticism

The Oxford Handbook of Skepticism is finally available. Its price is U$S150, but at the moment it is possible to buy it at U$S120. For information, go here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Forthcoming Book on Ancient Skepticism

Next November Acumen will publish Harald Thorsrud's Ancient Scepticism, which provides an introduction to the subject. You can find information about the book here.

Hal is Assistant Professor at Agnes Scott College (Georgia). He has published a couple of fine papers on ancient skepticism:

"Is the Examined Life Worth Living? A Pyrrhonian Alternative," Apeiron 36 (2003): 229-249.

"Cicero on His Academic Predecessors: the Fallibilism of Arcesilaus and Carneades," Journal of the History of Philosophy 40 (2002): 1-18.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Conference in Venice

On September 23-24, at the Dipartimento di Filosofia e Teoria delle Scienze of the Università Ca’ Foscari-Venezia, Carlo Natali and Stefano Maso will organize the conference "La filosofia antica e i suoi metodi". There will be two papers on skepticism: Franco Trabattoni's "Lo scetticismo antico: la posizione di Platone" and Anna Maria Ioppolo's "Elenchos socratico e genesi della strategia argomentativa dell'Academia scettica". For more information, click here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Talk on Favorinus

Carlos Lévy (Université de Paris IV-Sorbonne) is going to deliver the paper "Le scepticisme de Favorinus, entre Académie et néopyrrhonisme" at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro on September 11 at 15.30. For more information, go here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Méthexis

From now on the ancient philosophy journal Méthexis will be edited by Franco Trabattoni (Università degli Studi di Milano) in collaboration with Mauro Bonazzi. This way there will be two ancient philosophy journals edited in Italy, namely, Méthexis and Elenchos.

The journal was founded by Conrado Eggers Lan (Universidad de Buenos Aires) and until now it has always been edited by Argentinian scholars. I don't really know why Marcelo Boeri and Alejandro Vigo are no longer the editors.

A couple of papers on skepticism have been published in Méthexis:

Richard Bett, "Reactions to Aristotle in the Greek Sceptical Tradition", Méthexis 12 (1999): 17-34.

Gail Fine, "Sceptical Dogmata: Outlines of Pyrrhonism I 13", Méthexis 13 (2000): 81-105

Anna-Maria Ioppolo, "Gli Accademici neoteroi nel secondo secolo d. C.", Méthexis 15 (2002): 45-70.

As far as I know, the papers published in Méthexis are not available online.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Paper on Pyrrhonism

I would like to recommend the following paper by Stéphane Marchand: "Y a-t-il une écriture sceptique?", in C. Denat (ed.) Au-delà des textes: la question de l'écriture philosophique (Presses Universitaires de Reims 2007). Stéphane works at the Université de Paris X-Nanterre and is finishing his PhD dissertation ("Évolution historique et identité philosophique du pyrrhonisme ancien").

Saturday, August 30, 2008

DeRose's Book Project

As some of you may know, Keith DeRose (Yale University) is working on Knowledge, Skepticism, and Context. From what I've seen on this page, this will be a most interesting book.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pyrrhonism and Buddhism

I've just found this new book: Pyrrhonism: How the Ancient Greeks Reinvented Buddhism (Lexington Books, 2008). Its author, Adrian Kuzminski, is supposed to be a research scholar in philosophy at Hartwick College (Oneonta, New York). Honestly, I don't know anything about him or this book, so this is not a recommendation. For information about the work, go here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Companion to Descartes

Last year Blackwell published A Companion to Descartes, edited by Janet Broughton and John Carriero. Among the contributions, there's a paper by Casey Perin entitled "Descartes and the Legacy of Ancient Skepticism" and a paper by David Owens entitled "Descartes's Use of Doubt". Casey's paper can be found on his webpage (see the list of specialists on the right). For the table of contents, go here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Forthcoming Book

Next year Luca Castagnoli (Durham University) is going to publish, at Cambridge University Press, The Logic of Ancient Self-Refutation: From Democritus to Augustine. I've taken a look at a very recent draft of the book and its third chapter is devoted to skepticism and self-refutation. This chapter, which I think is excellent, is a considerably revised and expanded version of Luca's "Self-bracketing Pyrrhonism", Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy (2000) 18: 263-328.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Books on Skepticism

The books Renaissance Scepticisms (edited by Paganini and Maia Neto) and The Oxford Handbook of Skepticism (edited by Greco) will not be published in August, as I said in previous posts. The latter will appear in September and the former in October.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Conference: Days 2 and 3

The conference ended on Friday but I didn't have much time to post. I'm happy with the results and the invited speakers told me so as well. They did a terrific job with their talks and the way they discussed the historical and philosophical issues at issue. Given that in Bs. As. I don't have the opportunity to discuss with specialists in Pyrrhonism, I found the experience fascinating and learned a lot. Also, this gave me the opportunity to meet some very cool people. Although the organization of the conference was exhausting, I hope I'll be able to organize another one in the future.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Conference: Day 1

The first day of the conference on Pyrrhonism was devoted to the ancient period. I think that the papers and the discussion were excellent. What was particularly interesting was that we not only discussed historical and textual issues, but also the philosophical problems raised by the Pyrrhonian outlook.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Pyrrhonian Conference

To those interested in the conference on Pyrrhonism: ten papers have already been uploaded here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Moral Psychology

Lately I haven't had much time to post. Now that I have a few minutes I'd like to recommend a work in three volumes entitled Moral Psychology, edited by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and published by the MIT Press in 2007-2008. The volumes are (i) The Evolution of Morality: Adaptations and Innateness, (ii) The Cognitive Science of Morality: Intuition and Diversity, (iii) The Neuroscience of Morality: Emotion, Brain Disorders, and Development. The reason I recommend this work is that some of the contributions deal directly or indirectly with moral skepticism. For information about the three volumes, click here, here and here, respectively.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Richard Popkin

Edited by Richard Popkin's son, next September Springer will publish The Legacies of Richard Popkin (International Archives of the History of Ideas 198). The book will be divided into five parts, the second of which will deal with Popkin and the skeptical tradition. For information, go here.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Conference Program

The program for the conference on Pyrrhonism to be held on August 6-8 in Buenos Aires is now complete. You can find it here or here. Some of the papers have already been uploaded.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Religious Skepticism

Last year J. L. Schellenberg (Mount Saint Vincent University) published The Wisdom to Doubt: A Justification of Religious Skepticism (Cornell University Press). You can find information about the book here. There is also a review by Stephen Wykstra and Timothy Perrine which has just appeared in Notre Dame Philosphical Reviews.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Conference on Plutarch

Today and tomorrow there is in Oxford a conference on Plutarch entitled "Plutarch and Philosophy - scholarship and/or dilettantism?" (the webpage is here). Mauro Bonazzi is going to deliver the paper "Plutarch on the Difference between the Academics and Pyrrhonists".

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Review of "Kant and Skepticism"

Anthony Brueckner's quite critical review of Michael Forster's Kant and Skepticism has just appeared in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Complete Translation of Sextus' Works

Emidio Spinelli is working – in collaboration with Mauro Bonazzi, Riccardo Chiaradonna, and Francesco Verde – on a complete Italian translation of Sextus Empiricus' works, which is supposed to be published by the Unione Tipografico-Editrice Torinese (UTET). Spinelli already published translations of Advesus Dogmaticos V (Against the Ethicists) and Adversus Mathematicos V (Against the Astrologers) in 1995 and 2000, respectively. Perhaps he is going to reproduce, with minor changes, these translations.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Special Issue of Les Études Philosophiques

The second issue of volume 84 of Les Études Philosophiques is devoted to "Le scepticisme chrétien (XVIème-XVIIème siècles)". The online contents of the journal can be found here, but this issue isn't online yet. However, I've found the table of contents elsewhere:

Frédéric Gabriel: "Présentation: Positions du «scepticisme chrétien»".

Emmanuel Naya: "Le «coup de Talon» sur l’impiété: scepticisme et vérité chrétienne au XVIème Siècle".

André Pessel: "L’Essay sceptique de Jean-Pierre Camus".

Lorenzo Bianchi: "«Mens regnum bona possidet»: scepticisme, fidéisme et naturalisme dans le Dialogue sur le sujet de la divinité de La Mothe Le Vayer".

José R. Maia Neto: "Huet n’est pas un sceptique chrétien".

Monday, June 23, 2008

Forthcoming book on Skepticism in the Renaissance

Next August, Springer will publish Renaissance Scepticisms, edited by José Maia Neto and Gianni Paganini. To read a description of the book and to see the table of contents, go here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Naess' "Scepticism"

At the end of 2005, Springer published The Selected Works of Arne Naess, in ten volumes. The second volume reprints Naess' famous book Scepticism, originally published in 1968 by Routledge & Kegan Paul. Unfortunately, it is not possible to buy individual volumes separately; one must buy the whole set, whose price is about 1,900 bucks. Naess seems to have been among the first contemporary thinkers/scholars to take Pyrrhonism seriously.

A final note: there's a very critical review by Barry Stroud which appeared in The Philosophical Review in 1971 (it is a review of the 1969 edition; the link is here). I wonder whether Stroud still thinks the same way about Pyrrhonism.

Conference on Inferential Internalism 2

Just a reminder: tomorrow begins the conference on inferential internalism organized by Andri Toendury at the University of Fribourg. The program, which you can find here, is complete now (there's been a change: Crispin Wright is not going to deliver a paper).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Moral Skepticism

The latest issue of The Philosophical Quarterly features Walter Sinnott-Armstrong's précis of his book Moral Skepticisms (to which I have referred here), discussions by Gerry Hough, Peter Baumann, and Martijn Blaauw, as well as Sinnott-Armstrong's reply. You'll also find paper on contextualism by John Greco.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Cicero's Academica

I've realized that last year I forgot to refer to Charles Brittain's Cicero: On Academic Scepticism (Hackett, 2006). As far as I can tell, the translation is very good and the introduction is excellent. (I wrote a review of it for BMCR.) Regarding the Academica, I should also mention (i) that Tobias Reinhardt is working on a critical edition and a philosophical and philological commentary (see here) to be published by Oxford University Press, and (ii) that Carlos Lévy is working on a project that will include a new edition of the text (by two scholars whose names I don't remember now) and a translation (by him) to be published (I think) by the Collection des Universitaires de France.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Aenesidemus' Heracliteanism

The latest issue of Rhizai features Mauro Bonazzi's critical review of both Roberto Polito's The Sceptical Road and Brigitte Pérez-Jean's Dogmatisme et scepticisme.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Paper on Arcesilaus

The first issue of volume 57 of Revue de métaphysique et de morale, which is devoted to Cicero, features a paper by Anna-Maria Ioppolo entitled "Arcésilas dans le Lucullus de Cicéron". For information about that issue, go here.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Janáček's Papers on Pyrrhonism

I've got excellent news for the students of ancient Pyrrhonism, since Walter de Gruyter has published this book: Karel Janáček, Studien zu Sextus Empiricus, Diogenes Laertius und zur pyrrhonischen Skepsis, edited by Jan Janda and Filip Karfík. The volume brings together fifty papers by Janáček, who was a key interpreter of Pyrrhonism, particularly from a philological point of view. (It's a real pity that my knowledge of German is so weak.) For information about the book, just click here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ioli's Paper

I recommend that those who will read Roberto Polito's paper referred to here first take a look at Roberta Ioli's "Agoge and Related Concepts in Sextus Empiricus", Siculorum Gymnasium 56 (2003): 401–28.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Conference on Inferential Internalism

On June 17-18, there will be a very interesting conference on inferential internalism at the University of Fribourg. It is organized by Andri Toendury and the speakers include Pascal Engel, Adam Leite, Jim Pryor, Josh Schechter, Toendury, and Crispin Wright. For information, go here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Oxford Handbook of Skepticism (Again)

You'll be glad to know that, on OUP's webpage, there's complete information about the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Skepticism edited by John Greco. There will be 26 essays, all by leading specialists. In principle, it will be released in August. Click here to go to the page.

Barnes and Frede Bibliographies

For those interested, on Andreas Schmidhauser's webpage there are Jonathan Barnes and Michael Frede bibliographies, which of course include several papers and books on ancient skepticism. Just click here.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Italian Conference

On June 12-14, there will be a conference at the University of Rome "La Sapienza", whose subject is "L'etica, la virtù et l'io" (ethics, virtue and the self). I think that the program isn't online yet, so if any of you want it, I can send it to you. Now, what I wanted to say is that the last talk will be Emidio Spinelli's "La distruzione dei valori. Il pirronismo antico e l’etica come problema". Emidio is an expert in Pyrrhonism and Sextus Empiricus' discussion of ethics, so if you're in Italy in June, you should go listen to him.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Paris IV and X

I'm leaving for Paris next Thursday, where I'm going to stay for almost a week. Besides attending the last session of Barnes' seminar on Sextus (May 29), I'm going to deliver an abridged version of a paper I've written on the Pyrrhonist's outlook on the law of non-contradiction at Paris IV (May 31) and a paper on argumentative persuasiveness in Pyrrhonism at Paris X (June 3). I hope that these will be good opportunities to test the strength and coherence of the ideas I put forward in those papers.

Update May 28:
On June 31, the venue of the conference "Certainty and Method" will actually be the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes à la Sorbonne, not the University of Paris IV. I should note that Carlos Lévy will present the paper, "La question de la certitude chez Favorinus".

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Edinburgh Skepticism Workshop and Conference

There's new information about the speakers and the program of both the workshop and the conference on skepticism that Duncan Pritchard is organizing in Edinburgh at the end of May and beginning of June. Go here and here, respectively.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lévy's New Book

Back in March, Carlos Lévy (Paris IV-Sorbonne) published Les scepticismes (PUF, collection Que sais-je?). I haven't got my hands on a copy yet, but I'm sure that it must be a fine book. For information, go here.

Update May 24:
Nassim Taleb (the autor of The Black Swan) has let me know that he's read the book and that it's excellent. I'll try to get a copy in the next days.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Neoplatonism and the History of Philosophy

Last week, from Tuesday 13 till Friday 16, there was at the University of Fribourg a conference on Proclus' Elementatio Theologica and on the Liber de Causis. More precisely, in the morning, Philippe Hoffmann and Cristina d'Ancona Costa offered a detailed analysis of those texts and, in the afternoon, PhD students from Fribourg, Lausanne, and Genève delivered papers on their areas of research. Now, the two key speakers discussed different Neoplatonic theories and these discussions made me think about a couple of things. First, I couldn't help thinking that a Pyrrhonist could have had found, in those metaphysical doctrines, a lot of material to which he could have applied his argumentative weapons very easily.

My second remark refers to something which is not new at all. At the end of the conference, I dared to say something for the first time. I told the two key speakers that, as far as I could see, their analyses had been brilliant from a historical and philological point of view and that their knowledge of the texts was impressive. That said, I asked them if they could say something, from a strictly philosophical point of view, about the doctrines or theories expounded in the texts they had examined. In other words, I asked them if they could tell me something about the epistemic status, as it were, of the theories they had discussed. Of course, I didn't get an answer to my question. My question was in fact very simple given that the event had been organized by a philosophy department. I mean, it should be the question that anyone working in the field of philosophy should ask. Note that I'm not saying that I myself can think philosophically, since I believe that most of the things I've ever written are more historical than systematic. But at least I don't lie to myself by saying that I'm doing real philosophy. However, during the conference I did hear the word "philosophical" and its cognates so many times that I was kind of upset. Of course, this leads to the question about the status of the history of philosophy. My own view is just that one of the main (if not the main) functions of this discipline is the discussion of problems: either to see what others had to say about a problem one is currently thinking about or to be aware of philosophical problems one hasn't thought of yet. I think that good examples of this kind of approach may be Jonathan Barnes, Michael Frede, Myles Burnyeat and, perhaps, Ernest Sosa.

An objection I've often heard is that one becomes less rigurous when one approaches past philosophical systems that way. This is a huge mistake. If one bears in mind the methodological distinction between analyzing a text or a system and discussing a problem, there should be no methodological problem. I mean, I can't stand those scholars who attribute to Parmenides or Heraclitus doctrines expounded in their 800-page books. They should say: reading those Presocratics makes me think about certain things so I construct a given philosophical theory. But insofar as one keeps the distinction in place, one is allowed to discuss or "dialogue" with past philosophers.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Burnyeat's “Conflicting Appearances”

I finally decided to see if I could find Myles Burnyeat's well-known paper “Conflicting Appearances,” published in the Proceedings of the British Academy in 1979. I've found a webpage that contains the PDF of the article: here is the link. [Update 30 Nov. 2017: the article can now be downloaded for free.]

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Another NYU Skepticism Conference

Definitely this is the year for skepticism. Indeed, I've found out that the NYU Philosophy Department is organizing another conference on skepticism to be held in New York in November. It will be divided into five sessions: four on historical figures - namely, Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Nietzsche - and one on contemporary skepticism.

Guess what! Unlike what happens in the case of the top-secret NYU Florence conference which will take place in June, we do have information about the New York conference and it is also possible to register: just go here (to see the program, click on "Skepticism").

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Two Papers on Skepticism

I've just noticed that two articles on skepticism have been published recently:

- Roberto Polito, 'Was Skepticism a Philosophy? Reception, Self-Definition, Internal Conflicts', Classical Philology 102 (2007).

- Damian Caluori, 'The Scepticism of Francisco Sanchez', Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 89 (2007).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Seminar on Sextus in Paris

Stéphane Marchand has let me know about a very interesting seminar on Sextus given by Jonathan Barnes at the Department of Philosophy of the Ecole Normale Supérieure. As you probably know, Barnes is a leading specialist in Pyrrhonism. The following session is next Thursday and the last one will be on the 29th of May - I'll try to attend the last session. Information about this seminar can be found here.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Pyrrhonism at the University of Paris X

I've just found out that, at the Université de Paris X-Nanterre, there is a group working on Sextus Empiricus' Pyrrhonism. The group includes Baptiste Bondu-Maugein, Stéphane Marchand, and Paula El-Jaick. Their purpose is to compose a complete lexicon of the most important skeptical notions found in Sextus' writings. For information, go here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fribourg

Next Sunday I'm leaving for Fribourg (Switzerland), where I'll be a visiting researcher for about two months.

During this stay in Europe, I hope I'll be able to deliver a couple of papers on Sextan Pyrrhonism. This would be important because here in Argentina there are few people working on skepticism in general - I don't know anyone working on Pyrrhonism in particular. Hence, it is not possible to discuss with others. I hope this situation will start to change with the conference that will take place in Buenos Aires in August.

If you know of any interesting event taking place in May or June in Europe, please let me know.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pothius on Aenesidemus

Tomorrow, at the Faculty of Classics of the University of Cambridge, Roberto Polito will deliver a paper entitled "Photius on Aenesidemus (Bibl. 170a 28-38): philosophical and textual aporiai." This will take place at 1-2 pm in room 1.04.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

New Issue of Sképsis

Good news: the second issue of the Brazilian journal Sképsis has just appeared. You can find the table of contents here. Note that you can download the papers.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

XI Symposium Hellenisticum

As you may probably know, the Eleventh Symposium Hellenisticum took place last year in Delphi. Its topic was 'Sextus Empiricus and Ancient Physics'. A complete and very interesting report can be found here. It seems that they're preparing a collective volume which will be published (in 2009?) by Cambridge University Press.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Oxford Handbook of Skepticism

I've just found out that another chapter of the Oxford Handbook of Skepticism (edited by Greco) is 'The Pyrrhonian Problematic' by Markus Lammenranta (University of Helsinki). A pdf file of this paper can be found on Markus' webpage.

Update April 24: Kent Gustavsson has just let me know that, besides Markus' paper and the ten essays I mention here, there will also be a piece by Alan Millar, "Disjunctivism and Skepticism".

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

APA Central Division Meeting

I've found a couple of things you might find interesting:

Thursday 17

GII-9. Hume Society 7:30-10:35 p.m. Place: TBA
Topic: Hume on Skepticism and Moral Distinctions

Chair: Karánn Durland (Austin College)

Speakers:

John Corvino (Wayne State): “Hume on the ‘Reality’ of Moral Distinctions”

Brian Ribeiro (University of Tennessee–Chattanooga): “Hume’s Changing Views on the ‘Durability’ of Skepticism”

Friday 18

II-C. Author Meets Critics: Duncan Pritchard, Epistemic Luck 9:00 a.m.-Noon

Chair: Mylan Engel, Jr. (Northern Illinois University)

Critics: Ernest Sosa (Rutgers University)
Linda Zagzebski (University of Oklahoma)
Jonathan L. Kvanvig (Baylor University)

Author: Duncan Pritchard (University of Stirling)

As you probably know, Brian Ribeiro has written several fine articles on skepticism and Duncan's excellent book discusses, among other things, external world skepticism and Pyrrhonism.

Edit: Brian has just let me know that there has been a time change. So I've modified the information and also added that John Corvino is the other speaker. The info on the APA website is a little inaccurate.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Florence Skepticism Conference

As you might remember, back in November I wrote a post saying that the NYU philosophy department was going to hold a conference on skepticism in Florence next June. Quite a few people then wrote me asking for information about the program. I sent a message to that department and it seemed that they were going to keep me posted, which has not been the case. I made a last try last week. This time they answered my e-mail saying that the conference is open only to the invited participants, but didn't say a word about the program. I do not understand at all why the program for the conference is such a secret and why they just don't tell me that they don't want to give me that information. Honestly, I find their reluctance a little ridiculous.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sosa's A Virtue Epistemology

As you might know, last year Ernest Sosa (Rutgers) published the first wolume of his A Virtue Epistemology - Apt Belief and Reflective Knowledge, vol. I (Oxford University Press). Needless to say, in this book Sosa deals with skepticism. For information, go here.

The second volume will appear next year. Sosa is going to present a couple of its chapters at the Wisconsin Epistemology Conference in May. If you're interested, click here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pyrrhonism and Action

This morning, Jason Stanley (Rutgers University) delivered a paper entitled 'Knowledge and Action' at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Buenos Aires. Therein he defends the the following principles:

The Action-Knowledge Principle: Treat the proposition that p as a reason for acting only if you know that p.

The Reason-Knowledge Principle: Where one's choice is p-dependent, it is appropiate to treat the proposition that p as a reason for acting iff you know that p.

He formulates both principles by reflecting on what people actually say in ordinary life. One of the examples he gives is the following: 'Suppose John decides not to buy health insurance anymore, reasoning that he is healthy enough. He calls his mother to report excitedly on his money-saving decision. His mother can berate him for not buying the insurance, by appealing to the fact that he doesn't know that he won't fall ill'. All the examples Stanley gives describe situations in which one criticizes a person's action for not knowing that upon which he bases his decision to perform that action. Therefore, he seems to derive normative claims from a description of what we ordinarily say. Insofar as his claims are normative, what he means is that, if you do not know p but act on the basis of p, your action is not rational.

Now, at one point I asked Stanley: 'Suppose that you come accross a Pyrrhonian skeptic. What would you say to him? Would you tell him (i) that when he acts he is not rational or (ii) that, despite what he says, he does have beliefs and does know lots of things?'. His answer was that the Pyrrhonist does know what he says he doesn't know. It seems that people consider it obvious that Pyrrhonism is not tenable because it is not possible to act on the basis of a reason (I'm using this term loosely) without believing or knowing something. That is, the reason for performing a given action must be a belief or a piece of knowledge. But is it that obvious? It sometimes appears to me that people dismiss Pyrrhonism without carefully reflecting on its conceptual and argumentative resources.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Handbook of Skepticism

It seems that the Oxford Handbook of Skepticism, edited by John Greco, will be published in October. According to Amazon, it will include twenty-six chapters. I've already mentioned ten of them in a previous post.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Kant and Cartesian Skepticism

I've just received a copy of this book by Luigi Caranti: The Scandal of Philosophy: The Kantian Critique of Cartesian Skepticism (University of Toronto Press, 2007). For information, click here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Conference Update

I've just updated the provisional program for the August conference on Pyrrhonism to be held in Buenos Aires. It can be found here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Moral Skepticism - Part II


The other excellent book dealing (in part) with moral skepticism I wanted to talk about is Richard Joyce's The Evolution of Morality (MIT Press, 2006). Joyce examines whether morality is innate in the sense of whether it ‘can be given adaptive explanation in genetic terms: whether the present-day existence of the trait is to be explained by reference to a genotype having granted our ancestors reproductive advantage’ (2). Joyce arrives at the conclusion that morality is innate, although he recognizes that the empirical evidence available does not allow us to draw a conclusion with any certainty, so that one cannot completely rule out the possibility that moral thinking is a culturally generated capacity. He thus endorses only provisionally, as a plausible and testable hypothesis, the view that morality is an adaptation produced by biological natural selection. What are the metaethical implications of accepting the evolutionary hypothesis? He maintains that this hypothesis shows that our moral beliefs are, not false, but epistemically unjustified, i.e., to accept that our tendency to make moral judgments is the product of biological natural selection leads, not to moral nihilism, but to moral agnosticism: we cannot say whether moral beliefs are true or false. The reason is that it is possible that the formation of beliefs about moral rightness and wrongness may have served to enhance our ancestors’ fitness independently of whether there existed any moral properties or facts.

It is worth noting that Joyce is not himself a moral agnostic but a moral nihilist. I think that a manifestation of his moral nihilism is found in his adoption of moral projectivism as a plausible and testable hypothesis, since this metaethical position denies the existence of moral properties or facts. Now, given his claim that the thesis of morality being the result of natural selection suggests moral projectivism, it appears that the provisional acceptance of that thesis would lead to moral nihilism rather than to moral agnosticism. This is why I perceive a certain vacillation in Joyce as to what metaethical implications may be drawn from the evolutionary hypothesis.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Skepticism at the APA Pacific Division Meeting

Just a quick reminder: at the APA meeting there will be (i) a colloquium on skepticism on Wednesday, (ii) a meeting of the Society for Skeptical Studies on Thursday, and (iii) a special session on Pyrrhonism in Latin America on Saturday. The information for (i) and (iii) is found here and the program for (ii) is found here.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

New Issue of Dois Pontos

The most recent issue of the Brazilian journal Dois Pontos is devoted to skepticism. Its editor is Luiz Alves Eva. Since the table of contents isn't online yet, I'll reproduce it here (I thank Roberto Bolzani for having sent me a copy of this issue):

- Sébastien Charles: 'O solipsismo como forma extrema de ceticismo no Século das Luzes'.

- Benoît Castelnérac: 'O Sócrates de Platão e os limites do intelectualismo na ética'.

- Roberto Bolzani Filho: 'Entre la crítica ao ceticismo e uma filosofia positiva: considerações a partir de "Ceticismo dogmático e dogmatismo sem dogmas" de Plínio J. Smith'.

- Alexandre Machado: 'Nota sobre a dúvida cartesiana'.

- Flavio Williges: 'A função das dúvidas céticas nas Meditações de Descartes'.

- Ana Paula Grillo El-Jaick: 'Sobre Contra os Gramáticos, de Sexto Empírico'.

- Marcos Bulção Nascimento: 'Relatividade ontológica e subdeterminação; Naturalismo e Pirronismo'.

- Katarina Maurer Wolter: 'Um estudo sobre la relação entre filosofia cética e criação ensaística em Michel de Montaigne'.

- Paulo Jonas de Lima Piva: 'O jovem Diderot e o ceticismo dos Pensamentos'.

- Livia Guimaraes: 'Simpatia, moral e conhecimento na filosofia de Hume'.

- Luiz Fernando Barrére Martin: 'Alguns aspectos da compreensão hegeliana do ceticismo antigo a partir da crítica ao ceticismo de Gottlob Ernst Schulze'.

- Mauricio Pagotto Marsola: 'Plotino e o ceticismo'.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Moral Skepticism - Part I

About a week ago, I finished the reviews of a couple of excellent books which deal with moral skepticism. In this post, I'll refer to the first of them: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Moral Skepticisms (Oxford University Press, 2006). The book examines the different types of moral skepticism and assesses the force of the main replies to moral skeptical arguments. Although Sinnott-Armstrong's own position is skeptical, it is not a form of moral nihilism or ontological moral skepticism, which are probably the most common types of moral skepticism adopted in contemporary philosophy. Rather, his is a ‘moderate moral skepticism’: he rejects that our moral beliefs are justified absolutely or without qualification, but accepts that they may be partially justified. The key lies in the notion of ‘contrast class’, which is a set of propositions which are incompatible with each other, so that if one is justified in believing a proposition P out of a contrast class C, it is because one has grounds that rule out all the other propositions of C but not P. A belief may be, at the same time, justified out of one contrast class, but not out of another. Thus, even though moral beliefs cannot be justified out of the contrast class which includes moral nihilism as a member – because this position cannot be refuted without begging the question – they can sometimes be justified out of limited contrast classes which do not include moral nihilism or other extreme positions. The question that naturally arises is which contrast class is really relevant. Sinnott-Armstrong maintains that this question is impossible to answer, so he suspends judgment about which contrast class, if any, is really relevant, even in a particular context. This is why he describes himself as a meta-skeptic about real relevance or as a ‘classy Pyrrhonist’. In sum, moral beliefs can be justified or unjustified, not absolutely, but solely relative to different contrast classes. Given that Sinnott-Armstrong suspends judgment about real relevance, it seems to me that his position is a sort of epistemic relativism about moral beliefs. Indeed, the only epistemic justification available is that which is relative to contrast classes, so that the truth-value of the propositions that express our moral beliefs is entirely relative to them. My objections have to do (i) with whether his position can be legitimately labeled 'Pyrrhonian', and (ii) with the fact that he is an 'insulator', since he thinks that skepticism cannot affect our substantive moral beliefs.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Black Swan


I'm reading a book I was sent a couple of weeks ago: Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Random House, 2007). What is a black swan? It's an event with three attributes: (i) it is unpredictable, because nothing in the past points to its occurence, (ii) it carries an extreme impact, and (iii) after its occurence, we offer explanations of it which give us the misleading impression that it was predictable after all. An example is the terrorist attack of September 11. Though Taleb it is not a 'professional' philosopher, he does deal with important philosophical matters, such as the problem of induction. The style is straightforward and witty, and the ideas are provocative and insightful. He defines himself as an Empirical skeptic in the tradition of the ancient medical Empiricists and the ancient Pyrrhonists. His is a moderate skepticism with practical goals. For information about the author and the book, click here and here, respectively.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Epistemic Relativism

One of the issues of the journal of social epistemology Episteme is devoted to epistemic relativism. Among the contributors are Paul Boghossian, Ram Neta, and Michael Williams. I highly recommend it. Click here to see the issue.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Pyrrhonian Conference Update

Since my last post on the conference on Pyrrhonism to be held next August in Buenos Aires, other speakers have confirmed their participation, namely, Otávio Bueno (University of Miami) and Lorenzo Corti (Fonds National Suisse de la Recherche Scientifique). Additional speakers will be confirmed presently. The updated conference website can be found here. Among other things, you'll find the provisional program.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Conference on Epistemic Agency

In Duncan's blog Epistemic Value I've seen a reference to a conference on epistemic agency which will be held next April at the Université de Genève. From the description of the conference, it seems that it may be of interest to those working on skepticism. It is also worth noting that the conference will follow a one-week visit by John Greco, who will give three lectures on epistemic normativity. For information, go here.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Book on Mackie's Moral Error Theory

Richard Joyce and Simon Kirchin are editing A World Without Values: Essays on John Mackie's Moral Error Theory (forthcoming at Springer). The purpose of this volume is to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Mackie’s Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong (Penguin, 1977). As you probably know, Mackie espoused a position usually called 'ontological moral skepticism' or 'skepticism about moral reality'.

The contributors include John Burgess, David Copp, Dan Demetriou, Richard Garner, Joyce, Kirchin, Don Loeb, Graham Oddie, David Phillips, Charles Pigden, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Michael Smith, and Caroline West.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Special Issue of Philosophiques

The forthcoming issue of the Canadian journal Philosophiques is a double topic issue. The topics are "Les valeurs de l'ironie" and "Le scepticisme à l'âge classique". This latter part is edited by Sébastien Charles (Université de Sherbrooke). The contributors are Frédéric Brahami, Rodrigo Brandão, Jean-Pierre Cavaillé, Sébastien Charles, Chris Laursen, Thomas Lennon, José Maia Neto, and Gianni Paganini. You'll find the topic description and the table of contents here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

ANPOF Meeting

The "XIII Encontro Nacional de Filosofia" of the Associação Nacional de Pós-graduação em Filosofia (ANPOF) of Brazil will be held October 6-10 in the city of Canela, Rio Grande do Sul. The abstract submission deadline is February 29. For more information, go here.

At this meeting, several scholars who are part of (or are related to) the working group "Ceticismo" of the ANPOF will give papers either about skepticism in contemporary philosophy or about the history of skepticism. For information about this group, click here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Fogelin's New Book Project

Robert Fogelin is working on a new book: Pyrrhonian Reflections on Meaning and Truth. It will be the companion to his well-known Pyrrhonian Reflections on Knowledge and Justification (OUP, 1994), in which he examines how the argumentative strategies found in Sextus Empiricus’ works can be applied to present-day epistemological debates. He claims that the contemporary epistemological theories he considers – namely, foundationalism and coherentism – cannot meet the challenge posed by the Modes of Agrippa. As you probably know, Fogelin describes his own outlook as neo-Pyrrhonian.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Paganini's Forthcoming Book

Next October Vrin will publish Gianni Paganini's Skepsis: Le débat des modernes sur le scepticisme: Montaigne – Le Vayer – Campanella - Hobbes – Descartes – Bayle. As a preview, I copy the contents - which to the best of my knowledge can't be found on the web:

Chap. I
La redécouverte du phénomène
Montaigne vs Sanches

1. « Qu’il n’y a point de science » : Montaigne contre Sanches
2. Deux critiques de la connaissance sensible
3. L’aristotélisme « implicite » de Sanches et le paradigme de la « normalité »
4. Montaigne: l’abandon de la species et la découverte du problème sceptique
5. L’invention de l’apparence. Montaigne et le commentaire des Hypotyposes par Estienne
6. Le phénomène comme mixte
7. L’introduction du doute dans la modernité

Chap. II
Le scepticisme des anciens et des modernes
La Mothe Le Vayer et le “Pyrrhonisme tout pur”

1. Sources antiques, problèmes modernes
2. L’ “obstinée varieté” de la nature: le douteur et le “joueur de marionettes”
3. Le sceptique et les “novateurs”
4. « Les phénomènes de notre douteuse éthique »
5. Scepticisme et critique de l’imposture: l’ “illusion” du prodige
6. “Parallèles” insidieux
7. La damnation de Pyrrhon et l’athéisme de Sexte

Chap. III
Le scepticisme et la “métaphysique nouvelle”
Tommaso Campanella, Marin Mersenne et René Descartes

1. Campanella et les doutes du scepticisme
2. Rêve et veille, sagesse et folie
3: Le dépassement du scepticisme : perception de la passion et qualités premières de l’être
4. Scientia modica et exilis
5. Toujours la connaissance est connaissance de soi
6. L’influence cachée : Mersenne
7. L’influence niée : Descartes
8. Autour du cogito
9. La primauté du sentir et l’expérience de soi

Chap. IV
Phénomènes et corps
Thomas Hobbes, le scepticisme continental et la réforme de la “philosophie première”

1. Apparitions unto us et world without us
2. La scène primitive du scepticisme
3. Lectures anciennes et modernes
4. Unica vera basis rerum : “fantasmes” et corps en mouvement
5. Hobbes et le scepticisme de la première Méditation
6. Protagoras, Théétète et la doctrine des phénomènes
7. Les choses “occultes” et leurs signes : Hobbes et Gassendi
8. Aller au delà des “fantasmes” : la fonction de la causalité
9. Songe et veille : fantasmes sans corps et corps sans fantasmes
10. Accidents, phénomènes et conjectures rationnelles : la solution du De corpore

Chap. V
Du bon usage du doute
Descartes et les sceptiques modernes

1. Le scepticisme des anciens : une “soupe rechauffée” ?
2. Descartes, “les sceptiques d’aujourd’hui” et la méthode des “apparences”
3. Le modèle des “athées sceptiques”
4. “Ces sceptiques qui vont au-delà de toutes les limites du douter” : doute cartésien et doute libertin
5. “Irrésolution” libertine, “résolution” cartésienne
6. Le doute dans les Regulae : Socrate sceptique
7. “L’ignorance de Socrate ou l’incertitude des Pyrrhoniens” : le “doute universel” dans la Recherche de la vérité
8. La logique du doute
9. Descartes et Sanches : scepticisme et connaissance de soi
10. Interroger le contexte

Chap. VI
Après Descartes
Scepticisme, véracité et omnipotence divines chez Bayle

1. Les origines du scepticisme: la “mauvaise chute” de Xénophane
2. L’existence idéale des objets mathématiques
3. La réduction aux phénomènes : Bayle, Foucher, Leibniz
4. Omnipotence et tromperie: origines médiévales et débats calvinistes
5. Le contexte cartésien : le problème de la garantie de la véracité divine
6. Le contexte post-cartésien : Bayle et le débat entre Malebranche et Arnauld sur l’existence des corps
7. L’impossibilité de la théodicée de l’erreur

Friday, February 8, 2008

Epistemology Conference

Juan Comesaña is organizing the Wisconsin Epistemology Conference, which will be held next May. The speakers include Earl Conee, Richard Feldman, Alvin Goldman, Ernest Sosa, and Timothy Williamson. You can find the conference website here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tenth Symposium Hellenisticum

Good news: the Proceedings of the Tenth Symposium Hellenisticum have been published.

A.M. Ioppolo and D.N. Sedley (eds.), Pyrrhonists, Praticians, Platonizers. Hellenistic philosophy in the period 155–86 BC. Tenth Symposium Hellenisticum. Elenchos 47. Napoli: Bibliopolis, 2007.

Among the contributions bearing directly or indirectly upon skepticism, we find:

Julia Annas, "Carneades’ Classification of Ethical Theories".

Anna Maria Ioppolo, "L'assenso nella filosofia di Clitomaco: un problema di linguaggio?"

Malcolm Schofield, "Aenesidemus: Pyrrhonist and «Heraclitean»".

For more information, click here.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

NYU Conference

It has proved very difficult to obtain more detailed information about the NYU conference on skepticism that will take place in Florence next June. So, if anyone knows something about the speakers and their talks, please let me know by writing a comment or sending me an e-mail.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

APA: Pyrrhonism in Latin America

I've found this special session in the 2008 Pacific Division Meeting Program:

Special Session Arranged by the APA Committee on Hispanics
9:00-Noon, Location TBA

Topic: Pyrrhonism in Latin America

Speakers:

Robert Fogelin (Dartmouth College)
“Inapprehensibility”

Otávio Bueno (University of Miami)
“Pyrrhonism: Old and New”

Michael Williams (Johns Hopkins University)
“Two Forms of Skepticism”

Saturday, January 26, 2008

New Book

Roberto Bolzani has informed me that last year Oswaldo Porchat Pereira published Rumo ao Ceticismo, a volume which collects his papers on skepticism from 1969 to 2005. Porchat is a Brazilian scholar responsible for the current serious interest in skepticism among a large number of Brazilian researchers. He describes his own position as neo-Pyrrhonian. Information about the book can be found here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Society for Skeptical Studies Meeting

The next meeting of the Society for Skeptical Studies will be held next March at the Pacific Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association. The speakers will be James Beebe, Joe Ulatowski, Otávio Bueno, and Richard Greene. For information about the program, go here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Pyrrhonian Conference

So far there are ten confirmed speakers for the conference on Pyrrhonism that will take place in Buenos Aires. In alphabetical order, they are: Richard Bett, Juan Comesaña, Sylvia Giaconti, Plínio Junqueira Smith, Peter Klein, Diego Machuca, Roberto Polito, Ernesto Sosa, Svavar Svavarsson, and Michael Williams.

The conference will be held August 6-8. However, if the number of speakers increases, I might have to add another day. We'll see...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Festschrift for Myles Burnyeat

I've just seen that back in December Oxford University Press published Maieusis: Essays in Ancient Philosophy in Honour of Myles Burnyeat. This information is based upon the UK website; the US website indicates that it will be published January 28.

As most of you probably know, Burnyeat is one of the leading specialists in ancient Pyrrhonism, even though, to the best of my knowledge, he hasn't been working on skeptical philosophy lately.

One of the essays is Jonathan Barnes' "Sextan scepticism". I'm eager to read it, but I'll have to wait to get my hands on a copy. There's another essay, by Jim Hankinson, entitled "Self-refutation and the sorites". I assume that, in this paper, Jim in part deals with skepticism.

For information about the book, go here.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Conference Update

The website of the conference on Pyrrhonism has been updated. We now have the dates and the list of the confirmed speakers as of this point in January. Click here to see the page.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sextus's Against the Logicians

At last my review of Richard Bett's translation of Sextus Empiricus' Against the Logicians has been published in Bryn Mawr Classical Review. If you are interested in reading it, just click here (you will probably have to change the Greek display to read some parts). Any criticisms of my arguments are welcome.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Another Conference on Skepticism

I've just read in Duncan Pritchard's blog that a conference on skepticism will be held May 31st-June 1st, 2008 at the University of Edinburgh. Information can be found here.

This seems to be a good year for skeptical studies, since there will be three conferences on skepticism: the one just mentioned, the New York University Conference that will be held in June in Florence, and the Conference on Pyrrhonism that will take place in August in Buenos Aires.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Michael Williams on Ancient Pyrrhonism

Since I'm working on a couple of papers on Sextus' Pyrrhonism, I've reread Michael Williams' "Scepticism Without Theory", The Review of Metaphysics 41 (1988): 547-588. It's a fine article, so if you have access to that issue of the journal, I highly recommend that you take a look at it.

Williams argues that the Pyrrhonist has no theoretical or epistemological commitments, which explains why ancient Pyrrhonism, unlike modern and contemporary forms of skepticism, is not based upon a few general skeptical arguments, but applies the "method of opposition" to particular conflicts. This also explains why the Pyrrhonist restricts himself to reporting what has happened to him so far and goes on investigating, instead of claiming that knowledge or apprehension is impossible. Like myself, you will probably ask "What about the Modes of Agrippa? Aren't they general epistemological arguments?" According to Williams, the Agrippan Modes do not ground or explain the Pyrrhonian method of opposition but "instantiate it within epistemology" (p. 579). That is to say, the Pyrrhonist employs those Modes, not because he is committed to them, but only to counter the Dogmatists' epistemological theories, thereby inducing suspension of judgment. This is, of course, just a sketch of the paper, in which Williams also attempts to identify the reasons for the difference between Pyrrhonism and post-Cartesian skepticism.