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


Robert Fogelin (Dartmouth College)

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.