Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bibliography on Skepticism

I've finally started working on a small project, namely, a bibliography on skepticism. So far, I have just made a long list of works which is up-to-date but still very incomplete. Also, my idea is to divide it into at least four sections: ancient skepticism, medieval skepticism, modern skepticism, and contemporary skepticism. This provisional bibliography can be found here.

Update 02/01/2010: the bibliography is now divided into four parts, and I've added a few more books and papers. It will take me a while to make it relatively complete.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Justification Revisited Conference

Episteme - the Epistemology research group in Geneva will hold the "Justification Revisited Conference" in Geneva on March 25th-27th 2010. This forms part of the Programme FNS connaissance, raison et normes.

Conference Theme

Post Gettier epistemology and the difficulty of analysing knowledge have often led to scepticism about the notion of justification. It has suggested that one should either move beyond justification or simply get rid of this notion within epistemology. But is the notion of justification useless ? The aim of this conference is to try to reformulate these questions and to try to assess the credentials and the chances of a theory of justification for contemporary epistemology. Some of the key questions and issues to be considered in this area include:

- Is there room for the notion of justification if knowledge turns out to be unalysable ?

- What are the relationships between epistemic justification and other kinds of justification (in particular in the ethical case)?

- Is the notion of justification hopelessly subjective?

- What are the relationships between evidence and justification ?

- How can we draw the line between internalist and externalist conceptions of justification?

-To what extent should the traditional debate between foundationalists and coherentists be thought of as standing at an impasse?

Invited speakers: Jessica Brown (University of St Andrews), Richard Fumerton (The University of Iowa), Adam Leite (Indiana University), Jonathan Sutton (Auburn University), Matthias Steup (Purdue University). The conference is organised by Anne Meylan and Episteme within the FNS project Knowledge, Reasons and Norms.

Attendance is free and everybody is welcome.


We cordially invite you to submit a 500 word abstract on any topic relevant to the conference theme. Please prepare your abstract for anonymous review. Abstracts may be submitted (as plain text, MS Word, Pages, or pdf files) to the following e-mail address: justificationrevisited@gmail.com. If you prefer to use regular mail please address your submission to: Anne Meylan Department of Philosophy University of Geneva 5. rue de Candolle 1211 Genève 4 Switzerland


Abstracts should be submitted to the conference organizers by January 18th, 2010. Notification of acceptance / rejection: January 31st, 2010.

Financial Help

The three best submissions coming from Ph.D. students will be rewarded by having their travel and accommodation costs (at least partially) covered.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Book Review

The latest issue of the British Journal for the History of Philosophy features Michael Hickson's review of Gianni Paganini's Skepsis. Le débat des modernes sur le scepticisme (Vrin, 2008). To access the review, click here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Galen and Skepticism

I'm rereading a paper by Ioppolo in which she refers to Phillip De Lacy's "Galen's Response to Skepticism", Illinois Classical Studies 16 (1991). I had read about this paper before, but never tried to find a copy. I've just googled it and found a site where you can download it. If you're interested, just click here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Review of DeRose's Book

Jonathan Ichikawa's review of Keith DeRose's The Case for Contextualism: Knowledge, Skepticism, and Context, Vol. 1 (OUP, 2009) has just appeared in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Friday, December 4, 2009

SSS Meeting

This is the program for the session of the Society for Skeptical Studies at the Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association:

Tuesday, 28 December, 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

Chair: Patrick Hawley (Hong Kong University)


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

Brian Ribeiro (University of Tennessee–Chattanooga): “Skepticism and Epistemic Akrasia”

Shawn Graves (Cedarville University): “Disagreements and Bootstrapping”

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Book on Pyrrhonism

In February, I wrote a post saying that Casey Perin (University of Massachusetts at Amherst) was working on the book The Demands of Reason: An Essay on Pyrrhonian Scepticism. It now seems that it will be published next May by OUP. For those interested, I've found the following description of its subject matter:

"Sextus Empiricus' Outlines of Pyrrhonism is one of the most important and influential texts in the history of Greek philosophy. In The Demands of Reason Casey Perin exams those aspects of Pyrrhonian Scepticism as Sextus describes it in the Outlines that are of special philosophical significance: its commitment to the search for truth and to certain principles of rationality, its scope, and its consequences for action and agency. Perin argues that the Sceptic is engaged in the search for truth and that since this is so, the Sceptic aims to satisfy certain basic rational requirements. He explains how the fact that the Sceptic has this aim makes it necessary, as Sextus says it is, for the Sceptic to suspend judgment under certain conditions. Perin defends an interpretation of the scope of Scepticism according to which the Sceptic has no beliefs about how things are rather than merely appear to him to be. He then explores whether, and how, Sextus can respond to the objection that since the Sceptic lacks beliefs of this kind, he cannot act and Scepticism is not, as Sextus claims it is, a possible way of life."

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Book

Lorenzo Corti's book Scepticisme et langage has finally been published by Vrin. For information, go here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Middle Platonism and Skepticism

Since I'm working on a paper on ancient skepticism, I've been reading several essays on the presence of Academic skepticism and the responses to it in the so-called 'Middle Platonists'. There's increasing interest in this subject among scholars working on philosophy in the early imperial period. I thought some of you might be interested in a list of some of the papers and books on the topic:

J. Opsomer, “Favorinus versus Epictetus on the Philosophical Heritage of Plutarch. A Debate on Epistemology”, in J. Mossman (ed.), Plutarch and his Intellectual World. London–Swansea: Duckworth–Classical Press of Wales, 1997.

Opsomer, In Search of the Truth: Academic Tendencies in Middle Platonism. Brussels: Koninklijke Academie voor Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten van Belgie, 1998.

M. Bonazzi, Academici e Platonici. Il dibattito antico sullo scetticismo di Platone. Milano: Led, 2003.

Bonazzi, “Contro la rappresentazione sensibile: Plutarco tra l’Academia e il platonismo”, Elenchos 25 (2004).

Opsomer, “Plutarch’s Platonism Revisited”, and G. Boys-Stones, “Alcinous, Didaskalikos 4: in Defence of Platonism”. Both papers appear in a collective volume edited by M. Bonazzi and V. Celluprica, L’eredità platonica. Studi sul platonismo da Arcesilao a Proclo. Napoli: Bibliopolis, 2005.

C. Brittain, “Middle Platonists on Academic Scepticism”, in R. Sharples & R. Sorabji (eds.), Greek & Roman Philosophy 100 BC–200 AD, vol. II. London: Institute of Classical Studies, 2007.

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Article

The latest issue of Philosophy and Phenomenological Research features James Beebe's "The Abductivist Reply to Skepticism". Here's the abstract:

"Abductivists claim that explanatory considerations (e.g., simplicity, parsimony, explanatory breadth, etc.) favor belief in the external world over skeptical hypotheses involving evil demons and brains in vats. After showing how most versions of abductivism succumb fairly easily to obvious and fatal objections, I explain how rationalist versions of abductivism can avoid these difficulties. I then discuss the most pressing challenges facing abductivist appeals to the a priori and offer suggestions on how to overcome them."

To access the paper, click here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Forthcoming Book

I've just found out that, next year, Oxford University Press will publish a collection of essays on skepticism by Anthony Brueckner (UC Santa Barbara). For information, go here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Call for Papers

I've just received this information about a conference that will take place next year:

Papers are invited for presentation on the topic “Scepticism between Science, Literature and Philosophy”, for a one-day workshop in the frame of the 12th International Conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas (ISSEI).

The conference will be held at Çankaya University, Ankara, Turkey, on August 2-6, 2010.

Please submit an abstract (one page) by January 1st, 2010 to:

Sébastien Charles (Université de Sherbrooke, Canada): Sebastien.Charles@USherbrooke.ca

Speakers will have 20 to 30 minutes to present their papers in English or French (exact time to be confirmed, depending of the number of papers accepted).

Presentation of the workshop:

The analysis of the revival of scepticism in early modern times, which was done notably by Richard Popkin, has shown the importance of the sceptic figure in order to better understand early modern philosophy. In particular, it has shown the real function of Cartesianism, which was the most prodigious war machine against sceptical philosophy. But the diffusion of scepticism at that time was larger than the philosophical field; it also touched literature and science, creating new problems and hypotheses. In fact, scepticism was one of the major problems and matters of interest of the République des lettres. Given these conditions, the way in which literature presented the sceptic figure still needs exploring. It is well-known, for instance, that Molière made comical use of the sceptic’s suspension of judgement. What other representations can we find of this figure in early modern literature? And how was scepticism addressed by a science that pretended to reach a universal truth? A specific focus on such major figures of scepticism in early modern times as Montaigne, Gassendi, Huet, La Mothe le Vayer, or Bayle, could help us answer these two questions and understand the nature and function of scepticism in regard to literature and science. For example, by insisting on the relativity of customs and habits, the sceptics have forced writers to take into account other cultures, and even to write in favour of them. And by evoking the difficulty to find the truth, even for modern scientists, they have encouraged scholars to adopt a probabilistic conception of science, which has some relation to later empiricism. In this perspective, scepticism is crucial to our comprehension of early modern times, and it is important to deal with other aspects than just the philosophical ones in order to better evaluate its impact on this time-period.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sextus's Adversus Dogmaticos III-IV

Back in BA; I hope some day I'll learn how to sleep on planes. Anyway, I think some of you might be interested to know that Richard Bett (Johns Hopkins) is working on a new English translation of Sextus Empiricus's Against the Physicists (=Adversus Dogmaticos III-IV or, as some prefer, Adversus Mathematicos IX-X). The book is under contract with Cambridge University Press, which already published Annas & Barnes' translation of the Pyrrhonian Outlines in 2000, and Bett's translation of Against the Logicians in 2005.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

'Dossier' on Skepticism

Last night I came back to Rome and tomorrow I'm leaving for BA. Rome really is a beautiful city; particularly its downtown is a place of great charm and the traffic is less messy than I expected. I should probably add that its women are almost as pretty as those from BA ;)

But since I don't want this blog to turn into a kind of insufferable diary of my trip and since it is supposed to provide information on skepticism, here is something I've found thanks to Thomas Bénatouïl's "liste de diffusion" on ancient philosophy. The last issue of the Revue des études anciennes features a 'dossier' on skepticism entitled "Une tradition sceptique: la réception des Academica de Cicéron dans l'antiquité".

- Valéry Laurand, "Énésidème et l'Académie: les pièges d'un langage sans horizon".

- Carlos Lévy, "Favorinus et les Academica".

- Sophie van der Meeren, "Lactance et les Academica de Cicéron: citations et polémiques".

- Emmanuel Bermon, "'Contra Academicos vel de Academicis' (Retract. I, 1): saint Augustin et les Academica de Cicéron".

- Anne-Isabelle Bouton, "Augustin lecteur de Cicéron dans le contra Academicos".

The table of contents can be found here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Durham 2

I gave my last talk here in Europe. I'm quite satisfied with the discussion because it allowed me to clarify some aspects of my interpretation of Agrippan Pyrrhonism and of ancient Pyrrhonism more generally. I also met some interesting people who know Sextus' texts quite well, who have studied other kinds of skepticism, and who have their own skeptical outlooks. We had the opportunity to have a vehement and enriching discussion over dinner. All in all, my trip has been a little exhausting but highly rewarding.

Durham 1

While in Cambridge I gave a talk on the principle of non-contradiction, yesterday in Durham I gave a talk on Pyrrhonian relativism (the same paper delivered in Rome several days ago). There was vigorous discussion with Luca Castagnoli and particularly with George Boys-Stones, which I enjoyed very much. Today I'll deliver a paper on Agrippan Pyrrhonism in which I also examine contemporary interpretations of the Five Modes. This will give me the opportunity to test the soundness of my arguments.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cambridge 2

Yesterday, I gave my talk at the B Club. The audience in general didn't seem persuaded by my arguments whereas a couple of people found that what I claimed was so obvious that there was no point in writing a paper :-D But all in all, the experience was positive (at least for me).

Today and tomorrow I'll deliver two papers at the Department of Classics and Ancient History of Durham University. I hope they won't find my skeptical outlook too odd.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I've been in Cambridge for three days now. It's a nice small city which seems ideal if one wants to do research, but I imagine that it must be a little difficult to live here if one comes from a big city. In a way, Cambridge reminds me of Fribourg in Switzerland.

Something that has called my attention is that there seem to be more Italians than British over here. Cambridge looks like an Italian colony.

I've had the chance to get my hands on a copy of a paper published some years ago, namely: Lorenzo Corti's "Scale pirroniane: ouden mallon in Sesto Empirico", Dianoia 7 (2002).

Finally, tomorrow I'll give a talk at the B Club (Cambridge's ancient philosophy society). It will be an interesting experience.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Forthcoming Book on Sextus

Lorenzo Corti's book Scepticisme et langage is forthcoming at Vrin next month. For information, go here.

Update: the link isn't working properly. I don't know why after a few seconds it redirects to another book which touches on skepticism. Anyway, if you write "lorenzo corti" on the search box, you'll find the book.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Italian Scholarship

Today I was lucky enough to get some scholarly books in Italian, two of which are key to the study of ancient skepticism, namely:

G. Giannantoni (ed.), Lo scetticismo antico (Atti del convegno organizzato dal Centro di studio del pensiero antico del C.N.R., Roma, 5-8 novembre 1980), 2 vols. Napoli: Bibliopolis, 1981.

E. Spinelli (trans.), Sesto Empirico: Contro gli astrologi. Napoli: Bibliopolis, 2000.

Probably some of you already know these books; those of you who don't and can find them in your university libraries, take a look at them. There are other books on ancient skepticism that have been published by Bibliopolis; you can find them here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sextus and Time

In the past couple of days, I had the opportunity to read two papers on Sextus' discussion of time written by Francesco Verde (Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza"), namely:

"Sul 'concetto' di tempo nella critica scettica", Paradigmi 2 (2009): 169-179.

"La 'sostanza' del tempo: linee di una polemica scettica antica", Bollettino della Società Filosofica Italiana 190 (2007): 21-34.

Conference - Day 2

The second day of the conference was very useful to me because Emidio Spinelli and I presented papers on Sextan Pyrrhonism and we had the opportunity to discuss them with other participants. So far my stay in Rome has been rewarding.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Roman Conference - Day 1

Yesterday we had the first day of the conference "Logos, episteme, praxis", which is taking place at the Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza". We heard six papers. Regarding skepticism, the last talk by Riccardo Chiaradonna gave us the opportunity to discuss some issues related to the problem of the criterion in Galen and Sextus. I'm writing this now because I'm still jet-lagged, but I hope I won't stay awake for the third night in a row.


In a post last April, I referred to the publication of Wilfried Kühn's Quel savoir après le scepticisme: Plotin et ses prédécesseurs sur la connaissance de soi (Vrin, 2009). A review of this book has just appeared in Bryn Mawr Classical Review.

Monday, October 5, 2009


On Wednesday, I'm leaving for Italy and then England, so I'm not sure how often I'll post on the blog. I'll present four papers on subjects I've been working on, which will give me to the opportunity to discuss with specialists and see if my papers stand up to scrutiny.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Review in Rhizai

The latest issue of the ancient philosophy journal Rhizai features Máté Veres' fine review of two books on skepticism published in 2008, namely: Carlos Lévy's Les scepticismes and Markus Gabriel's Antike und moderne Skepsis zur Einführung (Rhizai VI.1 (2009), 107-114). Unfortunately, the journal's web page is not updated.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Skepticism in the Modern Age

Brill has finally published Skepticism in the Modern Age: Building on the Work of Richard Popkin, edited by José Maia Neto, Chris Laursen, and Gianni Paganini. Information about the book can be found here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Roman Conference

On October 9-10, the Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza" will hold the conference "Logos, episteme, praxis". The venue is Villa Mirafiori, Via Carlo Fea 2 - Roma, Biblioteca di Lingue. Below I copy the whole program (in Italian). Two papers will deal with ancient Pyrrhonism, and a third (on Galen) will probably touch on skepticism.

Venerdì 9 ottobre

9.00 Apertura dei lavori

9.30 Francesco Aronadio, "Il de virtute pseudoplatonico: distinguere le buone e le cattive nature"

10.15 Diana Quarantotto, "Aristotele: l'unità della scienza della natura"

11.00 Break

11.15 Thomas Bénatouïl, "Logos et praxis chez Dicéarque"

16.00 Gabriele Cornelli, "Comunità e discorsi: i logoi di Pitagora fra Dicearco e Apollonio di Tiana"

16.45 Francesco Verde, "Il tempo nella fisica di Stratone di Lampsaco"

17.30 Break

17.45 Riccardo Chiaradonna, "Epistemologia e medicina: La dottrina del criterio in Galeno"

Sabato 10 ottobre

9.30 Mauro Bonazzi, "Il platonismo politico di Plutarco"

10.15 Diego Machuca, "Pyrrhonian Relativism"

11.00 Break

11.15 Emidio Spinelli, "Contro l´arte del bel parlare: filosofia e retorica in Sesto Empirico"

12.00 Discussione finale e chiusura dei lavori

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


David Christensen (Brown) has just published "Disagreement as Evidence: The Epistemology of Controversy", Philosophy Compass 4/4: 756-767 (click here to access the issue). This paper may be of interest to those working on contemporary skepticism or on Pyrrhonism. I do research on Pyrrhonian skepticism and have learned a lot from contemporary discussions of the epistemic significance of disagreement.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Talks in Mexico City

On September 21, 23, and 25, Michael Williams (Johns Hopkins University) will give three talks at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Mexico. He will talk about Pyrrhonism and some contemporary answers to this form of skepticism, including his own.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Book

A couple of months ago, W. Sinnott-Armstrong (Dartmouth College) published Morality Without God (OUP). For information, click here. Stéphane Marchand let me know that there's an interview about the book on Philosophy Bites, but the link doesn't seem to work at the moment.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Humean Skepticism

Robert Fogelin's Hume's Skeptical Crisis: A Textual Study (OUP) has just been published. For information, go here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Series of Talks

Update: I've just been told that the talks Luca Castagnoli was going to give in Mexico have been cancelled.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Modern Skepticism

Last year, Plínio Junqueira Smith (Universidade Federal de São Paulo) published “La Critique de la raison pure face aux scepticismes cartésien, baylien et humien”, in Dialogue 47: 463-500. Those with access can read the paper by clicking here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Couple of Books

Duncan Pritchard (University of Edinburgh) has just co-edited two volumes on topics that might be of interest to those working on contemporary skepticism:

Epistemic Value
, edited with A. Haddock & A. Millar (OUP, 2009).

Williamson on Knowledge, edited with P. Greenough (OUP, 2009).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Papers on Ancient Skepticism

Those familiar with the scholarship on ancient skepticism might be interested to know that, between last year and this year, Emidio Spinelli has published a few papers on the subject. Here is the list:

"Una vita disincantata: bios e philosophia nello scetticismo antico", and "A volte ritornano, perfino i pirroniani", both in Il bios dei filosofi: dialogo a più voci sul tipo di vita preferibile, edited by F. De Luise, Università degli Studi di Trento: Trento, 2009.

"Sesto Empirico contro i musici: contesto e senso di una polemica antica", in Filosofia e musica, edited by C. Tatasciore, Bruno Mondadori: Milano, 2008.

"L'attacco di Sesto Empirico alle technai: polemica antipaideutica e genuino pirronismo", in Anthropine sophia. Studi di filologia e storiografia filosofica in memoria di Gabriele Giannantoni, edited by F. Alesse, F. Aronadio, C. Dalfino, L. Simeoni, and Spinelli, Bibliopolis: Napoli, 2008.

“Sextus Empiricus, l’expérience sceptique et l’horizon de l’éthique”, in Cahiers Philosophiques 115 (October).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sosa's Reflective Knowledge

A review of Ernest Sosa's Reflective Knowledge: Apt Belief and Reflective Knowledge, volume II (OUP, 2009) has just appeared in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bueno's Talk

On August 21, Otávio Bueno (University of Miami) is going to deliver the paper “Science and Skepticism” at the Philosophy Department Colloquium of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Belo Horizonte, Brazil).

Monday, August 10, 2009

Book on Mackie's Skepticism

In a post last year, I said that Richard Joyce and Simon Kirchin were editing A World Without Values: Essays on John Mackie's Moral Error Theory. It seems that Springer is going to publish the volume next December. However, a description of the book and its table of contents are already available here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Book on Moral Skepticism

Last February, Anita Superson (University of Kentucky) published The Moral Skeptic (OUP). For information about this book, click here. A interesting review has recently appeared in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Ioppolo's New Book

Anna Maria Ioppolo, one of the leading specialists in Academic skepticism, has just published La testimonianza di Sesto Empirico sull'Accademia scettica (Napoli: Bibliopolis). For information about the book, click here.

To see a list of some of her other publications on the skeptical Academy, take a look at this post or click on her name in the list of specialists on the right side of this web page.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Book on Montaigne

Yesterday, I received the book Michel de Montaigne: la culminación del escepticismo en el Renacimiento (Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Córdoba, 2007), written by Manuel Bermúdez Vázquez. He is also the author of La recuperación del escepticismo en el Renacimiento como propedéutica de la filosofía de Francisco Sánchez (Fundación Universitaria Española, 2006). I just started reading the book, but I can tell you that its main thesis is that Montaigne's skepticism was more influenced by Socrates and Saint Augustine than by Sextus Empiricus.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Reheated Cabbage


Several years ago, when I started systematically reading papers in the fields of ancient philosophy and epistemology, I got the impression that some top scholars used a few ideas to write two, three, or four papers. Moreover, I got used to reading in the first or last note of a paper that its author had drawn on parts of previous papers, some of which were reproduced with minor changes. The result was that subsequent papers looked like reheated cabbage, so that the reader could perfectly well do without them. Sometimes, there were one or two new arguments, but nothing which, in my view, justified the writing of a new paper. Last year, while I was a visiting researcher in Fribourg, I briefly brought this up with two North American epistemologists who were attending a conference, and they didn't agree with me. They thought that, if one had a new argument in response to an objection raised against a view defended in a previous paper, one could write another one including the argument. I partially agree with this. I mean, if one wants to reply to an objection by writing a short note, ok, but does this justify to publishing a whole paper in which just a few paragraphs are really new or original while the rest has undergone merely cosmetic changes? To my mind, one should publish a paper dealing with an issue already addressed in a previous publication only when one has several new arguments to put forward or when one has a different approach to the issue in question. (Comments from readers are of course welcome.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

La Bruyère Prize

I've just been told that Gianni Paganini's book Skepsis. Le débat des modernes sur le scepticisme (Vrin, 2008) has just been awarded La Bruyère Prize for Humanities and Philosophy (silver medal) by the Académie Française.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Croatian Translation of Sextus

Last year, Filip Grgić (Institute of Philosophy, Zagreb) published a Croatian translation of Sextus Empiricus' Outlines of Pyrrhonism. The volume also contains an introduction, notes, three appendices (on the Ten Modes, on the Five Modes, and on PH II 1-11) and the Greek text. This is the first translation of Sextus in Croatian (and in any South Slavic language). For information, click here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Paper on Epistemic Justification

The latest issue of Ratio features a paper that might be of interest to those working on epistemology and skepticism: "A Paradox of Justified Believing" by Colin Cheyne (University of Otago). To read the abstract and access the paper click here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Workshop on Skepticism

On July 27-30, at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Mexico), Anjan Chakravarty (University of Toronto) is going to give the workshop "Scientific Realism and Philosophical Skepticism". For information, click on the image.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

DeRose's New Book

In a post last August, I mentioned that Keith DeRose (Yale University) was working on a book project entitled "Knowledge, Skepticism, and Context". The first volume of this project has just been published with the title The Case for Contextualism. For information, click here.



The other day I was talking with a friend of mine about why one does or does not acknowledge others for their help in one's papers or books. My friend, who does research in the field of psychology, was complaining because he had read in detail, and commented on, a couple of papers by two of his co-workers in his research institute, but when he read the published papers there were no acknowledgments for his help. He was a little angry because he had made some (in his view, important) suggestions about how to interpret the experiments his co-workers had conducted. He asked me what the usual practice is in philosophy, because in psychology one generally thanks others for their comments or criticisms. I told him that, as far as I know, most of the time in philosophy papers and books one does devote a note or a page to thank others, but that this does not always happen. I remember I reviewed a book last year in which there were no acknowledgements whatsoever, even though I suspect that the author received extensive feedback from others. What is the reason? Does the author want all the credit for his/her work? Probably, but there may other reasons as well... I don't think that the lack of acknowledgements in the case at issue is that serious, though I agree that they are a polite way of thanking a person for his time and help.

There are other, related cases: when one has read another person's work or has heard him/her at a conference and uses some of his/her ideas without acknowledging them, which seems quite dishonest (a related case is reported by M. Forster in Kant and Skepticism, p. 132, n.8). Also, sometimes one does not thank the referee of a journal for his/her suggestions or criticisms, which is not very polite either. If one wants to be radical, one should even acknowledge the comments of a referee of a journal which hasn't accepted one's paper - but it would be extremely ridiculous to write something like "I thank the anonymous referee of this journal for his useful comments, and also the referee for the journal X, which rejected the paper, for his helpful criticisms". Finally, one could thank native speakers for correcting the grammar of the papers one writes in other languages - which is not a common practice either, but which I have started to adopt to thank friends for their help.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Skepticism and Politics

Chris Laursen's paper "Escepticismo y Política" has just appeared in the Spanish journal Revista de Estudios Políticos 144 (issue April-June). The abstract (in both Spanish and English) can be found here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Europe October

I will probably be in Europe for one or two weeks in October. So, if you know of any event directly or indirectly related to skepticism, please let me know.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sosa' Reflective Knowledge

In a previous post last year, I referred to Ernest Sosa's A Virtue Epistemology, the first of a two-volume project entitled Apt Belief and Reflective Knowledge. The second volume was published last January, its title being Reflective Knowledge. For complete information, go here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Conference Epistemological Significance of Disagreement

I don't know how I forgot about this: on June 26-28, the Department of Philosophy at Northwestern University will host the conference "The Epistemological Significance of Disagreement". For complete information, click here. Needless to say, the problem of disagreement is of central importance to skepticism: it was an essential aspect of Pyrrhonian skepticism and recently contemporary epistemologists began to focus their attention on it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Conference "Presocratics in Cicero"

On July 2-3, at the Université Paris-Sorbonne (1 rue Victor Cousin, Room F 366), will take place the conference "Les Présocratiques chez Cicéron", which is organized by Carlos Lévy . There will be two talks that might be of interest to those working on ancient skepticism:

On Thursday 2, at 16h30: L. Saudelli (Paris): "La vérité dans l’abîme: le fragment 117 DK de Démocrite, Cicéron et le scepticisme."

On Friday 3, at 11h15: E. Spinelli (Rome): "Généalogie présocratique: entre Cicéron et Sextus Empiricus."

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Paper on Skepticism

I want to call your attention to a new paper by Berislav Marusic (Brandeis University), namely, “Skepticism Between Excessiveness and Idleness”. The printed version of this article is forthcoming in the European Journal of Philosophy, but the online version is already available here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Skeptical Politics

Last year, Irina Pervova (St. Petersbourg State University) edited the collective volume Tolerance and Intolerance in the Modern Society: The East-The West. The volume features a paper by Chris Laursen entitled "Skepticism, Tyranny, and Toleration".

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


The latest issue of Dialectica features a paper which might be of interest to those working on contemporary epistemological skepticism: "An Infinitist Account of Doxastic Justification", by John Turri. To read the abstract and access the paper, click here.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Arché Skepticism Conference

Just a reminder: the Basic Knowledge Project at the Arché Research Centre at the St Andrews University will host a conference on skepticism on June, 13-14. The conference web page can be found here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Companion to Ancient Skepticism

I've just found that the Cambridge Companion to Ancient Scepticism will be published at the beginning of the next year. Still, you can find complete information about the scope of the volume and its table of contents by clicking here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Strawson and Skepticism

Tomorrow, at the Department of Philosophy of the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Plínio Junqueira Smith (Universidade Federal de São Paulo) will deliver the paper "Strawson y el escepticismo". This will take place in room 452 at 19.00.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Talks on Skepticism

On May 26-28, Casey Perin (University of Massachusetts at Amherst) will give a series of talks on skepticism at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Mexico City. For more information, click on the image below.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


As you may know, the Stoics were the main rivals of the ancient Skeptics, both Academic and Pyrrhonian. So I've thought I should let you know about the recent publication of a book on Stoicism:

Lire les stoïciens
, edited by Jean-Baptiste Gourinat and Jonathan Barnes. Paris: PUF, "Quadrige", 2009, 234 pages. 15 €.

Here is the table of contents:


I- Épistémologie, rhétorique et grammaire (Jean-Baptiste Gourinat)
II- La dialectique (Paolo Crivelli)
III- Le monde (Jean-Baptiste Gourinat)
IV- Les dieux et les hommes (David Sedley)
V- La vertu, le bonheur et lanature (Thomas Bénatouïl)
VI- Le convenable, les passions, le sage et la cité (Suzanne Husson)


VII- Grammaire, rhétorique, épistémologie et dialectique (Jonathan Barnes)
VIII- Cosmologie et théologie (Keimpe Algra)
IX- L’éthique: continuité et innovations (Anthony A. Long)
X- La sagesse et les exercices philosophiques (Jean-Baptiste Gourinat)
XI- L’empreinte du stoïcisme sur la politique romaine (Christelle Veillard)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Review by Blomqvist

In a post last August I mentioned the publication of Adrian Kuzminski's Pyrrhonism: How the Ancient Greeks Reinvented Buddhism (Lexington Books, 2008). A review by Jerker Blomqvist (Lund University) has just appeared in Bryn Mawr Classical Review; click here to read it. As most of you probably know, Blomqvist is the author of the well-known paper "Die Skeptika des Sextus Empiricus", Grazer Beiträge 2 (1974): 7-14.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Book on Modern Skepticism

Next August Brill is going to publish Skepticism in the Modern Age: Building on the Work of Richard Popkin, edited by José Maia Neto, Chris Laursen and Gianni Paganini. You can find more information about the book here.

To the best of my knowledge, this volume derives from a conference on skepticism from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment that was organized by Maia Neto in Belo Horizonte (Brazil) in October 2007.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Moore and Skepticism

The latest issue of the European Journal of Philosophy features Peter Baumann's "Was Moore a Moorean? On Moore and Scepticism". To access the paper, click here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fogelin's Forthcoming Book

I've just found out that Hume's Skeptical Crisis: A Textual Study, by Robert Fogelin, is forthcoming from OUP. In principle, the book will be published next August. For complete information, go here.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Talk on Sextus

On May 13-16 will take place the fifth session of the "Diatribai de Gargnano", which will deal with contemplative life. The "Diatribai" are a series of conferences on ancient philosophy after Aristotle whose first session took place in May 2004 in Gargnano at the Palazzo Feltrinelli. They are organized by F. Decleva Caizzi (Milano), F. Trabattoni (Milano), M. Bonazzi (Milano), C. Steel (Leuven), G. Van Riel (Leuven), C. Lévy (Paris-Sorbonne), and T. Bénatouïl (Nancy et IUF).

On May 15, at 14.30, Emidio Spinelli (Università di Roma) will deliver the paper "Al di là del bios theoretikos: filosofia e prassi in Sesto Empirico".

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Descartes, Huet, and Skepticism

Last year, Thomas Lennon (University of Western Ontario) published The Plain Truth: Descartes, Huet, and Skepticism (Brill Academic Publishers). For information about the book, go here.

A review by Gianni Paganini has just appeared in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews; click here to read it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Essays on Epistemology

I've just received a copy of a volume containing a few interesting papers that deal with skepticism: Quentin Smith (ed.), Epistemology: New Essays (OUP, 2008). Among the contributions bearing on skepticism the following two are to be mentioned:

"Skepticism and Perceptual Knowledge" by Ernest Sosa.

"Knowledge-Closure and Skepticism" by Marian David and Ted A. Warfield.

For complete information about this book, go here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Paper

The latest issue of Phronesis features the article "Le Contre les geomètres de Sextus Empiricus: sources, cible, structure", by Guillaume Dye and Bernard Vitrac. To access the paper, click here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Looking for Papers

I'm looking for the following two papers because I'm working on a couple of pieces on ancient skepticism. Any help will be much appreciated.

- P. Aubenque, "Vérité et scepticisme. Sur les limites d'une réfutation philosophique du scepticisme", Diogène 132, pp. 100-110.

- C. Schmitt, "An Unstudied Fifteenth-Century Latin Translation of Sextus Empiricus by Giovanni Lorenzi", 244–261 in C. H. Clough (ed.), Cultural Aspects of the Italian Renaissance: Essays in Honor of Paul Oskar Kristeller. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1976.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sosa and Skepticism

The latest issue of Metaphilosophy features Otávio Bueno's paper "Sosa on Skepticism", which forms part of a symposium on Ernest Sosa. Here is the abstract:

"Ernest Sosa has recently articulated an insightful response to skepticism and, in particular, to the dream argument. The response relies on two independent moves. First, Sosa offers the imagination model of dreaming according to which no assertions are ever made in dreams and no beliefs are involved there. As a result, it is possible to distinguish dreaming from being awake, and the dream argument is blocked. Second, Sosa develops a virtue epistemology according to which in appropriately normal conditions our perceptual beliefs will be apt. Hence, in these conditions, we will have at least animal knowledge, and the conclusion of the dream argument is undermined. In this article, I examine various moves that the skeptic can make to resist Sosa's challenge, and I contrast the proposal to a neo-Pyrrhonian stance. In the end, there is surprisingly little disagreement about the status of ordinary perceptual beliefs in the two stances."

To access the paper, go here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Call for Papers: Skepticism and Enlightenment

A bilingual conference (English/French) on “Skepticism and Enlightenment” will be held in 2009-2010 at the University of São Judas Tadeu in São Paulo (December 2-4, 2009) and at the Montréal's campus of the University of Sherbrooke (April 14-16, 2010). The first part at São Paulo is devoted to "Skepticism in the Enlightenment from Bayle to the Encyclopédie" and the second part in Montréal to "Skepticism in the Enlightenment from the Encyclopédie to the German Idealism". If there is already a list of invited papers, some space is available for uninvited papers, in particular for Ph. D. students and post-doctoral students. All propositions (title and abstract) have to be send before August 1st, 2009 and will be submitted to a panel of three readers who will select the best ones. For more information, do not hesitate to contact Plinio Junqueira Smith (plinio.smith@pq.cnpq.br) and/or Sébastien Charles (Sebastien.Charles@USherbrooke.ca).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Upcoming Event

Armando Cíntora (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, México) is organizing a conference entitled "Escepticismo Filosófico", which will take place in Mexico City on November 23-25. For more information, click on the image below.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Skeptical Society

As some of you already know, last year we created the International Society for the Study of Skepticism. Remember that, if you would like to become a member, you can contact me by e-mail.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Someone has just asked me here why I didn't include Oswaldo Porchat Pereira in the list of specialists. The reason is simply that I thought he didn't have a webpage. I’ve just found out that he does have one, so he is now on the list.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Book

Vrin has just published Quel savoir après le scepticisme? Plotin et ses prédécesseurs sur la connaissance de soi by Wilfried Kühn, a researcher at the CNRS in France. For detailed information, go here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Talk on Skepticism

Next Friday, at 14.00, Mauro Bonazzi (Università degli Studi di Milano) will deliver the paper "Le commentateur anonyme du Théétète, le scepticisme et l'invention du platonisme". The venue is the École Normale Supérieure, salle Jules Ferry (29, rue d’Ulm, Paris). For more information, go here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Medieval Skepticism

In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the role played by skepticism in medieval philosophy. In this regard, I wish to let you know about this book that will be published by Brill this year: Henrik Lagerlund (ed.), Rethinking the History of Skepticism. The Missing Medieval Background. For information, click here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another Forthcoming Book on Ancient Skepticism

I've just received excellent news: Anna Maria Ioppolo, professor at the "La Sapienza" University in Rome and a renown specialist in Academic skepticism, will publish La testimonianza di Sesto Empirico sull’Accademia scettica. The book is scheduled to be published in June by Bibliopolis.

Among Ioppolo's publications we find:

"Il concetto di 'eulogon' nella filosofia di Arcesilao", in Giannantoni (ed.), Lo scetticismo antico. Napoli: Bibliopolis, 1981.

Opinione e scienza. Il dibattito tra Stoici e Accademici nel III e nel II secolo a.C. Napoli: Bibliopolis, 1986.

"Su alcune recenti interpretazioni dello scetticismo dell'Academia. Plutarch. Adv. Col. 26, 1121F-1122F: una testimonianza su Arcesilao", Elenchos 21 (2000).

"Gli Accademici neoteroi nel secondo secolo d. C.", Méthexis 15 (2002).

"L'assenso nella filosofia di Clitomaco: un problema di linguaggio?", in Ioppolo and Sedley (eds.), Pyrrhonists, Praticians, Platonizers. Hellenistic philosophy in the period 155–86 BC. Tenth Symposium Hellenisticum. Elenchos 47. Napoli: Bibliopolis, 2007.

"Arcésilas dans le Lucullus de Cicéron", Revue de métaphysique et de morale 57 (2008).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Forthcoming Book on Ancient Pyrrhonism

It seems that Casey Perin (University of Massachusetts at Amherst) is working on a book entitled The Demands of Reason: An Essay on Pyrrhonian Scepticism, which will be published this year by Oxford University Press.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Conference on Belief and Disagreement

On August 18-20, at the VU University Amsterdam, there will be an international conference entitled Responsible Belief in the Face of Disagreement. Needless to say, this event will be of interest to people working on skepticism. Detailed information is available here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bayle and Pyrrhonism

On February 11th, at 3 pm, John Christian Laursen (University of California, Riverside) will deliver a paper on Bayle and Pyrrhonism at the Centro de Investigaciones Filosóficas in Buenos Aires. The title of the piece is "Pierre Bayle: Pyrrhonism contra Reason in the Commentaire philosophique".

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New Issue of Sképsis

The third issue of the Brazilian journal Sképsis, which is entirely devoted to skepticism, is already available online. Click here to go to the site.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Talk on Sextus

On January 30, at the École Normale Supérieure (45, rue d’Ulm, Paris), Emidio Spinelli will deliver the paper "Contre l’art du bien parler: pour une réflexion critique sur la rhétorique dans Sextus Empiricus". The meeting will take place at 14.30h at the "Salle Cavaillès". For more information, click here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Table of Contents

I haven't been able to post anything lately because I'm working on a couple of projects which are very time consuming. At the moment, I'm trying to get information about the contents of two collections of essays on skepticism: Burnyeat's The Skeptical Tradition (University of California Press, 1983) and Sihvola's Ancient Scepticism and the Sceptical Tradition (Acta Philosophica Fennica 66, 2000). I have offprints of some of the papers, but I need to take a look at the table of contents. So any help is most welcome.

Update: I've gotten the information about the two collections. Thanks for your help with this.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Regress Problem

Michael Rescorla (UCSB) is the author of two very recent papers dealing, directly or indirectly, with the so-called regress problem: 'Shifting the Burden of Proof?', Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (2009), and 'Epistemic and Dialectical Regress', The Philosophical Quarterly 59 (2009). These papers are available online here and here, respectively.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Skepticism in Medieval Philosophy

For those interested in the presence and discussion of skepticism in medieval philosphy, I recommend the following two papers by Christophe Grellard (Université Paris I): "Comment peut-on se fier à l'expérience? Esquisse d'une typologie des réponses médiévales au scepticisme", Quaestio 4 (2004), and "Scepticism, Demonstration and the Infinite Regress Argument (Nicholas of Autrecourt and John Buridan)", Vivarium 42/2-3 2007). The PDF files of the printed versions are available on his webpage.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Skepticism Conference

I've just found out that the Basic Knowledge Project at the Arché Research Centre at the St Andrews University will host a conference on skepticism on June, 13-14.

The keynote speakers will be: Anthony Brueckner (UC Santa Barbara), Stewart Cohen (Arizona), Ernest Sosa (Rutgers), Jonathan Vogel (Amherst), Brian Weatherson (Rutgers/Arché), Roger White (MIT), and Crispin Wright (NYU/Arché).

There will be four 30 minute talks delivered by graduate students, followed by 20 minutes for questions. You must send your paper via e-mail to dd40@st-andrews.ac.uk by 15 March, 2009. Papers should be made suitable for blind refereeing. You will be notified of acceptance by 15 April.

Students whose papers are accepted will have their accommodation covered. It might also be possible to cover the cost of travel, depending on the outcome various grant applications and other financial contingencies.

The webpage of the conference is here, but there is no information posted there yet.

For more information, you can contact Dylan Dodd (dd40@st-andrews.ac.uk) or Elia Zardini (ez4@st-andrews.ac.uk).

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ethical Skepticism

Richard Joyce's interesting critical discussion ("The Skeptic's Tale") of Michael Huemer's Ethical Intuitionism has just appeared in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78/1 (2009). You can find it here.