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.