Friday, December 26, 2014

Conference on Disagreement

There is a call for papers for the international conference, “Deep Disagreements: Philosophical and Legal Perspectives,” which will take place at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin on June 11-12, 2015. For complete information, click here.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Challenges to Morality and Religion from Disagreement and Evolution

A new volume of interest to those working on moral and/or religious skepticism: Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief: Disagreement and Evolution (OUP, 2014), edited by Michael Bergmann and Patrick Kain. You can find a recent review here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Moral Error Theory

Those working on moral skepticism will be interested in this recent book by Jonas Olson: Moral Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence (OUP, 2014). A review can be found here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Conference on Skepticism

The seventh conference of the Dutch-Flemish Association for Analytic Philosophy will be devoted to skepticism. The conference will take place on January 28-30, 2015 at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (the Netherlands). The keynote speakers will be Martijn Blaauw, Bryan Frances, and Katerina Ierodiakonou. For complete information, go here.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Plutarch’s Adversus Colotem

In the last few years, there has been renewed interest in Plutarch’s Adversus Colotem. A couple of years ago, Eleni Kechagia published her Plutarch against Colotes: A Lesson in the History of Philosophy (OUP, 2012). Now it’s the turn of Aurora Corti’s L’Adversus Colotem di Plutarco: Storia di una polemica filosofica (Leuven University Press, 2014), a considerable part of which deals with skepticism.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Moral Disagreement

I just discovered this special issue of Philosophical Topics 38 (2010) devoted to moral disagreement and edited by John Davis.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jules Vuillemin and Skepticism

On December 6th, the workshop “Le scepticisme selon Jules Vuillemin” will take place at the Archives Henri-Poincaré, in Nancy. Here's the program:

10h30-10h45 : Welcome by Philippe Nabonnand (Directeur des Archives Poincaré).

10h45-12h00 : Lorenzo Corti: “Jules Vuillemin et la morale du scepticisme.”

12h00-13h15 : Joseph Vidal-Rosset: “Rawls, un 'sceptique amateur de tranquillité'? Réponse à Jules Vuillemin.”

13h15-14h30 : Lunch (buffet sur place).

14h30-16h00 : Carlos Lévy: “Jules Vuillemin, historien ou inventeur de la Nouvelle Académie?”.

All participants are invited to lunch. If you're planning to attend, please confirm your participation as soon as possible: write either to Lorenzo Corti ( or to Joseph Vidal-Rosset ( For information about how to arrive at the Archives Poincaré, check this page:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ancient Physics and Skepticism

The recently published collection, Space in Hellenistic Philosophy: Critical Studies in Ancient Physics (De Gruyter, 2014), edited by G. Ranocchia, C. Helmig, and C. Horn, includes the following two papers on Pyrrhonism:

Richard Bett, "Aenesidemus the Anti-Physicist."

Emidio Spinelli, "Φαινόμενα contra Νοούμενα: Sextus Empiricus, the Notion of Place and the Pyrrhonian Strategy at Work."

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Aporia in Ancient Philosophy

On November 28-30, 2014, the Plato Center at Trinity College Dublin will hold the conference "The Aporetic Tradition in Ancient Philosophy." There is no attendance fee. For information, contact George Karamanolis ( or Vasilis Politis ( Here's the program:

Friday 28 November

10.30: Registration and Coffee 
10.50: Welcome

11.00-12.30: John Palmer: "Dilemmatic arguments: the origins of aporia-based method in the Eleatic and Sophistic traditions."

14.00-15.30: Jan Szaif: "Aporetic dialogue in Plato’s early works."

16.00-17.30: Vasilis Politis: "Aporia and scepticism in Plato’s early dialogues."

18.00-19.30: Lesley Brown: "Aporia in the Theaetetus and in the Sophist."

Saturday 29 November 

9.30-11.00: Verity Harte: "Aporia in the Parmenides."

11.30-13.00: Friedemann Bubbensiek: "Aporia in Metaphysics Beta."

14.00-15.30: Jessica Gelber: "A case study of Aristotle’s use of aporiai in natural science: Generation of Animals."

16.00-17.30: Christof Rapp: "Aporia and dialectical method in Aristotle."

18.00-19.30: Jan Opsomer: "The aporetic mode in Plato's school, from the Early to the Hellenistic Academy."

Sunday 30 November 

9.30-11.00: John Dillon: "Aporia in Plutarch."

11.30-13.00: Luca Castagnoli: "Aporia and inquiry in ancient Pyrrhonism."

14.00-15.30: Inna Kupreeva: "Alexander of Aphrodisias: aporia and exegesis."

16.00-17.30 George Karamanolis: "The role of aporia in Plotinus."

18.00-19.30: Damian Caluori: "Aporia and the limits of reason in Damascius."

Monday, November 3, 2014

Montaigne and Skepticism

On November 13-14, the Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3 will host the symposium "Montaigne et le scepticisme: nouvelles perspectives." For complete information, right click on the image below and open it in a new tab.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Stoics on Apprehension

The following paper might be of interest to those working on ancient Academic skepticism: Tamer Nawar, "The Stoic Account of Apprehension," Philosophers' Imprint vol. 14, no. 29. You can access it here.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

New Research Center

You might be interested in the transdisciplinary research center Forms of Knowledge in the Ancient World, which was founded in 2013 at the University of Rome Tor Vergata”. For information about the center, including its many lectures and conferences, click here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Meeting on Skepticism in Bahia

The IV International Meeting on Skepticism & XV Colóquio Nacional Sobre Ceticismo (The Value of Understanding) will take place in Bahia (Brazil) on November 17-19. For more information, go here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Skepticism and Realism: Hume and Reid

themed collection of four papers dealing with skepticism and realism that were published in the Journal of Scottish Philosophy is available for free here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Issue 4/3-4 of IJSS

Volume 4, Issue 3-4 of the International Journal for the Study of Skepticism is now out. It is a special issue devoted to Thompson Clarke and edited by Jean-Philippe Narboux. Check it out here.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Evolutionary Debunking of Morality

On November 28th, 2014, Utrecht University will host the symposium, "Evolutionary Debunking Arguments in Ethics: Normative, Metaethical, and Empirical Aspects." There will be four talks:

Peter Königs: "From Moral Error Theory to Practical Error Theory."

Hanno Sauer: "The Weakest Link: Can Metaethics Protect Our Moral Beliefs from Debunking?"

Jason Clark: "Putting emotions and cognition on a par in evolutionary debunking arguments."

Joshua Tybur: "Fitting Morality Within the Evolved Function and Structure of Disgust."

More information can be found here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sextus's Attack on Rhetoric

A new paper by Emidio Spinelli (Rome) has just been published: "Contre la rhétorique: langage pyrrhonien et « usage commun de la vie » selon Sextus Empiricus", in Jean-Michel Counet (ed.), Philosophie et langage ordinaire de l'Antiquité à la Renaissance (Louvain: Peeters, 2014).

Monday, September 22, 2014

Conference on Skepticism in Bonn

On November 26-28, the University of Bonn will host the conference, "Skeptical Solutions: Provocations of Philosophy." Complete information can be found here.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

New Issue of Sképsis

The latest issue of the Brazilian journal Sképsis is now out. You can check it out here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Inferior Scholarship & Intellectual Honesty

I just read Harold Tarrant's review of Charles Brittain's Philo of Larissa: The Last of the Academic Sceptics (OUP, 2001), published in Ancient Philosophy 22 (2002): 485-492. In fact, I had already read it back in 2003. But I had forgotten that, at the end of the review, Tarrant says the following:

"Since it derives from an Oxford DPhil. thesis I choose not to blame Brittain for the inaccurate representation of my own work about which I have protested. Another book stemming from a 1996 DPhil. thesis is G. Bechtle, The Anonymous Commentary on Plato's "Parmenides" (Bern 1999). Since his unpopular views on the extent of metaphysical interpretation of the Parmenides in Neopythagorean times have their clearest modern antecedent in my own Thrasyllan Platonism (Ithaca 1993), 148-177, of which he makes no mention, I assume the problem lies in Oxford: where the inferior scholarship and preposterous theses of lesser parts of the world are treated with the contempt that they so richly deserve--as Anytus treated the sophists (Meno 92b)."

This reminded me of a related complaint repeatedly made by an Italian colleague who criticizes Anglophone scholars working on skepticism for not citing works in other languages. One reason for this is no doubt the one referred to by Tarrant. Another reason is that Anglophone scholars don't usually read (and much less speak) other languages. In fact, the latter reason may be a consequence of the former, since it's not that they don't need to learn other languages (e.g., for practical purposes, in many parts of the US they should at least try to learn Spanish), but that they just don't care. Now, in relation to Tarrant's complaint, I recently noticed that junior scholars from the US and the UK who have just started working on skepticism usually cite those authors from "lesser parts of the world" who have been working in this area for the past eight to ten years, whereas senior scholars tend to ignore the works of the latter even though they defend, sometimes using strikingly similar terms, ideas or interpretations first defended or fully developed in some of those works. I have nothing against someone who, for whatever reasons, decides not to read the work of certain people, but if he/she does read it and thinks that their work is not good enough and hence not worth citing, maybe he/she should refrain from making use of their ideas.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Oswaldo Porchat Essay Competition

A few days ago, I received the following information:

The Journal Sképsis is sponsoring an essay competition for young philosophers on the theme of skepticism. The purpose is to stimulate new studies on skepticism and to offer young scholars the opportunity to publish the results of their research. Winners will be announced and their essays published in the journal.

The rules of the competition are as follows:

1. Entrants
The author should not be a PhD for over 5 years at the time of the submission deadline. Submissions must include a copy of an official document verifying that the entrant’s is not a PhD for more than 5 years. Update: grad students too may enter the competition.

2. Essay
(a) must be original and unpublished;
(b) must have only one author;
(c) must not exceed 10,000 words, including notes and bibliography;
(d) must be written in one of the following languages: Portuguese, Spanish, French or English.

3. Theme
The paper must deal with skepticism, either contemporary skepticism or its history.

4. Submissions
(a) Deadline: February 28, 2015;
(b) Entrants must submit two electronic files: first, the essay submission with no name; second, a file containing the author’s personal information (name, title of paper, affiliation, documentation with his last title, email, address, and telephone)

5. Decision
(a) Submissions shall be judged by a prize committee of at least 4 members;
(b) The prize committee is composed by: Diego Machuca, Plínio Junqueira Smith, Sébastien Charles, and Todd Ryan. If necessary, more scholars may help the committee.
(c) Winners will be announced no later than July 31, 2015.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Academic Skepticism in Early Modern Philosophy

Springer has just published José Maia Neto's Academic Skepticism in Seventeeth-Century French Philosophy: The Charronian Legacy 1601-1662. Complete information can be found here.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sextus's Against the Physicists

In case you're interested, my review of Richard Bett's translation of Sextus Empiricus's Against the Physicists (CUP 2012) has just appeared in the British Journal for the History of Philosophy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Eichorn on Sextus Empiricus

The latest issue of Ancient Philosophy (34/2014) contains Roger Eichorn's "How (Not) To Read Sextus Empiricus." You can find it here.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Problem of the Criterion

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy has now a new entry on the problem of the criterion by Kevin McCain. You can check it out here.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Brill Studies in Skepticism

The new book series, Brill Studies in Skepticism, arising out of the International Journal for the Study of Skepticism, has now a promotional webpage where you can find complete information about the series. Proposals for monographs or edited volumes are welcome.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Kant and Skepticism

The latest article published in Philosophers' Imprint is Matthew Kelsey’s “Kant’s Diagnosis of the Unity of Skepticism,” which you can find here. (I was surprised by the artificial distinction between Pyrrhonian and Agrippan skepticism.)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Wittgenstein and Skepticism

The 6th Annual Conference of the British Wittgenstein Society (BWS), titled "Wittgenstein and Epistemology," will take place at the University of Edinburgh on June 5-6, 2014. Quite a few of the papers will deal with skepticism. Information can be found here. (At this point, click on "Confirmed Speakers" to get information about the papers.)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pyrrhonism Past and Present

Next week (May 13, 14 & 16), I will give a lecture series titled "Pyrrhonism Past and Present" at the Universidade de São Paulo (USP) and at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). The lecture series will consist of three talks on Sextus Empiricus's Pyrrhonism, Robert Fogelin's neo-Pyrrhonism, and Oswaldo Porchat's neo-Pyrrhonism. I'm grateful to Plínio Junqueira Smith for the invitation, which will give me the opportunity to discuss both my interpretation of Pyrrhonism and my own Pyrrhonian stance.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Dream Argument

On May 16th, Walter Cavini (Bologna) will give the talk, "Rêve et aporie: l’argument sceptique du rêve de Platon à Wittgenstein," at the Centre Atlantique de Philosophie (Université de Nantes). For complete information, go here.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Review of Disagreement and Skepticism

The latest issue of Mind (122, Oct. 2013) includes Stephen Wright’s review of Disagreement and Skepticism (Routledge 2013), which I edited. I’d like to say something about the reviewer’s main concern (something I told him before the review was published). He says: “Given the book’s aim to differentiate itself from other collections on disagreement by tightly focusing on the relationship between disagreement and skepticism, one might question the inclusion of the significance of disagreement for a debate that is about anti-realism rather than skepticism.” He then adds: “In the same way that a traditional skeptic would not want to suggest that we lack knowledge of the external world because there are no suitably external facts to be known, a moral skeptic might thus also be reluctant to hold that the reason that we lack moral knowledge is because there are no moral facts.” And at the end of the review, he states: “Including the significance of disagreement for the dispute between moral realists and moral anti-realists, given the volume’s stated theme, thus remains surprising.”

Although I perfectly understand the reviewer’s point, we should remember that the label ‘moral skepticism’ is sometimes used to describe moral anti-realism or moral nihilism. The clearest example is John Leslie Mackie’s ‘moral error theory’, which claims that, though moral judgments are truth-apt, they area all false because there are no objective moral values, properties, or facts (see, e.g., p. 10 of the “Editor’s Introduction”). In his famous 1977 book, Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong (which I cite in the “Editor’s Introduction” and in my own chapter, and which is also cited in Tersman’s and Adams’s chapters), Mackie calls his view ‘moral skepticism’. Note also that this kind of position is referred to by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong as a variety of moral skepticism both in his book Moral Skepticisms (OUP, 2006) and in his entry on moral skepticism in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. He calls this variety of skepticism ‘skepticism about moral reality’. For those involved in the discussion of skepticism in metaethics, calling such a view ‘skepticism’ is not odd at all. That view is considered skeptical because it undermines people’s beliefs about morality by claiming either that all of our positive moral beliefs are false because there are no objective moral properties (Mackie) or that they are all neither true nor false because the moral facts they presuppose do not exist (Richard Joyce). I admit that some might be reluctant to call the position in question ‘skepticism’, but it is a fact that it is called that way in the literature, and I think it makes perfect sense to call that way. (In this regard, let me point out that, as I make clear in the volume, from the perspective of Pyrrhonian skepticism, several views we call ‘skepticism’ are not as a matter of fact skeptical: e.g., contemporary external world skepticism is not really skepticism because it asserts that we lack knowledge of the external world.) I therefore do not think that discussion of the implications of disagreement for the moral realism/anti-realism debate is a surprising inclusion at all.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

HowTheLightGetsIn - The World's Largest Philosophy Festival

I was asked to post information about the HowTheLightGetsIn philosophy festival, which will take place in the Welsh town Hay-on-Wye this summer from May 22 to June 1. The full program can be found here, but below are some highlights.

24th May - The Limits of Logic

Logicians don’t rule the world or get the most done. Could it be that a logically-consistent world view is neither desirable nor achievable? Would abandoning the straightjacket of rationality lead to a more exciting future, or simply to madness? With Simon Blackburn, Iain McGilchrist, and Beatrix Campbell.

27th May - New Gods

Evidence and reason are supposedly the basis of our beliefs. Yet religion continues to flourish, and new gods conquer even the most rational minds. Is unjustified, groundless belief an essential part of human nature? Or can we banish faith forever? American anthropologist Scott Atran, Cambridge philosopher Simon Blackburn, and human rights advocate Peter Tatchell examine the foundations of thought.

31st May - The Ultimate Proof

We think evidence decides the matter. Yet even suicide bombers think they have evidence to support their cause. Should we see independent evidence as an illusion? Would this lead to a chaotic world without foundations or constraint? Or open us to the richness of reality? Laurie Taylor asks philosopher advisor Nancy Cartwright, Templeton Prize-winning cosmologist George Ellis, and American anthropologist Daniel Everett to consider the evidence.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tony Brueckner (1953-2014)

As many of you already know, a couple of days ago Tony Brueckner (UCSB) passed away. I don't usually see the point of writing this kind of post because it makes no difference to the deceased. But upon reflection I thought I should say something because Tony was a member of the editorial board of both the International Journal for the Study of Skepticism and the recently launched Brill Studies in Skepticism book series. I never met him in person, but we've been in contact for the past four years because he was the most active member of the IJSS editorial board: he reviewed a couple of papers for us, encouraged some of his former grad students to submit their work to the journal, and above all he himself published two pieces in the journal and co-authored an article that will be published soon. I heard that he was having health problems because he couldn't write a chapter for a volume I'm co-editing with Baron Reed, but I didn't think it was something serious because a few weeks ago he sent me a new paper for consideration in the journal. Let me just add that he was always extremely friendly (it is everyone's opinion that he was an exceptional guy) and that he did groundbreaking work on epistemological skepticism--just take a look at his voluminous Essays on Skepticism (OUP 2010).

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Special Issue on the Regress Problem

The latest issue of Metaphilosophy is devoted to the regress problem. You can find the articles here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Workshop on Hume's Dialogues

On April 10th, 2014, there will be a workshop on Hume's Dialogues on Natural Religion, entitled "Illuminismo, scienza newtoniana e religione nei Dialoghi di David Hume," at the Accademia dei Lincei, Palazzo Corsini, Via della Lungara 10, Roma. I've uploaded the file with the program here.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Conference on Voltaire

I was asked to let you know about the upcoming conference Voltaire philosophe, which will take place in Paris on May 21-24. Even though the talks won't deal with skepticism, I'm sure that many of you will be interested in this conference. Now, on the first two days there will be some security restrictions to access the Luxembourg Palace, so if you're going to attend bring your ID and write to either one of the organizers, who will warn the security service: Sébastien Charles ( or Stéphance Pujol (

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Issue 4/1 of IJSS

Issue 4/1 of the International Journal for the Study of Skepticism is now out. It includes three articles, one discussion note, and three book reviews. You can find it here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Pyrrhonism and Persuasiveness

In a month or so, OUP will publish Strategies of Argument: Essays in Ancient Ethics, Epistemology, and Logic. Although it is not presented as such on the OUP webpage, the volume is a Festschrift for Gisela Striker. Now, the last paper is Svavar Svavarsson's "Sextus Empiricus on Persuasiveness and Equipollence." I look forward to reading it because I dealt with the same topic in a paper published in Méthexis a few years ago, and would like to see to what extent we disagree.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hume's Dialogues in Italian

An Italian translation, with facing English text, of Hume's Dialogues has just been published: Dialoghi sulla religione naturale (BUR Rizzoli, 2013). Gianni Paganini is the author of the translation, the introduction, and the commentary. Complete information can be found here.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Epicureanism & Skepticism

The following volume has just been published despite its official publication date: Stéphane Marchand & Francesco Verde (éds.), Épicurisme et Scepticisme (Roma: Sapienza Università Editrice, 2013). This collection derives from a conference held in Lyon in November 2012 and organized by Marchand. More information can be found on this webpage, but not the table of contents, so here it is:

Pierre-Marie Morel & Emidio Spinelli

Stéphane Marchand & Francesco Verde


Tranquility: Democritus and Pyrrho 
Svavar Svavarsson

Chain of Proof in Lucretius, Sextus, and Plato: Rhetorical Tradition and Philosophy 
Michael Erler

Scepticisme et thérapeutique : le cas de conscience du dogmatisme épicurien 
Julie Giovacchini

Le statut particulier de la philosophie épicurienne dans le néo-pyrrhonisme 
Stéphane Marchand


Epicureans and Cyrenaics on Pleasure as a Pathos
James Warren

La critique du critère de vérité épicurien chez Sextus Empiricus : un scepticisme sur le monde extérieur ?
Diego Machuca


Epicurean Attitude toward Geometry: The Sceptical Account 
Francesco Verde

Sextus Empiricus et le τέλoς épicurien : le plaisir est-il par nature digne d’être choisi ?
Emidio Spinelli

Friday, January 24, 2014

IJSS: TOC on PhilPapers

You can now find the TOC of the first three volumes (eight issues from 2011 to 2013) of the International Journal for the Study of Skepticism on PhilPapers.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Disagreement and Relativism

I haven't been able to post lately because I've been snowed under. So I couldn't let you know that the latest issue of Philosophy contains a nice paper by Steven Hales: "Motivations for Relativism as a Solution to Disagreements." It can be found here.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Three Talks on Sextus

Next Tuesday (January 14th), the Université Paris 1-Panthéon Sorbonne will host the workshop, "Travaux en cours sur le scepticisme antique," from 9.00 to 13.00 at the Centre Panthéon, Salle 11. Here's the program:

- Lorenzo Corti (Université de Lorraine): "Sextus, le nombre deux et le Phédon."

​- Stéphane Marchand (ENS de Lyon): "Scepticisme, empirisme et vie quotidienne."
- ​Alfonso Correa (Universidad Nacional de Colombia): "Les choix des pyrrhoniens."

Saturday, January 4, 2014

An Introduction to Skepticism

Bloomsbury (formerly Continuum) will soon publish Allan Hazlett's A Critical Introduction to Skepticism. For complete information, go here.