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.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Skepticism in Spanish

Those who can read Spanish will be interested in the new volume, Dudas filosóficas. Ensayos sobre escepticismo antiguo, moderno y contemporáneo (Gedisa/UAM, 2014), edited by Jorge Ornelas & Armando Cíntora. The volume includes both essays originally written in Spanish and translations of essays originally written in English. This is an important addition to the literature because skepticism has for the most part been neglected in Spanish speaking countries.

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.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Pyrrhonian Skepticism and Anti-Intellectualism

The latest issue of the Mexican journal Tópicos includes Jorge Ornelas's paper, "Escepticismo y anti-intelectualismo: una revisión del ideal socrático desde la perspectiva pirrónica." You can find it 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.)