Epistemology After Sextus Empiricus

A book project* and two conferences at Columbia University and UC Berkeley
Justin Vlasits (UC Berkeley), Katja Maria Vogt (Columbia University)

Meeting I
Commentators-at-large: Lorenzo Corti (Université de Lorraine), Melissa Fusco (Columbia University), Christiana Olfert (Tufts University), Simon Shogry (Princeton University), Justin Vlasits (UC Berkeley)


Friday October 28, Philosophy Hall 716, Columbia University

Session 1: 4:00-5:30 (with coffee/etc. available at the start), chaired by Justin Clarke-Doane (Columbia University)
Don Garrett (NYU)
Hume on Belief, Causation, and Pyrrhonism

Session 2: 5:30-7pm, chaired by Katja Vogt (Columbia University)
Kathryn Tabb (Columbia University)
Locke, Pyrrhonist Medicine, and the Ethics of Belief

Conference dinner for speakers and commentators

Saturday October 29, Philosophy Hall 716, Columbia University

Session 3: 9:30-11 (with coffee/etc. available at the start), chaired by Tamar Lando (Columbia University)
MGF Martin (University College London/UC Berkeley)
Variation and Change in Appearances

Session 4: 11-12:30, chaired by Robby Finley (Columbia University)
Kathrin Glüer-Pagin (University of Stockholm)
Illusory Looks

Lunch 12:30-1:30

Session 5: 1:30-3, chaired by Ignacio Ojea Quintana (Columbia University)
John Morrison (Barnard College/Columbia University)
Perceptual Relativism: Ancient and Contemporary

Session 6: 3-4:30 (with coffee/etc. available at the start), chaired by Whitney Schwab (University of Maryland)
Susanna Schellenberg (Rutgers University, New Brunswick)
Internalism and Knowledge First

Session 7: 4:30-6, chaired by Katja Vogt (Columbia University)
Peter Pagin (University of Stockholm)
Forceless Attributions

Meeting II
Commentators-at-large: Lara Buchak (UC Berkeley), Nick Gooding (UC Berkeley), Ian McCready-Flora (University of Virginia), Katy Meadows (Stanford), Barry Stroud (UC Berkeley)


Friday March 17, UC Berkeley

Session 1: 4:00-5:30 (with coffee/etc. available at the start)
Richard Bett (Johns Hopkins University)
Echoes of Sextus Empiricus in Nietzsche?

Session 2: 5:30-7pm
Jessica Berry (Georgia State University)
Sextan Skepticism and the Rise and Fall of German Idealism

Conference dinner for speakers and commentators

Saturday March 18, UC Berkeley

Session 3: 9:30-11 (with coffee/etc. available at the start)
Marko Malink (NYU)
Hypothetical Syllogisms and Infinite Regress

Session 4: 11-12:30
Justin Vlasits (UC Berkeley)
The First Riddle of Induction: Sextus and the Formal Learning Theorists

Lunch 12:30-1:30

Session 5: 1:30-3
Katja Vogt (Columbia University)
Incomplete Ignorance

Session 6: 3-4:30 (with coffee/etc. available at the start)
Sergio Tenenbaum (University of Toronto)
What is Special about Disagreement about Value?

Sponsors: Columbia Philosophy Department, Lodge Fund, Columbia Classical Studies Program, The Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University, UC Berkeley Philosophy Department, UC Berkeley Rhetoric Department, UC Berkeley Townsend Center, UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly

* Epistemology After Sextus Empiricus covers themes from Sextus Empiricus that have greatly shaped the history of epistemology. Relevant topics include the nature of investigation, perception and illusion, perceptual relativism, ignorance, belief-formation, induction, infinite regress, assertion, disagreement and conflicting appearances. Some chapters in the book are concerned with the reception of ideas from Sextus Empiricus; others are more immediately about skeptical arguments and themes. The book is part of a larger effort, namely to bring to the fore the philosophical sophistication of Hellenistic philosophy which continues to be less widely studied than Plato and Aristotle. Ancient skepticism addresses questions which remain highly relevant today. For example, the skeptics offer arguments on how one should react when things appear differently to different observers, when several explanations of phenomena seem available, how we should relate to differences in custom and ethical notions, how one can engage in inquiry even if one does not have a full grasp of the relevant concepts (as when one asks “are there atoms?” without having a firm notion of what atoms are), and more. These issues are immediately relevant to contemporary ethics and science. The book project is devoted to making more widely accessible these ideas, generating discussion that is inspired by ancient resources, and exploring contemporary takes on long-standing questions.