Wednesday, August 24, 2016


The focus of this conference is to explore the idea that philosophical skepticism in its deepest and historically most influential forms is best understood not as a species of philosophical thesis, position, or theory, but rather as something that enables a particular form of philosophical experience, praxis, and self-transformation. This idea is as old as the history of philosophy, finding its original sources in ancient skepticism and reasserting itself in a variety of guises throughout the intervening centuries. However, the tendency is still to construe philosophical skepticism as a form of philosophical thesis, either to be affirmed or to be denied.

The conference will not only explore the history of non- and anti-theoretical varieties of skepticism, but also their variety of forms of inheritance in contemporary Continental and Anglophone philosophy. Against the standard position in contemporary epistemology, this will contribute to a practical and transformative understanding of skepticism.

Conference Format

The conference will have a workshop-format. Papers will be pre-circulated and read before the conference, so that we can spend the majority of our time in discussion.  Anyone who wishes to take part in the conference is expected to prepare beforehand.

The papers and relevant background readings under discussion in the papers are available under the "Conference Papers" tab. Please email Ryan Simonelli at for the password to access the papers.


Jason Bridges (Chicago): “Skepticism and Beyond”
Eli Friedlander (Tel Aviv): “On Skepticism and the Unquestionable in Wittgenstein's Tractatus”
Rico Gutschmidt (Dresden/Chicago): “Performing Skepticism. Practice, Transformation, and the Finitude of the Human Condition”
Arata Hamawaki (Auburn): “Philosophical and Plain: an Examination”
Andrea Kern (Leipzig): “Is Philosophy Necessarily Skeptical?”
Jean-Luc Marion (Paris/Chicago): “Skepticism as Negative Certainty: The Case of Descartes”
Jean-Philippe Narboux (Bordeaux): “Counting as Art: Skepticism and the Aesthetics of Modernism”
Barry Stroud (Berkeley): “Learning from Skepticism”
Michael Williams (Johns Hopkins): “Skepticism as Illusion: Wittgenstein on Knowledge and Certainty”