Epistemology After Sextus Empiricus

Mar 17Mar 18, 2017

Howison Library, Moses Hall


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.

This event is cosponsored by the departments of Rhetoric and Philosophy, the Townsend Center for the Humanities, the Lodge Fund, The UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly, and the Columbia Heyman Center. 

For more information, check out http://katjavogt.com/epistemology-after-sextus-empiricus/