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Launch Conference: The Existential Dimension of Doubt

5 September, 2024 - 6 September, 2024

While the ancient sceptics regarded scepticism about knowledge as a way of life, philosophers from Descartes to the present day have viewed it primarily as an intellectual problem that requires only a theoretical solution. The aim of this conference is to challenge this contention by focussing on the ‘existential’ dimension of doubt – i.e. the way in which sceptical problems affect the whole person. For example, Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, has proposed that doubt and anxiety are intrinsically linked, and, hence, that doubt may not just be an epistemic vice (if it is one), but also a character failing that consists in a refusal to confront (and to try and overcome) certain forms of angst, such as, for instance, a refusal to face up to the radical contingency and fragility of the (human) world and to take refuge in a ‘scapegoating’ scenario, where super-powerful, hidden agents are to blame: Descartes’ Evil Demon, on the one hand, or, say, a ‘Deep State’ controlling our actions, on the other. The conference aims to explore these issues from a number of different philosophical perspectives (both Kierkegaardian and non-Kierkegaardian) and to bring together Kierkegaard scholars and epistemologists, working in both theoretical and applied areas of the subject.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Anita Avramides (Oxford)
  • Yuval Avnur (Scripps)
  • Annalisa Coliva (UCI)
  • Jim Conant (Chicago)
  • Rick Furtak (Colorado)
  • Stephen Mulhall (Oxford)
  • Marilyn Piety (Drexel)
  • Duncan Pritchard (UCI)
  • Mark A. Tietjen (Stony Brook)

Please contact Taylor Matthews for more information and to register your interest. Please register by 5th August 2024


5 September, 2024
6 September, 2024


Avenue Campus
University of Southampton, Highfield Road
Southampton, SO17 1BF United Kingdom
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Planned Events

Details to be confirmed

May 2025
Workshop on the Epistemological Significance of Kierkegaard’s Climacus Works

September 2025
Workshop on Kierkegaard and Intellectual Courage

May 2026
Workshop on Conspiracy Theory, Epistemic Vice and Hinge Epistemology

September 2026
2-day international conference on Radical Scepticism, Intellectual Courage and Conspiracy Theory

May 2027
Workshop on Kierkegaard’s The Present Age and its Relevance to a ‘Post-Truth’ World

September 2027
Workshop on Knowledge Scepticism and ‘Post-truth’ Phenomena in the Wider Culture

October 2027
‘Ethical Challenges’ lecture on Scepticism and Conspiracy Theory

April 2028
Workshop on Intellectual Courage for policy makers and political commentators

July 2028
2-day Closing conference (interdisciplinary) on Scepticism and Doubt in a ‘Post-truth’ World