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:
Please contact Taylor Matthews for more information and to register your interest.
Details to be confirmed