Contemporary debates on skepticism

Jan Palkoska



The course is intended as an introduction into contemporary discussions concerning epistemological variants of skepticism. We will focus predominantly on the so-called Cartesian skeptical argument against perceptual knowledge of the external world and consider some leading proposals by contemporary Anglo-American thinkers in response to the challenge.


The course will take the form of a lecture accompanied by course readings. Active participation in discussion, solid attendance and a short essay are required to complete the course successfully.



Reading list:


Brueckner, A., „Why Nozick is a Sceptic“, Mind 93 (1984): 259-264.

Brueckner, A., „Knowledge of Content and Knowledge of the World“, The Philosophical Review 103 (1994): 327-343.

Brueckner, A., „The Structure of the Skeptical Argument“, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (1994): 827-835.

De Rose, K., „Solving the Skeptical Problem“, The Philosophical Review 104 (1995): 1-52.

Dretschke, F., „Epistemic Operators“, Journal of Philosophy 67 (1970): 1007-1023.

Feldman, R., „Contextualism and Skepticism“, Philosophical Perspectives 13 (1999): 91-114.

Johnsen, B.C., „On the Coherence of Pyrrhonian Skepticism“, The Philosophical Review 110 (2001): 521-561.

Nozick, R., Philosophical Explanations, Oxford 1981: Ch. 3.

Putnam, H., Reason, Truth and History, New York 1981: Ch. 1.

Sosa, E., „Philosophical Skepticism and Epistemic Circularity“, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Suppl. Vol. LXIV (1994): 263-290.

Sosa, E., „Reflective Knowledge in the Best Circles“, The Journal of Philosophy 94 (1997): 410-430.

Sosa, E., „How to Defeat Opposition to Moore“, Philosophical Perspectives 13 (1999): 141-154.

Stroud, B., The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism, New York 1984: Ch. 1.

Stroud, B., „Scepticism, ,Externalism‘, and the Goal of Epistemology“, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Suppl. Vol. LXIV (1994): 291-307.

Vogel, J., „The New Relevant Alternatives Theory“, Philosophical Perspectives 13 (1999): 155-180.