Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle, Leiden, Netherlands (May 23-25, 2019)

I'm excited to be traveling to the Netherlands this week to attend the Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle at Leiden University, which will take place May 23-25, 2019. Details here.  See also a post I made over at the Indian Philosophy Blog.

My own presentation is entitled, "Jayarāśi’s Skepticism as an Irreligious Way of Life."  Here's the abstract.

The continental tradition has generally looked unfavorably upon philosophical skepticism, a key example being Heidegger’s famous dismissal of the problem of the external world in Being and Time.  By expanding the category of philosophical skepticism both temporally and culturally, however, I argue that philosophical skepticism ought to be of more interest to philosophers working within the continental tradition than has typically been the case.  Drawing on Pierre Hadot’s notion of philosophy as a way of life (Hadot 1995), I show that skepticism need not be dismissed as an abstract game of sterile epistemological theory, but it can be a viable way of life free from the fetters of dogmatic belief.  After a brief discussion of Hadot on Hellenistic skepticism as well as recent applications of Hadot’s work to Buddhist philosophy (e.g., Fiordalis 2018), I focus on the classical Indian skeptic Jayarāśi (c. 770-830 CE) and his expression of skepticism as a way of life, which forms a branch of the irreligious Cārvāka tradition.  I end with some brief comparisons between Jayarāśi’s skepticism and skeptical interpretations of the Chinese philosophical classic Zhuangzi (e.g., Kjellberg 1996, Raphals 1996, Trowbridge 2006).

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