Abraham Anderson's guest lecture "Are the Pyrrhonists a Sect of Liars?"; 2.7.2010, Helsinki

Abraham Anderson
Are the Pyrrhonists a Sect of Liars?

perjantai 2.7.
klo 13-15
U40 so. Metsätalo, sali 11

Abraham Anderson (Columbia University, Ph.D, 1986) teaches philosophy at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York. He has also taught at American University in Cairo, St. John’s College, Santa Fe, New Mexico and University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Professor Anderson research interests are skepticism in early modern philosophy (Hume, Kant), Descartes on science, method, and knowledge, and the notion of enthusiasm in Kant and Shaftesbury. He has published on Hume, Kant, Descartes and early modern philosophy. In 1997, his book on "The Treatise of the Three Impostors" came out. He has also translated "The Course of Remembrance and Other Essays on Hölderlin" by Dieter Hendrich. Currently Professor Anderson is working on a book on Kant's Awakening.


At the end of the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Hume asks whether skepticism is really possible and whether skeptics really exist. His answer seems ambiguous; he seems to say that both Cartesian doubt and radical Pyrrhonism are impossible, but also that Pyrrhonism can be useful by tempering dogmatism and leading to a 'more mitigated or academical scepticism.' I will argue that his treatment of this question is a response to Arnauld, who said that 'the Pyrrhonists are not a sect of honest people who maintain an opinion they believe, but a sect of liars.’" Arnauld regarded Pyrrhonism as a strategy for subverting religion, and Hume accepts this view.