Skepticism and Politics in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries




Friday
May 
11th
&
Saturday
May
12th


A conference at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library 
—organized by Gianni Paganini, University of Piedmont, Vercelli and John Christian Laursen, University of California, Riverside


This conference starts from the point that much of our thinking in both philosophy and politics today is an inheritance from the encounters by major philosophers such as Hobbes, Descartes, Hume, Smith, and Kant with the skeptical traditions. Their work, in turn, influenced a host of minor figures such as the libertines of the seventeenth century and the political activists of the time of the French Revolution. The skeptical foundations of Hobbesian political philosophy, Cartesianism, and the clandestine writers of the seventeenth century fed into the Humean empiricism, Smithian cosmopolitanism, and Kantian political idealism of the Enlightenment. Along the way, literature and historical writing tried to make sense of the implications of skepticism for political life. All put together, we will try to bring out the political implications of philosophical skepticism in the early modern period as the foundation for understanding its continuing political implications today


Friday, 
May 11th
Program Schedule:
 
9:30 a.m.
Morning Coffee and Registration
 
10:00 a.m.
Gerald W. Cloud, University of California, Los Angeles
Welcome
John Christian Laursen, University of California, Riverside 
Gianni Paganini, University of Piedmont, Vercelli
Opening Remarks
Session I 
Chair: Gianni Paganini, University of Piedmont, Vercelli
Daniel Brunstetter, University of California, Irvine 
Itineraries of a Skeptic: From Sebond to La Mothe Le Vayer
Jean-Charles Darmon, Université de Versailles-Ecole normale supérieure 
Skeptical and Political Questionings of the Fable: Remarks on Some Experiences of Relativist Thought in the Classical Age
 
12:00 p.m.
Lunch
 
1:30 p.m.
Session II 
Chair: Joshua Dienstag, University of California, Los Angeles
Gianni Paganini, University of Piedmont, Vercelli 
Hobbes and the French Skeptics
Sylvia Giocanti, Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail
To Obey the Laws and Customs of One's Country: To Live in Disorder and Barbarity. The Powerlessness of Skeptical Politics According to Samuel Sorbière
Andrew Sabl, University of California, Los Angeles 
David Hume: Skepticism in Politics?
 
4:30 p.m.
Reception
 
Saturday,
May 12th
  
9:30 a.m.
Morning Coffee
 
10:00 a.m.
Session III 
Chair: Whitney Mannies, University of California, Riverside
Pierre Force, Columbia University 
Skepticism and Political Economy
Rodrigo Brandão, Universidade Federal do Paraná 
Can a Skeptic be a Reformer? Skepticism in Morals and Politics during the Enlightenment: The Case of Voltaire
 
12:00 p.m.
Lunch
 
1:30 p.m.
Session IV
Chair: Sharon Lloyd, University of Southern California
Sébastien Charles, Université de Sherbrooke
General Skepticism and the Political Exception: The Strange Dogmatism of Brissot de Warville in the French Revolution
Michael Forster, University of Chicago
The Zetetic Method and Liberalism in Kant and Herder
John Christian Laursen, University of California, Riverside
Karl Friedrich Stäudlin’s Diagnosis of the Political Effects of Skepticism in Late Eighteenth-Century Germany
 
4:00 p.m.
Program concludes
 

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