Scepticism, Pragmatism and Ordinary Language Philosophy

December 7, 2013
Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

UFR de Philosophie
17 rue de la Sorbonne

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"Scepticism, Pragmatism and Ordinary Language Philosophy"

7th December 2013, at:
Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
UFR de Philosophie, 17 rue de la Sorbonne, Salle Lalande

Centre de Philosophie Contemporaine de la Sorbonne (PhiCo EA3562)
In collaboration with:
GDRI PloCo CNRS Philosophie du langage ordinaire et conceptions ordinaires en
sciences sociales

Organized by David Zapero and Sandra Laugier

Conference Theme:
Whereas ancient philosophy sought to find a grounding for its claims in
ontology, i.e. in a theory of being, modern philosophy has considered that any
such theory must be preceded by epistemology, i.e. by an analysis of the claims
to knowledge made by such a theory. Modern philosophy has generally considered
it necessary that one determine what counts as a legitimate claim about the
world before one begins making any such claims. This has been called its
critical spirit: the modern philosophical tradition has emphasized the need to
‘critically’ inspect any claim before accepting it. This critical attitude is
however not wholly unproblematic. It has, most crucially, made conceivable a
quite peculiar scenario that has indeed accompanied modern philosophy as though
it were its shadow. It is the scenario in which we, so to speak, lose the
world; in which our claims to knowledge can’t be justified, our representations
can’t be ‘hooked up’ to the world, or our thoughts can’t ‘reach’ external

        According to such an account of skepticism, that considers the dilemmas of
skepticism as inextricably tied to the very idea of a theory of knowledge,
these dilemmas are not to be taken at face value. That is, one should not seek
to solve those dilemmas ‘head on’, by trying to find out whether our claims of
knowledge are, in fact, justified or not. Since they are rooted in a certain
enterprise, one must rather reflect upon the motivations of that enterprise,
i.e. upon the motivations behind epistemology. One must determine how the
demands for justification made by epistemology can arise, whether those demands
are legitimate, and, if they are, whether they imply the kind of difficulties
and paradoxes that skepticism believes they do.

        It is these questions that the conference will seek to address. Drawing
primarily upon pragmatism and ordinary language philosophy, the two major
currents that have helped develop such an account of skepticism, the conference
will seek to explore such issues as the ‘origins’ of skepticism, the
relationship between skepticism and the idea of epistemology, and the place -
if any - that epistemology can occupy in contemporary philosophy.


9h00 - Introduction by Sandra Laugier (Université Paris 1, PhiCo)

Morning Session – Chair : Sandra Laugier

9h15 – Élise  Marrou (Paris 1)
Ordinary Language Philosophy vs. Traditional Epistemology : Who’s Being
Dogmatic ?

10h15 – Emmanuel Halais (Université de Picardie, CURAPP)
Nature des valeurs et question sceptique

11h15 - Break

11h30 – Paola Marrati (Université Johns Hopkins)
The Novelty of the Ordinary

Afternoon Session – Chair : Mathias Girel

14h – Layla Raïd (Université de Picardie, CURAPP)
Dialogie et scepticisme : une approche bakhtinienne

15h – Pierre Fasula (Université Paris 1, PhiCo)
La connaissance de soi et la capacité à se-placer-dans-le-monde

16h – Pause

16h15 – David Zapero (Université Paris 1, PhiCo)
Knowledge and Commitment

17h15– Michael Williams (Université Johns Hopkins)
Skepticism and Everyday Life


contact: David Zapero ( and Sandra Laugier

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