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Scott Aikin

Associate Professor of Philosophy

My work spans four areas of research: theory of knowledge, ancient philosophy, informal logic and philosophy of religion. In theory of knowledge, I am focused on what it takes to be justified in holding a belief. Particularly, I am interested in what kind of reasons one must have and what the structure of those reasons must be. My work in ancient philosophy has been to investigate the variety of conceptions of knowing in Presocratic philosophy (primarily with Xenophanes) and in Hellenistic philosophy (primarily with the Stoics and Skeptics). My work in informal logic has been focused on epistemic appraisal of arguments and a correlate program for fallacy theory. And my research in philosophy of religion has been inspired by challenges to and conditions for knowledge of God's (non)existence and His properties.

I am very lucky that my teaching and research overlap. My intermediate logic course, the Formal Logic, is a full development of the proofing systems in propositional and quantificational logics and some involved philosophical discussion of what follows from the basic truths of logic. I've been using my co-edited Thinking about Logic (Westview 2010) for the last few years, and I've been very pleased with how students respond to discussions of Fatalism, the Justification of Deduction, and Lewis Carroll's logical version of Achilles and the Tortoise. My Ancient Philosophy course surveys developments in philosophical method from the Presocratics, through Plato and Aristotle, to the Imperial Skeptics and Stoics. And my Philosophy of Knowledge course is a survey of what I take to be the main questions comprising the area.


Epistemology, Pragmatism, Ancient

Representative publications


Political Argument in a Polarized Age, Polity (2020) with Robert B. Talisse
Pragmatism, Pluralism, and the Nature of Philosophy, Routledge (2020) with Robert B. Talisse 
Evidentialism and the Will to Believe (2014)
Why We Argue (And How We Should) (2013)
Epistemology and the Regress Problem, Routledge (2010)
Reasonable AtheismPrometheus Press (2011) with Robert B. Talisse
Pragmatism: A Guide for the PerplexedContinuum Press (2008) with Robert B. Talisse
Edited: The Pragmatism Reader, Princeton University Press (2011) with Robert B. Talisse
Edited: Thinking About Logic: Classic Essays, Westview Press (2010) with Steven M. Cahn and Robert B. Talisse


Skeptical Responses to Stoics and Epicureans on the Criterion,” in Routledge Handbook of Hellenistic Philosophy (2020)
The Owl of Minerva Problem,” Southwest Philosophical Review (2020)
Dialectical Responsibility and Regress Skepticism,” in Epistemic Duties (2020)
Deep Disagreement and the Problem of the Criterion,” Topoi (2019)
Deep Disagreement, the Dark Enlightenment, and the Rhetoric of the Red Pill,” Journal of Applied Philosophy (2019)
Pragmatism, Common Sense, and Metaphilosophy,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society (2018)
Dialecticality and Deep Disagreement,” Symposion (2018)
Seneca on Surpassing God.” The Journal of the American Philosophical Association. (2017)
Ciceronian Academic Skepticism, Augustinian Anti-Skepticism, and the Argument from Second Place.” Ancient Philosophy (2017)
Modest, but not Self-Effacing, Transcendental Arguments.” The Philosophical Forum (2017)
Methodological and Metaphilosophical Lessons in Plato’s Ion.” The Journal of Ancient Philosophy (2017)
What did Epicurus Learn from Plato?” With Lenn E. Goodman. Philosophy (2017)
Pragmatism and Metaphilosophy.” With Robert B. Talisse. In Pragmatism and Objectivity (2017)
So what if horses would draw horse gods?Sophia. (2016) 55:2.
Straw Men, Iron Men and Argumentative Virtue.” With John Casey. Topoi. (2016) 35:2.
Does Divine Hiding Undercut Positive Evidential Atheism?Religious Studies (2016)
Pragmatism and Pluralism Revisited.” With Robert B. Talisse. Political Studies Review. (2016)
Citizen Skeptic: Cicero’s Academic Republicanism.” Symposion. (2015)
Xenophanes’ High Rationalism: On Fragment 1:17-8.” EpochÄ“. (2014)
A Dilemma for James’s Doctrine of the Will-to-Believe.” William James Studies (2014)
Prospects for Moral Epistemic Infinitism.” Metaphilosophy (2014)
Stoicism, Feminism and Autonomy.” With Emily McGill. Symposion (2014) 1:1.
Responsible Sports Spectatorship and the Problem of Fantasy Leagues.” International Journal of Applied Philosophy (2013)
Poe’s Law, Group Polarization, and Argumentative Failure in Religious and Political Discourse." Social Semiotics (2012)
Pregnant Premise Arguments.” Informal Logic (2012)

Popular Work

Talisse and I host a YouTube philosophy video series with short (15 minute) videos at Philosophy15.

I write for the Informal Logic Blog The NonSequitur.

I am also a regular Monday columnist at 3QuarksDaily.

"The Truth about Hypocrisy" (with Robert B. Talisse)

"What do you do when they call you a 'tree-hugger'?"

"The Problem of Worship"

"Armed for the War on Christmas" Published in Christmas and Philosophy

Talisse and I were interviewed about Reasonable Atheism on NPR's "All Sides with Ann Fisher" (4/14/2011) streaming audio here.

I was interviewed about Civil Discourse and the 2016 elections on NPR’s “All Sides with Ann Fisher” (6/8/2016) streaming audio here.

I was on NPR’s “Dialogue” to discuss Argument and Civility (12/6/2016) streaming audio here.