Disagreement and Academic Scepticism in Bayle

  • Michael W. HicksonEmail author
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas Archives internationales d'histoire des idées book series (ARCH, volume 221)


In this paper I first sketch José R. Maia Neto’s case that Bayle was an Academic sceptic and Thomas Lennon’s case that this reading helps to explain the Bayle enigma. Then I raise several problems for the Academic interpretation of Bayle as it has thus far been presented by these two authors. I will then expand and defend the Academic sceptical interpretation of Bayle by applying it to the particular case of Bayle’s most controversial philosophical work, the Continuation des pensées diverses sur la comète (CPD), of 1705. It is on the basis of this work that Gianluca Mori rested the bulk of his atheistic interpretation of Bayle, which has been in turn the starting point of much of the Bayle scholarship of the past decade. My thesis is that the CPD is a work of Academic scepticism, that Bayle himself invites this interpretation early in the CPD, and that this interpretation both undermines Mori’s atheistic reading of the work, while also explaining that reading’s plausibility.


Atheism Disagreement Existence of God Freedom Integrity Judgment Pyrrhonian Scepticism 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trent UniversityPeterboroughCanada

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