Reactions to Skepticism


  • Charles de Belloy Lycée Français de San Francisco
  • Dr. Romi Mukherjee Institut d'Etudes Politiques and NYU



skepticism, nihilism, pragmatism, hedonism, Deleuze, Vattimo, values, society, knowledge


In modern continental philosophy, nihilism has taken place as an important train of thought, both as a consequence of Christian European society and as a novel skeptic argument. It calls for the total removal of current society because humanity has now metaphorically taken the place of God and thus should create its own values and structure. The replacement of God can be attributed to skepticism, which refutes the possibility of certain knowledge. This paper compares two opposite reactions to skepticism: nihilism and pragmatic skepticism. It explores the societal and individual implications of the fulfillment of both views, contrasting the potential danger of radical change with that of conformity. The modern trend of perfectionism and how it influences these philosophies is also explored. Inalienable rights are discussed and their legitimacy or implementation is put into question. Hedonistic consequences and their effect on rational thought are also mentioned to analyze the potential shortcomings of any skeptical view. The structure of society, values, and their evolution raises questions about their validity, origins, and use.


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Author Biography

Dr. Romi Mukherjee, Institut d'Etudes Politiques and NYU

Ph.d Sociology and History of Religions, University of Chicago
S. Romi Mukherjee is a sociologist and historian of religion whose research, broadly construed, examines the untimely collisions of the religious and the political in the contemporary moment.
Previously to coming to NYU-Paris, he was a Research Fellow at the Centre Interdisciplinaire pour la Recherche Comparative en Sciences Sociales (2007-2009) where he worked on a series of European Commission research projects concerning sustainable diversity, secularism and the return of religion, and collective
memory. He was also a researcher at UNESCO in the Social and Human Sciences Sector where he worked on issues pertaining to the anthropology of technology and the ethics of climate change. Since 2006, he also taught in the department of Political Humanities at Sciences Po – Paris. Committed to radical interdisciplinarity and transversal approaches to politics and
philosophy, he has published widely on inter alia the French Republic and its Discontents, Cultures of the Anthropocence, the Psychology of Terrorism, Trumpism and Political Theology, Georges Bataille, George Orwell, Frantz Fanon, and Gilles Deleuze.

References or Bibliography

Deleuze, Gilles. “Power, Classical Natural Right.” Sur Spinoza, 12/09/1980, University Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint Denis

Deleuze, Gilles. “The Overman: Against the Dialectic.” Nietzsche and Philosophy, Columbia University Press, 1983

Vattimo, Gianni. “Nihilism as Emancipation.” Vol. 5 No. 1, Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 2009

Rinard, Susanna. “Pragmatic Skepticism.” Rutgers Epistemology Conference 2019, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research



How to Cite

de Belloy, C., & Mukherjee, R. (2023). Reactions to Skepticism. Journal of Student Research, 12(1).



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