Guido Tana

PhD Philosophy

  • Philosophy

Contact details



Dugald Stewart Building
Room 2.17

3 Charles Street, Edinburgh
Post code


PhD Candidate in Philosophy 2016-2019

In the Academic Year 2018/2019 I will be visiting doctoral student at the Humboldt-Chair of Professor James Conant,  University of Leipzig, in Germany


MA in Philosophy (University of Pavia/Freie Universitat Berlin) 2014

DAAD-Stipendiat (Freie Universitat Berlin)

BA in Philosophy (University of Pavia/ Universitat Konstanz) 2013


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Responsibilities & affiliations

Coordinator of the 8th Edinburgh Graduate Conference in Epistemology

Undergraduate teaching

Morality and Value (Fall Semester 2017)

Greats: From Plato to the Enlightenment (Spring Semester 2018)

Research summary

Area of Specialization

Epistemology: Skepticism, Foundations of Knowledge, Normativity

Theoretical Philosophy: Metaphilosophy

History of Philosophy: Wittgenstein, German Idealism (Hegel, Kant), 20th Century Philosophy (Heidegger, McDowell, Sellars, Phenomenology)

Areas of Competence

Philosophy of Mind (Intentionality, Social Cognition), Philosophy of Culture (Recognition Theory, Second Nature), Philosophy of Science (Feyerabend, Lakatos, Van Fraassen)

Project activity

The Truth of Skepticism. A post-Kantian Inquiry on the Nature of Philosophical Doubt


The Cartesian picture of knowledge underlies the central epistemological questions in contemporary philosophy. However, Cartesian epistemology paves the way for a sceptical threat about the knowledge of the external world, due to the way the engagement between subject and reality is framed. Dogmatist and Moorean answers appear to fail to engage with the sceptical problem in a satisfactory way, while at the same time the ordinary requirements on knowledge seemingly make room for a surrender to radical scepticism. Internalist and Externalist theories of knowledge propose to override the sceptical arguments each by defending a conception of experience in which some fundamental units of justification and belief supervene on something given, non-epistemic and non-normative. While both strategies individuate crucial components of what knowledge is, namely the responsiveness to one's environment and to one's own reasons for knowledge, the Cartesian picture that opposes the internal to the external aspects of cognition is the proper source of the sceptical problem itself. Hence, scepticism is to be understood both as a paradox arising from as well as a reaction to epistemological claims. Through the lenses of a Sellarsian critique of Cartesianism, scepticism is diagnosed as arising from the presuppositions and implicit claims of this paradigm, understood as a kind of foundationalism or epistemological realism that relies on something Given in either the environment or the subject. Due to this diagnosis, Cartesian scepticism will be shown to be a boundary case of a wider normative, justificatory question regarding the standing of the subject within the space of reasons, akin to the Underdetermination-based skeptical problem. This issue has roots in the Kantian investigation regarding the content and possibility of knowledge. Knowledge itself will therefore be understood not as something that is passively obtained, or that supervenes from one of the two sides of the internal/external distinction. Instead, knowledge is the exercise of our rational capability of engaging with reality through concepts and judgements where no gap is meaningful in the first place. This Kantian perspective will be connected to contemporary epistemological stances that rely on this diagnosis of Cartesian scepticism, such as Transcendental Arguments and especially Disjunctivism. Ultimately, both approaches will be shown as falling prey to the same foundational obstacles, due to  their aim of supplying an underlying fundamental justification for the whole normative framework that makes our experience of the world factive or based on foundational transcendental structures. The impossibility of escaping Agrippa's Trilemma will bring us to endorse a Pyrrhonian answer to the epistemological worries that create the sceptical threat in the first place. The Pyrrhonian perspective on knowledge takes up from this impasse, eliminating the need for foundational or transcendental justification, proposing a therapeutic attitude towards what we expect from epistemology. Pyrrhonism, investigated through two stances that explicitly refer to the worries arising from this justificatory and normative issue, the Hegelian and Wittgensteinian ones, will therefore offer a proposal about knowledge that frees it from the need of delivering an ultimate foundation to either the content of experience or to its normativity. Knowledge as an exercise of rationality is an intersubjective, conceptual and normative practice, which displays and develops the grammar of our engagement with the world and with other epistemic subjects. This engagement is understood as anti-foundationalist and social externalist, in which transcendental questions about the ultimate knowledge and certainty of reality have to be seen as meaningless. The outcome of this diagnosis of the connection between scepticism and epistemology shows the need to change the dialectic of both knowledge and doubt, to undercut reasons both for radical doubts and for a foundational grasp of reality.

Prof Duncan Pritchard

Dr Orestis Palermos (University of Cardiff)

Prof Modesto Gómez-Alonso

Being Part of Nature. The Concept of Second Nature in John McDowell and its Roots in Kant and Hegel - Graduate Conference in History of Philosophy, Collegio Ghislieri, University of Pavia, 13/10/2016

La Ricezione Americana di Hegel. La Lettura Sistematica: John McDowell e Robert Brandom, Graduate Course in Theoretical Philosophy, University of Pavia, 17/05/2016

La Ricezione Americana di Hegel. La Lettura Storica: Robert Pippin e Terry Pinkard, Graduate Course in Theoretical Philosophy, University of Pavia, 12/05/2016