Early Modern Skepticism and Humanist Epistemological Ambitions

PhD Advisor: Prof. Jan Miernowski

The Renaissance Europe rediscovered the ancient legacy of skepticism. Until recently this epistemological tradition was viewed as either serving Christian apologetic, or as a Trojan horse of the forthcoming modern philosophy and scientific revolution. The newest approaches to Renaissance epistemology demonstrated that it relied on solid rationalist legacy of Aristotelian theory of signs and that it was played out in very subtle, often self-ironic, rhetorical and literary discursive schemes. As doctoral student you will be invited to explore the relationship between early modern skepticism and the epistemological postulates of humanism by taking advantage of the newest insights of intellectual history, literary studies and the history of rhetoric.

If you choose this field of doctoral research you will complete your fellowships abroad at the following Partner Institution:

Centre d’Etudes Supérieures de la Renaissance (CESR)
The Centre d’Etudes Supérieures de la Renaissance (CESR) is the most important research center devoted to Renaissance studies in France. It regroups over fifty scholars and as many doctoral students from around the world. Among its multiple research specialties, two are of a particular interest to our Program: Renaissance Theories of Intelligence and Creativity and History of Sciences and Techniques. A uniquely specialized library houses 56,000 reference books, over 90 periodicals, over 4,000 Renaissance original printed books, and the strongest digital library of Renaissance books in the world Bibliothèques Humanistes Virtuelles. You will work under the supervision of Prof. Marie-Luce Demonet and Prof. Philippe Vendrix. For more information, see:

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Literatures, University of Cambridge
The Department of French at the University of Cambridge is part of the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages. It has a long tradition of excellence in research in 16th- and 17th-century French studies. Early modern specialists working there represent an impressive sum of expertise in early modern thought, religion, literature and rhetoric. Of particular interest is the Department’s research on humanism, neo-Platonism, neo-Latin literature, history of the book, and women's writing. The University Library and the College libraries have excellent holdings in early printed books. Moreover, the University Library recently received the Montaigne collection of Gilbert de Botton, which includes some of the books actually owned by Montaigne (including his heavily annotated copy of Lucretius) and many editions of the Essais. You will work under the supervision of Prof. Neil Kenny. For more information, see: