I’ll give you three reasons. First, I confess that I have no personal need to speak about myself – I mean, I’m not my own favorite topic when speaking publicly, and that’s putting it mildly. (I’m sorry: you can’t follow me on Twitter, not meaning to suggest that you’d want to; I’m not on Facebook; I have no idea why you would need my photo. But don’t get me wrong. I’m sure both Twitter and Facebook are awesome. And the photos… Well, there must be something I’m missing on that front as well.) And my superiors at PUCRS haven’t told me that I was expected to volunteer information about myself here. (I really appreciate it, superiors!) So, I’m really not sure that anybody needs this website. (Some would say that I’m the one who needs it, that a respectable academic must advertise himself in this fashion. I wish I knew if they’re right. And, most importantly, do my students need me to do this? Is this website any help to them? Is my way of doing the self-advertising at worst not detrimental to the pursuit of their goals? I wish I knew!)
Second, I’ve been lucky to have had some great teachers. In my formal education, these included Peter Klein and Roy Sorensen, my post-doctoral hosts at Rutgers University and New York University respectively, Nicholas Griffin, my Ph.D. supervisor at McMaster University, Douglas Odegard, my epistemology teacher at the Guelph-McMaster Doctoral Programme, and Luiz Henrique Lopes dos Santos, my M.A. supervisor at the University of São Paulo (Brazil). I hate to think that I’d be doing a disservice to them in publicizing their role in my education, in view of what I’ve said and done, or neither said nor done. I have no doubt that the time they spent on me could have been put to better use. So, this is the place where that waste is reported.
Third, I take Socrates seriously. I can’t help thinking that he would refuse to advertise his philosophical work in the self-congratulatory tone that has become the norm for autobiographical websites. The rare exception aside, have you noticed any trace of self-doubt in those personal pages lately? Any reference to the works of naysayers who engage with those philosophers’ works? (This concern is addressed below, in section 8, under "References".) Personally, I’d hate to have a website that Socrates wouldn’t approve of. And this may well be one of those that he would disapprove of. (To be sure, this may not apply to all in the profession. Maybe the great ones have no use for self-doubt. Maybe the great ones know they are great. Maybe that's one of the benefits of greatness. And maybe greatness does survive some measure of self-satisfaction, even in philosophy, even under Socrates’ long shadow. Maybe.)
But then, again, I suppose it’s been decided – somewhere, somehow, out of sight, for no obvious reason or rhyme, and in the still of the night – that every living man, woman and child must have his own web page and share every last detail of his dazzling life with anybody within walking distance of an Internet connection, or else face the wrath of the cyber-correct. (“Claudio, must your website be so…uhmm…boring? C’mon, show us your pets, your kids, the photos of your birthday party… (You do have kids, pets, birthday parties and a camera, don’t you?) Won’t you tell us about the teams you root for, the churches you go to, your favorite restaurant, your wish lists, your cheap thrills, your guilty pleasures, your pet peeves, your barbecue technique, your vegan principles, your karaoke songs, your video games, your garden, your gadgets, your resolutions for the new year?... Why are you rolling your eyes like that?! What’s wrong with you, man, I mean, dude?!”) Okay, okay! I’ll do my best to placate the cyber-correct. Maybe they do know better. (Maybe that’s why they are so dashing and self-assured. Oh, come on now!... I say this with love, cyber-correct people!) But I confess to being old-fashioned – in both what I’m willing to say about myself and in how I say it. So, with the cyber-correct’s mighty permission, their slashing netiquette rules notwithstanding, I may find it hard not to speak in an old-fashioned, uncool, definitely non-Twitter-friendly or Facebook-approved way, with the eventual caveats, provisos, qualifications, parenthetical clauses, footnotes, footnotes to footnotes, tirades, turns of phrase, sermons, rants, cautionary remarks, admonitions, circumlocutions, warnings, disclaimers, and even the occasional animadversions. Yes, I understand how goofy it is to be nuanced in these super-cool Twitter times. (You may even get the impression that I’m a grumpy old man. But you’d be very surprised. I’m not that old.) I’m not a hopeless case, though. I will mend my cyber-incorrect ways someday. In the meantime, in what follows, I may also, every now and then, perhaps annoyingly, but in good faith and strictly out of professional zeal, mention, or use, the name “Socrates”. But I will do my best not to keep repeating the name “Socrates”. (By the way, speaking of Socrates and Twitter, I’ve been struggling with this deep mystery: Why does anybody enjoy being limited to 140-character verbal bursts? Is that some new form of…cyber-masochism? Is it training for…illiteracy? Why, really? Never mind. I’m afraid anybody who asks the question is unlikely to understand the answer!)
2. My research interests…
…are all in contemporary epistemology. My current projects have me involved with the epistemology of reasoning, with epistemic closure and Cartesian skepticism, with the defeasibility theory of knowledge, and with the study of certain epistemic paradoxes, especially Moore’s Paradox, the Preface, the Lottery, the Surprise Exam, The Dogmatism Paradox (the Kripke/Harman problem, as labeled by Roy Sorensen) and the Paradox of Inference (Lewis Carroll’s problem of Achilles and the Tortoise, as labeled by Michael Clark). I am also presently involved with two of the major topics in social epistemology, the epistemology of disagreement and the epistemology of testimony.
My background in philosophy includes the study of a number of topics in Philosophy of Language, Philosophical Logic and the history of Analytic Philosophy. (I’ve written extensively on Bertrand Russell’s early work. My results can be found in my book Russell on the foundations of logic (partly in Portuguese), published in Brazil by EDIPUCRS, in 1998. ISBN: 85-7430-396-8.)