Frederick F. Schmitt

Frederick F. Schmitt

Oscar R. Ewing Professor Emeritus, Philosophy


  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1980
  • M.A., University of Michigan, 1976
  • B.S., Philosophy and Mathematics, Syracuse University, 1973

About Frederick F. Schmitt

Frederick F. Schmitt specializes in epistemology and metaphysics and the history of epistemology and metaphysics. He has taught at the University of Southern California, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Michigan, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has held fellowships at Ohio State University, the Center for Advanced Study at Urbana, the Program for Cultural Values and Ethics at Urbana, the University of Melbourne, and the College Arts and Humanities Institute of Indiana University. He is the author of Knowledge and Belief (Routledge, 1992), Truth: A Primer (Westview, 1995), and Hume's Epistemology in the Treatise: A Veritistic Interpretion (Oxford University Press, 2014), as well as the editor of Socializing Epistemology (Rowman and Littlefield, 1994), Socializing Metaphysics (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), and Theories of Truth (Blackwell, 2004). He is currently an associate editor of the journal Episteme.

He has written on reliabilism and naturalistic epistemology, internalism and externalism in epistemology, and the relation between epistemology and cognitive science. He has also written on ancient skepticism and on the epistemologies of Descartes, Hume, and Peirce. His current interests are in social epistemology, social metaphysics, virtue epistemology, and Hume's epistemology. In social epistemology, his particular interests include the epistemic status of testimony, the nature of group knowledge, and the social status of epistemic norms. In social metaphysics, he is concerned with the nature of groups and with social norms and conventions. He has an interest in virtue epistemology and cognitive abilities, and he has written on intelligence and curiosity. In Hume's Epistemology in the Treatise, he argues for a reliabilist interpretation of Hume on knowledge and justification. He is also working on Hume's philosophy of mind and theory of representation. He has an interest in Reid's philosophy of mind and epistemology and expects to work on them in the future.