It refers to the concept that there is a need of a justification for everything. Only a true and a staunch belief is not adequate. The person should have ample reasons and rationality for this belief. The knowledge does not have sufficient justification to be known for sure. There is always a doubt in the truth of everything and it needs to be vindicated by logical reasoning. Skepticism need not suffocate creativity, investigation, and discovery. Being skeptical does not mean that one must miss out on the latest and greatest; it simply means that the skeptic will likely look before leaping. The skeptic is inclined to be suspicious of unexpected findings or claims that seem “too good to be true,” he or she does not immediately discount the improbable as impossible. Instead, he or she poses hypotheses, asks questions, and seeks relevant information for the purpose of evaluating these claims.
In skepticism there are two types of skeptics:
1. True skeptics
2. Pseudo skeptics
True skeptics refer to the questioning about the things that they are told and get to know about more novel views regarding the concept. They think about the possible evidences and proofs rather than preserving their fixed and static views. They are flexibles in their views and questioning their views thus supporting decent and quality logics and more on commonsensicality. They are capable of making their paradigms easy to be molded according to the most satisfactory reasoning. When the evidence seems to be true they admit that they are wide of the mark.
“Skepticism: the mark and even the pose of the educated mind” John Dewey
Whereas pseudo skeptics refer to the concept where the person does not question in order to get new aspects of rationality rather than intentionally criticize the knowledge provided. They consider their paradigms and beliefs as fixed and rigid that cannot be changed. Their only aim is to contempt their opponent for which they can even lie and give deceitful reasoning just to justify themselves. They are quick at drawing conclusions about the things they have little knowledge. They will never accept that they are wrong regardless of the provided logical statement.
“Do not let yourself be tainted with a barren skepticism” Louis Pasteur
TYPES OF SKEPTICISM
The types of skepticism are categorized on the basis to which skepticism is often directed. They are as follows:
1. Moral skepticism
Moral skepticism refers to the concept that nobody has moral knowledge and there is no certainty in the moral knowledge. The term moral skepticism is the opposite of moral realism which states that some ethics and morals are objective in nature which are not influenced by any subjective opinions.
2. Religious skepticism
Religious or theological skepticism refers to faith or religion based statements. As the name depicts that theology refers to the study of Gods and generally focuses on the truthfulness of the religion. Thus any doubts or questions regarding ones religion or faith comes under religious or theological skepticism. In philosophy, Socrates is considered to be one of the religious skeptics because he questioned about the legitimacy of beliefs of various Gods at his time.
3. Metaphysical skepticism
As the name depicts, this type of skepticism is related to the doubtful questioning regarding metaphysical existence and contradicts with metaphysical knowledge.
4. Scientific skepticism
This type is also known as empirical skepticism which is generally referred to the doubtful questioning and investigation regarding scientific knowledge acquired via scientific method. Scientific method consists of observations, experimentation, testing and formulating the hypothesis. The scientific skeptics demand corroborations and rationales for accepting the scientific data provided. Their main ambition is to dig out the reasons behind the existence of the scientific data or the statements.
Science and skepticism is considered to be synonymous in nature. In both of the conditions we have the right to change our view with the change in evidences. We tend to move towards the conclusion which seems to be more accurate and logical. It is all about the question that
“What are the main points which support or go against a particular claim?”
The more fantastical the claim, the more skeptical you should be unless the evidence is equally fantastic.
The value of skepticism in philosophy:
Skepticism has always been repeatedly attacked and ‘refuted’ in the history of philosophy and has only occasionally been set forth as a serious view. Challengers have argued from Greek times to the present that skepticism is unsustainable and that it soars in the face of common sense and ordinary beliefs. As Hume acknowledged, one of the features of skeptical argumentation is that “it confesses of no solution, and harvests no conviction.”
The skeptics from Sextus Empiricus to Montaigne, Bayle, Hume, and Santayana have pointed out that the strength of skepticism lies not in whether it is tenable as a position but in the force of its arguments against the claims of dogmatic philosophers. The historical skeptics did not say that they personally considered everything as uncertain and doubtful. They differentiated have faith in various matters from having adequate explanations for accepting them as true. The problem posed by skeptical probing was not what do, or what must, people believe but, rather, what evidence is there for beliefs, and is this evidence adequate?
“The skeptics from Sextus Empiricus to Montaigne, Bayle, Hume, and Santayana have pointed out that the strength of skepticism lies not in whether it is tenable as a position but in the force of its arguments against the claims of dogmatic philosophers.
From Greek times onward, skepticism has functioned as a disparaging to dogmatic philosophy and as a challenge to keep it honest. The skeptical assessment has succeeded on the desire to find a rational and reliable explanation of our knowledge and beliefs about the world. Nevertheless, skepticism has led to continual re-examination of philosophical entitlements and to new dogmatic systems trying to avoid complications in others. This in turn has led to new skeptical outbreaks and new criticisms or new versions of criticism.
Pros and cons of skepticism:
Skepticism is only fruitful when we aim to get a conclusion and get more aspects of thinking about that aspect. If we use the approach pseudo skepticism we are going to get “zero” results and we will stick to only thing regardless of the rational and logical evidences. Skepticism is all focused on critical thinking and critical thinking much more than saying a blunt NO otherwise a seven year kid could be a great philosopher. We have to consider different aspects of the point thus getting as much evidences as we can.
“More the rational evidences are, more perfect the conclusions would be”
Skepticism can be changed to cynicism if it gets consistent. In skepticism, a person doesn’t trust anything without solid explanations, which is why it is also related with doubt, especially when something hasn’t been practiced yet. Whereas cynicism is all about believing the poorest of something or someone. It has nothing to do with evidence. A person may take help of deception just to make his statement more acceptable.