Skepticism is the Western philosophical tradition that maintains that human beings can never arrive at any kind of certain knowledge. Originating in Greece in the middle of the fourth century BC, skepticism and its derivatives are based on the following principles:
There is no such thing as certainty in human knowledge.
All human knowledge is only probably true, that is, true most of the time, or not true.
Several non-Western cultures have skeptical traditions, particularly Buddhist philosophy, but properly speaking, skepticism refers only to a Greek philosophical tradition and its Greek, Roman, and European derivatives.
The school of Skeptic philosophers were called the "Skeptikoi" in Greece. The word is derived from the Greek verb, "skeptomai," which means "to look carefully, to reflect." The hallmark of the skeptikoi was caution; they refused to be caught in assertions that could be proven false. In fact, the entire system of skeptic philosophy was to present all knowledge as opinion only, that is, to assert nothing as true.
In this, they were firmly planted in a tradition started a century earlier by Socrates. Socrates claimed that he knew one and only one thing: that he knew nothing. So he would never go about making any assertions or opinions whatsoever. Instead, he set about questioning people who claimed to have knowledge, ostensibly for the purpose of learning from them, using a judicial cross-examination, called elenchus . If someone made an assertion, such as, "Virtue means acting in accordance with public morality, " he would keep questioning the speaker until he had forced him into a contradiction. As in a court of law, this contradiction proved that the speaker was lying in som...
... middle of paper ...
...at a certain piece of knowledge, that piece of knowledge then becomes the basis for clearing up other doubts. Descartes systematic doubt became the basis of the Enlightenment and modern scientific tradition. One begins with a proposition, or hypothesis, that is in doubt and then tests that proposition until one arrives, more or less, at a certain conclusion. That does not, however, end the story. When confronted by the conclusions of others, one's job is to doubt those conclusions and redo the tests. Once a hypothesis has been tested and retested, then one can conclude that one has arrived at a "scientific truth." That, of course, doesn't end it, for all scientific truths can be doubted sometime in the future. In other words, although scientists speak about certainty and truth all the time, the foundational epistemology is skeptical: doubt anything and everything.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- ... He adds that if in each belief there is doubt that we can conclude that all things that we believe can be considered false knowledge. He seeks to prove this by setting a precondition that we cannot critique all beliefs, just the ones that govern our life or that serve as a broad component of belief. Descartes then provides context to where beliefs come from and states that beliefs are created from senses or through senses. He then states that senses are false because they are deceptive and shouldn’t be trusted which is the first cause of being able to doubt a belief.... [tags: philosophical analysis]
1682 words (4.8 pages)
- assessment and the incorrect assertion depends on the conditional information that the auditor is having. Some of the reasons highlighted about the financial misstatements are clients’ effective internal controls. The auditors with high professional skepticism are likely to bring more persuasive evidence in terms of quality and quality of information that leads to more accurate financial reporting with error free statements. So for conducting effective audits it is necessary for auditors to adopt professional skepticism.... [tags: Auditing, Audit, Internal control, Financial audit]
980 words (2.8 pages)
- ... I did not just accept the results because they seemed to correlate with mine. Some would say that taking a skeptical approach, when collecting results from others, would not be the best approach, but I would disagree. Merely accepting their results, in a sense would be confirmation bias; to some extent their results matches mine and that is all the justification I need for the results they got. That is not the way one wants to go about in hopes of gaining reliable information. Considering the knowledge issue, skepticism should be contemplated as a means by which one can gain knowledge.... [tags: AOK's of natural sciences and history]
1347 words (3.8 pages)
- Kathleen Ng ACCT 4501W Research Article 1 Professional Skepticism According to the generally accepted auditing standards, there are ten basic standards that has to be followed when conducting an audit. The ten basic standards are broken down into three main categories: general, fieldwork, and reporting. In the general category, one of the standards is professional care. Professional care, also referred to as professional skepticism, can be defined as that an auditor should perform an audit with objectivity and without bias, while still maintaining skepticism.... [tags: Audit, Financial audit, Auditing]
718 words (2.1 pages)
- ... Berkeley in the other hand argues that there are ways to know everything that you perceive. He claims that if you are able to observe something, how in the world can you deny what you perceive. These are the two main differences between skepticism and Berkeley who is an idealist (person who believes that ideas are the only thing that are true). This is the reason why Berkeley is determine to prove his argument by stating that everything is an idea. From beginning to end all Berkeley does is talk about ideas and their origin.... [tags: external world, God, philosphy]
968 words (2.8 pages)
- ‘Skepticism’ refers the theory that we do not possess any knowledge; skepticism denies any existence of justified belief. This paper discusses the varieties of philosophical skepticism and explains the various skeptical arguments and responses to philosophical skepticism, along with both Hume, and Descartes take on skepticism. This paper will also describe the various arguments against skepticism along with their justification. While the arguments for skepticism and its various forms seem valid and theoretically proven to be justified, my stance is against skepticism.... [tags: Hume, Descartes]
1952 words (5.6 pages)
- ... My hope is the conclusion to my argument will convince you that Global Skepticism is not justified and we can, in fact, come to ‘know’ things about our reality and obtain knowledge. What others have said about the topic I mentioned Rene Descartes earlier in my writing and want to unpack his thinking a little more. In “Meditation on the First Philosophy,” Descartes starts to question whether he can really tell the difference between being asleep and being awake. He says the following: “Let us then suppose* that we are dreaming, and that these particular things (that we have our eyes open, are moving our head, stretching out our hands) are not true; and that perhaps we do not even have han... [tags: hopeless, confused, pessimistic]
1637 words (4.7 pages)
- To be a skeptic means that one disbelieves what others consider truth. For example, skepticism could apply to an atheist. Atheism is the non-belief in God, therefore and atheist would be a skeptic. Skepticism is a healthy attitude as one should question the ideas they are given, but they should not take it so far that they do not believe in anything. Descartes, says, “Several years have now passed since I first realized how numerous were the false opinions that in my youth I had taken to be true, and thus how doubtful were all those that I had subsequently built upon them.” (Ariew, pg 104).... [tags: trust, conflict, unhappiness]
608 words (1.7 pages)
- Skepticism Skepticism is the Western philosophical tradition that maintains that human beings can never arrive at any kind of certain knowledge. Originating in Greece in the middle of the fourth century BC, skepticism and its derivatives are based on the following principles: There is no such thing as certainty in human knowledge. All human knowledge is only probably true, that is, true most of the time, or not true. Several non-Western cultures have skeptical traditions, particularly Buddhist philosophy, but properly speaking, skepticism refers only to a Greek philosophical tradition and its Greek, Roman, and European derivatives.... [tags: Skeptic philosophy philosophers]
1132 words (3.2 pages)
- Skepticism You believe something, but you don't know it. So do you really know anything. Some believe the answer lies within the arguments of skepticism. I start by analyzing the argument from perspective. Do you believe that what you see is what it is. Let's say you and I are sitting on the couch looking at a picture on the wall. We both have different opinions of what we are looking at. And there's more to the picture than what we really see. Many factors impel us to have different opinions.... [tags: Papers]
477 words (1.4 pages)