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DeviantNorm
April 6th, 2005, 02:32 PM
I posted this here because the title isn't really true - it was meant as kind of a joke.

I've found the path I want to walk, as far as personal beliefs and such matters go. And that is the path of the Pyrrhonian Skeptic. It isn't a religion...just a way of living. The following list is almost word for word from the book I read for my Reasoning and Argumentation class called "How To Become A Really Good Pain In The Ass", written by my professor Chris DiCarlo. I probably would have learned about skepticism elsewhere, but his class was an excellent place to start.

The Path Of The Pyrrhonian Skeptic

1. The skeptic is an inquirer. The skeptic inquires as to the true nature of experience.

2. The skeptic is confronted by ignorance and the realization that there are equally pursuading arguments as explanations to his/her experiences. And so, of equally pursuasive arguments, the skeptic maintains that: I know not to which of these things I ought to assent, and to which I ought not.

3.Faced with the inability to decide as to which argument is closer to the truth, the skeptic suspends belief or assent. By suspending belief, the skeptic attributes neither goodness nor badness to the events of his/her experiences and as a result, experiences ataraxia (tranquility of mind).

4. The skeptic lives according to the four-stage practical criterion**. Having made the important distinction between metaphysical matters and matters of common-sense experience, the skeptic can suspend judgement on the former and get on with the business of living. But while the skeptic lives, he do so in a moderate, relatively unperturbed state, realizing that beliefs can be maintained and held, but perhaps never metaphysically confirmed.

5. The skeptic continues to go on seeking because he/she is not dogmatic in his/her skepticism - that is, the skeptic believes it may be possible to attain knowledge concerning the true nature of experiences; he/she has simply no yet found it.

**1. The Guidance of Nature: the skeptic is guided by the natural human capacity for perception and thought - in other words, he/she uses his/her senses and mental capacities
2. The Constraint of Bodily Drives: there are certain drives that the skeptic satisfies - hunger leads him/her to eat, thirst leads him/her to drink, sex to procreate, etc
3. The Traditions of Laws and Customs: the skeptic keeps the rules and observes in the conduct of his/her life the pieties of his/her society.
4. Instruction in the Arts: The skeptic practices an art or profession so that he/she can contribute to society as a whole.

So yeah. I've actually already been on the path for some time, and just didn't realize it. I am slowly but surely incorporating it into my life and I'm quite content with the belief structure. It is neither denial nor acceptance of anything. Hence all my hoo ha lately about neutrality.

Whether God likes it or not, I am on this path. If it leads me to God, then so be it.

Worrying about right or wrong was driving me mad. Skepticism is a comfortable fit.

Apokalupsis
April 6th, 2005, 03:03 PM
Good post. Makes some interesting points and should make for a fun philosophical discussion. Now...if you don't mind...allow this theist to be a pain in the skeptic's ass. ;)



It isn't a religion...just a way of living.
Funny, that's exactly what many of faith say.



1. The skeptic is an inquirer. The skeptic inquires as to the true nature of experience.
But what group doesn't do this?



2. The skeptic is confronted by ignorance and the realization that there are equally pursuading arguments as explanations to his/her experiences.
Hmmm. I disagree here. Merely because we do not know all things, it does not follow that we cannot know at least some things. And if there are equally persuading arguments for all things, then we cannot know at anything. Yet you claim to know that there are equally pursuading arguments to things, so you at least must know this thing...while at the same time claiming you do not anything.

You affirm what you deny. It is a self-defeating position. However, see below prior to responding to this point.*


And so, of equally pursuasive arguments, the skeptic maintains that: I know not to which of these things I ought to assent, and to which I ought not.
*Perhaps the above could be cleared up with the following question: Is it the case that only SOME of our experiences have equally persuading arguments? Or is it the case that ALL of our experiences have equally persuading arguments?

If it is only ALL, then see above re: self-defeating. If it is only SOME, then this is a trivial step like the first step. All groups subscribe to this step, so thusfar, there is no distinguishing characteristic between yours and another's path.



3.Faced with the inability to decide as to which argument is closer to the truth, the skeptic suspends belief or assent. By suspending belief, the skeptic attributes neither goodness nor badness to the events of his/her experiences and as a result, experiences ataraxia (tranquility of mind).
Again, if it is the case that only SOME things are unknowable, then you are no different that any other group. If it is the case that ALL things are unknowable, well, then you are contradicting yourself with said position.

And it isn't irresponsible and harmful to society (to which you apparently have much faith in) if one does not take a stand on what is good and bad? That is, if you have no idea if it is good or bad to rape someone, nor if it is good or bad to help those in need, nor if it is good or bad to steal from others, nor if it is good or bad to protect children, nor if it is good or bad to CONTRIBUTE to society via arts or professin (to which you said ought to be done - which means 'good'), then of what value are you to society? And are you not instead, demonstrating a possible HARM to said society? After all, if you are incapable of distinguishing such elementary discernments of good and bad on such acts, then it stands that you may believe it is reasonable and even just to rape, steal, hurt children, etc... Do you really think these things ought to be done?



4. The skeptic lives according to the four-stage practical criterion. Having made the important distinction between metaphysical matters and matters of common-sense experience, the skeptic can suspend judgement on the former and get on with the business of living.
What if what matters...IS the metaphysical? Then you've missed the boat.


But while the skeptic lives, he do so in a moderate, relatively unperturbed state, realizing that beliefs can be maintained and held, but perhaps never metaphysically confirmed.
Sounds like an "ignorance is bliss" philosophy. Is this really an intellectual path to take? Or more of a defeatist attitude?



5. The skeptic continues to go on seeking because he/she is not dogmatic in his/her skepticism - that is, the skeptic believes it may be possible to attain knowledge concerning the true nature of experiences; he/she has simply no yet found it.
If it is the case that SOME things are knowable, then again, you are no different than any group out there. If it is the case that NO things are knowable, then point 5 is contradictory and your system fails. You cannot obtain knowledge about what is unknowable.



**1. The Guidance of Nature: the skeptic is guided by the natural human capacity for perception and thought - in other words, he/she uses his/her senses and mental capacities
Just like EVERY other group in existence. Got it.



2. The Constraint of Bodily Drives: there are certain drives that the skeptic satisfies - hunger leads him/her to eat, thirst leads him/her to drink, sex to procreate, etc
Just like EVERY other group in existence. Got it.



3. The Traditions of Laws and Customs: the skeptic keeps the rules and observes in the conduct of his/her life the pieties of his/her society.
Just like EVERY group in existence except one thing. Many groups believe that it is possible that society can err. And when a society does, a higher moral standard is to be exercised. This moral standard can be a number of things and have a number of foundations. But many groups hold that society is not the end all be all when it comes to morality (which is what you seem to be describing here). That is, if it were all of the sudden moral to harm children, many groups would disagree and instead of changing their moral standard, would seek to change society.

It does not appear through your belief system, you allow for this. Thus it would appear this is the first major difference between yours and other groups.


Instruction in the Arts: The skeptic practices an art or profession so that he/she can contribute to society as a whole.
Just like EVERY other belief system. Got it.



So yeah. I've actually already been on the path for some time, and just didn't realize it. I am slowly but surely incorporating it into my life and I'm quite content with the belief structure. It is neither denial nor acceptance of anything. Hence all my hoo ha lately about neutrality.
How is the above neutral? You are just like everyone else, except for the apparent idea that society is the end all be all of morality.

DeviantNorm
April 6th, 2005, 08:15 PM
Funny, that's exactly what many of faith say. Which is what I thought when I worded it like that. But then, so what if other faiths say it too? We say and believe what we want to.



But what group doesn't do this? What does that have to do with anything? I wasn't claiming that skepticism was better, more advanced, etc than other faiths, which appears to be how you took it.



Hmmm. I disagree here. Merely because we do not know all things, it does not follow that we cannot know at least some things. And if there are equally persuading arguments for all things, then we cannot know at anything. Yet you claim to know that there are equally pursuading arguments to things, so you at least must know this thing...while at the same time claiming you do not anything. What's in blue is from the text book....but since I'm defending it, I believe what was meant was that there are arguments for all sides of every issue and that one could find ways to accept just about any position. As a theist, you fall subject to this as well. You have your reasons, I pressume, for believing what you believe. Well, I haven't found my reasons yet (assuming there are any at all) You might have missed this part: "the skeptic believes it may be possible to attain knowledge concerning the true nature of experiences; he/she has simply not yet found it."



Is it the case that only SOME of our experiences have equally persuading arguments? Or is it the case that ALL of our experiences have equally persuading arguments? Some. But then, we all weight arguments differently, so who's to say? I feel we all lack the criteria for knowing what criteria is correct for interpreting the mysteries that plague us.


If it is only SOME, then this is a trivial step like the first step. All groups subscribe to this step, so thusfar, there is no distinguishing characteristic between yours and another's path. All groups subscribe to this step to a degree. I think skepticism does this to a higher degree than other beliefs I have become familiar with.


Again, if it is the case that only SOME things are unknowable, then you are no different that any other group. I don't understand why you keep making this point. I don't see how it contributes to your opposition.


And it isn't irresponsible and harmful to society (to which you apparently have much faith in) if one does not take a stand on what is good and bad? You misunderstand. Skeptics aren't completely ambivalent. On the contrary, skeptics strive to learn and expand their knowledge so that they may approach some kind of understanding on a higher level. For lack of what they feel is insufficient evidence in any one direction, they suspend their judgement. That doesn't mean they don't know the difference between good or bad. Therefore, this...



That is, if you have no idea if it is good or bad to rape someone, nor if it is good or bad to help those in need, nor if it is good or bad to steal from others, nor if it is good or bad to protect children, nor if it is good or bad to CONTRIBUTE to society via arts or professin (to which you said ought to be done - which means 'good'), then of what value are you to society? And are you not instead, demonstrating a possible HARM to said society? After all, if you are incapable of distinguishing such elementary discernments of good and bad on such acts, then it stands that you may believe it is reasonable and even just to rape, steal, hurt children, etc... Do you really think these things ought to be done?
...is not the case.



What if what matters...IS the metaphysical? Then you've missed the boat. Who said I, or any other skeptic, deny the importance of the metaphysical? Again, we want to know the answers, just like everyone else. But rather than choosing a religious faith (emphasis on religion, since again, skepticism is more of a social science ideology than a religious one) that best explains things, skeptics suspend their judgement. AND...should a skeptic find sufficient evidence to sway him or her in a particular manner, he or she acknowledges that they may be wrong. Now, not ALL religious people are incapable of this, but you have to admit....there are definitely people who are dead set on one belief and nothing else is correct to them. Skepticism, to me anyway, offers tranquility of mind because there is comfort in knowing I might be wrong...

So...



Sounds like an "ignorance is bliss" philosophy....you may see it this way, but to be fair, this is what atheists and agnostics like myself believe of thieists. I'm not saying I'm better than you because I can admit I might be wrong...I'm saying I find peace in it, like you find peace in believing in your God.

So...


Is this really an intellectual path to take? Or more of a defeatist attitude? Why isn't a good path to take? I've tried to find peace and answers in religion and found nothing. You have and I comend you. I should think you'd be happy for me that I've found something I can believe in *sniffle* ;)



If it is the case that SOME things are knowable, then again, you are no different than any group out there. If it is the case that NO things are knowable, then point 5 is contradictory and your system fails. You cannot obtain knowledge about what is unknowable Stop saying that! Bah! :?: :D



Just like EVERY other group in existence. Got it.


Just like EVERY other group in existence. Got it.


Just like EVERY group in existence except one thing. The sarcasm is strong in you, my child. ;)



Many groups believe that it is possible that society can err. And when a society does, a higher moral standard is to be exercised. This moral standard can be a number of things and have a number of foundations. But many groups hold that society is not the end all be all when it comes to morality (which is what you seem to be describing here). That is, if it were all of the sudden moral to harm children, many groups would disagree and instead of changing their moral standard, would seek to change society. You fail to identify what kind of groups you are talking about. You make a general sweep by simply saying "group". On the whole, you are correct: many groups do believe society can err. Not all religious groups do. Not all political groups do. Not all social groups do.

ANYWAY...I wasn't saying society is the end all and be all when it comes to morality. Acknowledging the pieties in society is nothing more than diplomacy.


How is the above neutral? You are just like everyone else, except for the apparent idea that society is the end all be all of morality. I hope I've cleared this up by now. If not, here it is again....

Skepticism calls for neutrality because there are a lot of questions we can't answer and that it's best to suspend judgement in such matters. We're talking about the larger scale, not the smaller scale, that is, metaphysical matters like god and an afterlife vs things like morals and social behaviour. We know a great deal about the latter and we can generally prove these things. But we can't apply this to one and all because we're getting into cultural relativism and that's not what this about. It's about the bigger questions. And again, seeing the good in society and contributing to it is diplomatic and reasonable. It's kinda like when Marx says people need to fulfill their individual capacities.

I'm tired now...lol...

Supaiku
April 6th, 2005, 10:09 PM
Frankly I'm a little skeptical.
Sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo that says keeping an open mind is a good thing... Throw in some extremes, fancy words and write a book about it... bam.

But I disagree on one part. Why should you have to suspend belief? Why not simply belive but be unsure? A qualifed belief. That seems to work out well for me. Frankly it's quite hard for me not to believe one or the other really...
Maybe this strict skeptic is a match for 'indecisive' people? Maybe we have a misunderstanding of belief?
Also, how does this lack of belief remove goodness and badness labels and how does that lead to being tranquil and the like?

Apokalupsis
April 6th, 2005, 10:55 PM
Which is what I thought when I worded it like that. But then, so what if other faiths say it too? We say and believe what we want to.
Of course we do (we all do). I'm just pointing out that this point is not exclusive to skepticism so it's a non-point. It's not unique. It's like saying: "I'm special as a human being because I breathe." No...all living human beings breathe. Breathing doesn't make anyone special, nor is it what makes one unique. So why point it out?



What does that have to do with anything? I wasn't claiming that skepticism was better, more advanced, etc than other faiths, which appears to be how you took it.
Again, I was pointing out that this isn't anything exclusive to skepticism. Thus far you could be an adherent to any and ALL belief systems. Typically, one chooses a belief system because they believe it to BE superior, unique, special, etc... This has not been shown as of yet.



What's in blue is from the text book....but since I'm defending it, I believe what was meant was that there are arguments for all sides of every issue and that one could find ways to accept just about any position.
I realize that it's from the book. ;) But you are a subscriber to that belief system and you posted it, thus I concluded you believe and adhere to it, which is why I responded to its points.

As far as arguments for all sides, I agree. But that isn't what was said. It was said that : that there are equally pursuading arguments as explanations to his/her experiences

That is, not only are there 2 sides to the argument, but there are 2 equally valid, persuading, cogent, etc... arguments. And this is just plain false.

The earth being round (as opposed to flat) has 2 arguments, but only 1 is persuading. Some people still argue that the earth is flat. Do you honestly find their arguments just as equally persuading (valid, cogent, etc...)?



As a theist, you fall subject to this as well. You have your reasons, I pressume, for believing what you believe.
I have my reasons for what I believe, but it is not true that of what I believe, there is an equally convincing, compelling, persuasive, etc... argument against it. If there was, then I could not be a theist, but rather an agnostic.


Well, I haven't found my reasons yet (assuming there are any at all) You might have missed this part: "the skeptic believes it may be possible to attain knowledge concerning the true nature of experiences; he/she has simply not yet found it."
But how do you know? If it is the case that it may or may not be possible to attain knowledge, then you cannot state that it IS possible, for then, you are making a truth claim. Either it IS possible or it is not. OR, you just have no clue one way or another (which is fine of course). But one cannot state that it IS possible while maintaining that it is equally impossible. It is contradictory.



Some.
If some, then skepticism is NO different than ANY other belief system on the market. No belief system claims to know ALL things. And you have just said that skepticism only claims to not know SOME things, which means that SOME things are known. Which is what all other belief systems claim.

So again, thus far (according to your own argument/claims) skepticism is absolutely NO different than atheism, agnosticism, theism, etc...



All groups subscribe to this step to a degree. I think skepticism does this to a higher degree than other beliefs I have become familiar with.
What does that mean? That there are just more things that you are unsure of? What is the measure of the number of things that qualifies the belief to be skepticism? Is there a standard? An arbitrary number of unknown things?



I don't understand why you keep making this point. I don't see how it contributes to your opposition.
Because it means you have made NO AGUMENT to support skepticism. You are saying that your group of humans is different because you breathe air. Your group is not unlike any other group...you haven't distinguished your group from any other. You have not offered anything unique to your group that 1) defines it, 2) persuades or compels others to subscribe to it, 3) shown that it is superior to another group, 4) that is contains more truth than another group, or 5) even IS a valid "group".



You misunderstand. Skeptics aren't completely ambivalent. On the contrary, skeptics strive to learn and expand their knowledge so that they may approach some kind of understanding on a higher level. For lack of what they feel is insufficient evidence in any one direction, they suspend their judgement. That doesn't mean they don't know the difference between good or bad. Therefore, this...

...is not the case.
Then you have just shown that skeptics do NOT suspend judgement despite claiming otherwise. You have MADE judgement on such things as you have responded to. JUST like every other group.



Who said I, or any other skeptic, deny the importance of the metaphysical? Again, we want to know the answers, just like everyone else. But rather than choosing a religious faith (emphasis on religion, since again, skepticism is more of a social science ideology than a religious one) that best explains things, skeptics suspend their judgement. AND...should a skeptic find sufficient evidence to sway him or her in a particular manner, he or she acknowledges that they may be wrong. Now, not ALL religious people are incapable of this, but you have to admit....there are definitely people who are dead set on one belief and nothing else is correct to them. Skepticism, to me anyway, offers tranquility of mind because there is comfort in knowing I might be wrong...
Point 4 says: The skeptic lives according to the four-stage practical criterion. Having made the important distinction between metaphysical matters and matters of common-sense experience, the skeptic can suspend judgement on the former and get on with the business of living.

It was said that it suspends judgement on the metaphysical so one can get on with one's life. How does this place ANY importance on the metaphysical? If it is being ignored, judgement suspended, etc... SO one can get on with their life...HOW is the metaphysical of any importance or value to the skeptic?



So...


...you may see it this way, but to be fair, this is what atheists and agnostics like myself believe of thieists. I'm not saying I'm better than you because I can admit I might be wrong...I'm saying I find peace in it, like you find peace in believing in your God.
No. This is not the same thing. An atheist examines the evidence and DENIES or REJECTS the evidence and/or the claims offered through it. A theist examines the evidence and AFFIRMS or ACCEPTS the evidence and/or the claims offered through it.

A conclusion has been reached by both of these groups. A skeptic never gets there and could care less about getting there apparently. For if he/she DID get their, they would no longer be a skeptic, but either an atheist or a theist.



So...

Why isn't a good path to take? I've tried to find peace and answers in religion and found nothing. You have and I comend you. I should think you'd be happy for me that I've found something I can believe in *sniffle* ;)
hehe But what is it exactly you BELIEVE in? You are merely stating 1) what all other groups believe in, and 2) contradicting what you say you believe in. ;)

I'm glad you are happy and have peace with your "belief system", don't get me wrong. But you DID post this in a philosophical debate forum, for you should expect it to be challenged. ;)



Stop saying that! Bah! :?: :D
I'll make a deal with you. You stop contradicting yourself and I'll stop pointing it out to you. :P


The sarcasm is strong in you, my child. ;)
Well, sometimes a 'lil dash of sarcasm slams the point home (sometimes not).


You fail to identify what kind of groups you are talking about. You make a general sweep by simply saying "group". On the whole, you are correct: many groups do believe society can err. Not all religious groups do. Not all political groups do. Not all social groups do.
I'd argue that ALL "groups" do. What religious groups believe that society cannot err? What political group believes that society/societies are perfect? What social groups believe society to be infallible? I default at "all" only because I know of NO group that holds to such an ideal as you argued. But even YOU said that society is not the end all be all (re: moral issues above - rape, child protection/harm, stealing, etc...), despite contradicting this very position.

Your position just isn't consistent. It cannot be. That is why it fails.



ANYWAY...I wasn't saying society is the end all and be all when it comes to morality. Acknowledging the pieties in society is nothing more than diplomacy.
I understand now. However, this would appear to again, be no different than any other group. Something I bet you are just so excited to hear again, eh? :lol:



I hope I've cleared this up by now. If not, here it is again....

Skepticism calls for neutrality because there are a lot of questions we can't answer and that it's best to suspend judgement in such matters. We're talking about the larger scale, not the smaller scale, that is, metaphysical matters like god and an afterlife vs things like morals and social behaviour. We know a great deal about the latter and we can generally prove these things. But we can't apply this to one and all because we're getting into cultural relativism and that's not what this about. It's about the bigger questions. And again, seeing the good in society and contributing to it is diplomatic and reasonable. It's kinda like when Marx says people need to fulfill their individual capacities.
OK, let's address the "large scale questions" issue. What ARE some of them? Why is it BETTER to suspend judgement about them? And if they are important, isn't it dangerous to suspend judgement on such matters?

Also, contributing to society is NOT a "skepticism thing", it's a human thing.

I think thus far, the ONLY claims of differentiation that have been made, is that skeptics suspend judgements concerning the metaphysical (and that's it). Correct me if I'm wrong. If that IS the issue, let's work with that.



I'm tired now...lol...
Me too. You type a lot! j/k

FruitandNut
April 6th, 2005, 11:11 PM
I posted this here because the title isn't really true - it was meant as kind of a joke.

I've found the path I want to walk, as far as personal beliefs and such matters go. And that is the path of the Pyrrhonian Skeptic. It isn't a religion...just a way of living. The following list is almost word for word from the book I read for my Reasoning and Argumentation class called "How To Become A Really Good Pain In The Ass", written by my professor Chris DiCarlo. I probably would have learned about skepticism elsewhere, but his class was an excellent place to start.

The Path Of The Pyrrhonian Skeptic


3.Faced with the inability to decide as to which argument is closer to the truth, the skeptic suspends belief or assent. By suspending belief, the skeptic attributes neither goodness nor badness to the events of his/her experiences and as a result, experiences ataraxia (tranquility of mind).
AS HUMANS HAVE AN INNATE CURIOUSITY, THEY ARE WIRED FOR A 'RESOLUTION' THEREFORE NOT TO BE ABLE TO RESOLVE IS HARDLY GOING TO HAVE MOST PEOPLE EXPERIENCE 'ATARAXIA'!!!!!! - QUITE THE OPPOSITE.



Whether God likes it or not, I am on this path. If it leads me to God, then so be it. HOW CAN YOU BE ON GOD'S PATH IF YOU ARE IN MENTAL OR SPIRITUAL 'STACIS'? Do you hope He will bump into you while on His travels?


Worrying about right or wrong was driving me mad. Skepticism is a comfortable fit.
IS YOUR SKEPTICISM JUST AN EXCUSE FOR APATHY AND/OR LAZINESS?

Apokalupsis
April 6th, 2005, 11:19 PM
Well...your CAPS button seems to be working well tonight, eh Fruity? :)

FruitandNut
April 6th, 2005, 11:34 PM
Absolutely CAPITAL Apok!!!!!

DeviantNorm
April 7th, 2005, 12:42 PM
Of course we do (we all do). I'm just pointing out that this point is not exclusive to skepticism so it's a non-point. It's not unique. It's like saying: "I'm special as a human being because I breathe." No...all living human beings breathe. Breathing doesn't make anyone special, nor is it what makes one unique. So why point it out?


Again, I was pointing out that this isn't anything exclusive to skepticism. Thus far you could be an adherent to any and ALL belief systems. It's a little more complex than similar qualities. I could be an adherant of any and all belief systems because I hold some of their beliefs, but certainly not the majority of their beliefs. It's the broader things I agree with, like you shouldn't hurt/kill people, community can be a great thing, etc. It stops there. I don't have a solid belief in any particular god, afterlife, or creation story. I have suspended my judgement. When I come across sufficient evidence, I'll be swayed one way or another.



Typically, one chooses a belief system because they believe it to BE superior, unique, special, etc... This has not been shown as of yet. It has nothing to do with that. It's preference and nothing more. You're saying that it's just a bunch of common concepts thrown together and given a name. Maybe. I don't see it that way. I'm having a hard time aritculating it. The point is, I'm not suggesting it's superior. "Unique" and "special" are in the eye of the beholder; I see something different in skepticism.




I realize that it's from the book. ;) But you are a subscriber to that belief system and you posted it, thus I concluded you believe and adhere to it, which is why I responded to its points.

As far as arguments for all sides, I agree. But that isn't what was said. It was said that : that there are equally pursuading arguments as explanations to his/her experiences

That is, not only are there 2 sides to the argument, but there are 2 equally valid, persuading, cogent, etc... arguments. And this is just plain false. Perhaps I ought to send DiCarlo this thread and see what he has to say in his own defence. Afterall, it is his wording. I made my own interpretations.



I have my reasons for what I believe, but it is not true that of what I believe, there is an equally convincing, compelling, persuasive, etc... argument against it. If there was, then I could not be a theist, but rather an agnostic. I am pretty much an agnostic. Skepticism isn't a religion, remember?


But how do you know? If it is the case that it may or may not be possible to attain knowledge, then you cannot state that it IS possible, for then, you are making a truth claim. Either it IS possible or it is not. OR, you just have no clue one way or another (which is fine of course). But one cannot state that it IS possible while maintaining that it is equally impossible. It is contradictory. Possible v ~ Possible is not a contradiction. So I suppose I have no clue one way or the other (just slap a dunce cap on me)



If some, then skepticism is NO different than ANY other belief system on the market. No belief system claims to know ALL things. Blah.



And you have just said that skepticism only claims to not know SOME things, which means that SOME things are known. Which is what all other belief systems claim. Skeptics claim to know some things, but mostly, I think they "fence sit". Skepticism doesn't make claims; skeptics do. Or don't.


So again, thus far (according to your own argument/claims) skepticism is absolutely NO different than atheism, agnosticism, theism, etc... It might be similar to atheism and agnositicism, but theism, not so much. Afterall, theists make claims on the metaphysical level. Skeptics might hold a belief, but they also acknowledge that they might be wrong. Most theists I know don't. Do you?



Because it means you have made NO AGUMENT to support skepticism. You are saying that your group of humans is different because you breathe air. Your group is not unlike any other group...you haven't distinguished your group from any other. You have not offered anything unique to your group that 1) defines it, 2) persuades or compels others to subscribe to it, 3) shown that it is superior to another group, 4) that is contains more truth than another group, or 5) even IS a valid "group". The only one of your points I think is relevant is the first. Whether other people are compelled to join makes no difference; it isn't a political race or a religious teaching. Same thing with the third and fourth points. The fifth, again, is a matter of personal opinion.



Point 4 says: The skeptic lives according to the four-stage practical criterion. Having made the important distinction between metaphysical matters and matters of common-sense experience, the skeptic can suspend judgement on the former and get on with the business of living.

It was said that it suspends judgement on the metaphysical so one can get on with one's life. How does this place ANY importance on the metaphysical? If it is being ignored, judgement suspended, etc... SO one can get on with their life...HOW is the metaphysical of any importance or value to the skeptic? You see suspending judgement as a negative thing. It isn't denial. It isn't rejection. It also isn't affirmation or acceptance. It's being neutral.

For example, I'm not going to hurry up and pick a religious faith just for the sake of having one. When I'm compelled to join a religion, I'll join. I am not compelled. I am not compelled in the opposite direction either. So I sit in the middle, judgement suspended.


No. This is not the same thing. An atheist examines the evidence and DENIES or REJECTS the evidence and/or the claims offered through it. A theist examines the evidence and AFFIRMS or ACCEPTS the evidence and/or the claims offered through it.

A conclusion has been reached by both of these groups. A skeptic never gets there and could care less about getting there apparently. For if he/she DID get their, they would no longer be a skeptic, but either an atheist or a theist. I really shouldn't have made the connection between religion and skepticism...



hehe But what is it exactly you BELIEVE in? You are merely stating 1) what all other groups believe in, and 2) contradicting what you say you believe in. ;) As my big brother would say to me: "Boourns and fooshneegan". In other words...BLAH.


I'm glad you are happy and have peace with your "belief system", don't get me wrong. But you DID post this in a philosophical debate forum, for you should expect it to be challenged. ;) I know, I know...



Well, sometimes a 'lil dash of sarcasm slams the point home (sometimes not). I respond much better to pleasantness ;)



I'd argue that ALL "groups" do. What religious groups believe that society cannot err? What political group believes that society/societies are perfect? What social groups believe society to be infallible? I default at "all" only because I know of NO group that holds to such an ideal as you argued. But even YOU said that society is not the end all be all (re: moral issues above - rape, child protection/harm, stealing, etc...), despite contradicting this very position. A weak point, I admit.


Your position just isn't consistent. It cannot be. That is why it fails. I'm working on it, damn! :p



OK, let's address the "large scale questions" issue. What ARE some of them? Why is it BETTER to suspend judgement about them? And if they are important, isn't it dangerous to suspend judgement on such matters? I believe larger scale are mostly the metaphysical. Is there a God? An afterlife? A meaning to life? etc...I didn't say it was better to suspend judgement. It is for me.


Also, contributing to society is NOT a "skepticism thing", it's a human thing. Wanna come to my hometown an inform everyone of that?




Me too. You type a lot! j/k So do you :P

DeviantNorm
April 7th, 2005, 12:48 PM
AS HUMANS HAVE AN INNATE CURIOUSITY, THEY ARE WIRED FOR A 'RESOLUTION' THEREFORE NOT TO BE ABLE TO RESOLVE IS HARDLY GOING TO HAVE MOST PEOPLE EXPERIENCE 'ATARAXIA'!!!!!! - QUITE THE OPPOSITE. I agree. I like it though ;)


HOW CAN YOU BE ON GOD'S PATH IF YOU ARE IN MENTAL OR SPIRITUAL 'STACIS'? I don't know if I'm God's path.


Do you hope He will bump into you while on His travels? Actually, I gave him change for the bus one time....



IS YOUR SKEPTICISM JUST AN EXCUSE FOR APATHY AND/OR LAZINESS? No. I'm not apathetic about all things. I don't know what side to chose, so I haven't chosen one. Call that lazy if you will. I call it getting on with my life without worrying so damn much whether Christianity is right and I'm going to hell, or whatever. As I said to Apok: "When I'm compelled to join a religion, I'll join. I am not compelled. I am not compelled in the opposite direction either. So I sit in the middle, judgement suspended."

Apokalupsis
April 7th, 2005, 02:34 PM
It's a little more complex than similar qualities. I could be an adherant of any and all belief systems because I hold some of their beliefs, but certainly not the majority of their beliefs. It's the broader things I agree with, like you shouldn't hurt/kill people, community can be a great thing, etc. It stops there. I don't have a solid belief in any particular god, afterlife, or creation story. I have suspended my judgement. When I come across sufficient evidence, I'll be swayed one way or another.
No no, you misunderstand. I'm not saying that skeptics believe in the same doctrines/beliefs of other belief systems/groups...I'm saying that skepticism (according to you thus far), shares the exact same quality of "We say and believe what we want to." Whether one is an atheist, agnostic, skeptic, theist, pantheist, panantheist, deist, polytheist, etc... the same statement could be made. So in this sense, it is NOT a defining characteristic about skepticism. Thus, it's a non-point.



It has nothing to do with that. It's preference and nothing more. You're saying that it's just a bunch of common concepts thrown together and given a name. Maybe. I don't see it that way.
Let me illustrate. Why do you PERSONALLY subscribe to skepticism. What about it is appealing to you?


I'm having a hard time aritculating it. The point is, I'm not suggesting it's superior. "Unique" and "special" are in the eye of the beholder; I see something different in skepticism.
What is the "something different" though? Thus far, there IS nothing intrinsically different about it. So you are unsure about the metaphysical...is that it? If so, how does this differ from agnosticism?



Perhaps I ought to send DiCarlo this thread and see what he has to say in his own defence. Afterall, it is his wording. I made my own interpretations.
Please do! We enjoy intelligent discourse here. ;)



I am pretty much an agnostic. Skepticism isn't a religion, remember?
OK, so then you do not differentiate between an agnostic or skeptic? Do you believe them to be the same?

Also, agnosticism, skepticism, atheism, theism, pantheism, deism, etc... none are "religions". Each are world views or philosophies that speak of the metaphysical, generally addressing the issue of a higher power commonly referred to as : God, god, gods.

They are terms used that describe WHAT one believes concerning the nature of God. He does not exist, God does exist, God is all, God is unknown, God is unknowable, etc...

They are philosophical positions concerning the nature of God (generally speaking)



Possible v ~ Possible is not a contradiction.
I agree. You've cleared up your position a bit so my statement doesn't make much sense in light of it. ;)



Blah.
"Frustrating, it is" - Yoda.

But I still do not see how skepticism is different than any other belief system OTHER than merely stating: "I do not know." but in THAT case, it is agnosticism. Do you believe that is what skepticism is? Just agnosticism? If so, ok, we can go from there.

My problem is however, you gave a list of items that are said to "define" skepticism, but they really don't. From that list, we know pretty much nothing about skepticism since nearly every one of those items are also characteristics of EVERY other belief system, philosophy, world view. THAT is why I said you could be a theist, atheist, pantheist, etc...

I do not believe that the given "list" or "statement" properly defines and describes skepticism. There I said it. ;)



Skeptics claim to know some things, but mostly, I think they "fence sit". Skepticism doesn't make claims; skeptics do. Or don't.
When we say that a belief system makes claims, we are explaining or summarizing the position. That is, it is valid to state: "Theism claims that God exists." Now, there is no such LIVING being named Theism that makes an actual verbal or written claim to that effect...but the theism AS a worldview is correctly defined by that statement.

Back to your statement...

You STILL have not shown anything defining about skepticis or being a skeptic at this point (other than saying of ALL things metaphysical, I am unsure). Many theists sit on the fence about a number of metaphysical things, so do agnostics, pantheists and I know some atheists would would probably argue that they do as well.

So it is the practice of fence sitting that is universal...but perhaps WHAT SPECIFICALLY is being undecided or decided upon that is in question? Perhaps this is what you are getting at? The opening post certainly does not define skepticism like this, but perhaps YOU personally do, which is fine.



It might be similar to atheism and agnositicism, but theism, not so much. Afterall, theists make claims on the metaphysical level. Skeptics might hold a belief, but they also acknowledge that they might be wrong. Most theists I know don't. Do you?
I don't believe this was the issue that was brought up. The issue is whether or not some or all things are unknowable. That's it, end of story. And in that sense, skepticism is JUST LIKE all other groups in existence because NO group, not even theists claim that ALL things (metaphysical) are knowable.

Now, addressing the new direction you are taking this... I'd say that most theists acknowledge that they COULD be wrong about certain things. I've never met any theist frankly, who said that of all that they know of the metaphysical, they are absolutely certain about.

This is not the same thing as stating: "I believe in A, B, C, D, E, F and G, but I acknowledge that I can be wrong about all the above." Instead, it is saying "I could be wrong about some of the above." Again, this goes back to "knowing some things" and not having to "know all things".



The only one of your points I think is relevant is the first. Whether other people are compelled to join makes no difference; it isn't a political race or a religious teaching. Same thing with the third and fourth points. The fifth, again, is a matter of personal opinion.
It's a metaphysical position. A metaphysical position MAKES A CLAIM. All do, no exception. That is the nature of metaphysical positions. Theism says there is a God, atheism says there is no "God(s)", deism says there is a God but he is not personal and not involved, pantheism says that God is everything, agnosticism says that God is unknowable, etc...

So...what does skepticism say do you think?


You see suspending judgement as a negative thing. It isn't denial. It isn't rejection. It also isn't affirmation or acceptance. It's being neutral.
Really? OK, please answer:

Does God exist?



For example, I'm not going to hurry up and pick a religious faith just for the sake of having one. When I'm compelled to join a religion, I'll join. I am not compelled. I am not compelled in the opposite direction either. So I sit in the middle, judgement suspended.
But the approach here you have taken, is the same that others in other groups take until they come to that conclusion. Let's take this from a different angle...

----- : the path of discovery
A : atheism
T : theism
S : skepticism
* : decision making point


-----S--S--S--S--S--S--S--S--S--S--*--------A
                                                      \
                                                        -------T

Are you perhaps saying that S is merely a "stage" that one is currently in along the path to discoverery? If so could then A and T be the ends of that path once one has completed said path (a conclusion)?


I really shouldn't have made the connection between religion and skepticism...
Does skepticism pertain to ONLY the metaphysical? Or does it pertain to other areas of one's life as well? That is, can you take the same approach in areas of work, play, relationships, responsibility, finances, careers, etc...? If so, can you give some examples of how this works?

If it is NOT the case that one can apply it to that which is outside the metaphysical, then you have no CHOICE but to make the connection to religion, or the metaphysical rather.

I think we are getting closer to defining it (as you see it), but I don't think we are quite there yet. ;)

DeviantNorm
April 7th, 2005, 08:42 PM
No no, you misunderstand. I'm not saying that skeptics believe in the same doctrines/beliefs of other belief systems/groups...I'm saying that skepticism (according to you thus far), shares the exact same quality of "We say and believe what we want to." Whether one is an atheist, agnostic, skeptic, theist, pantheist, panantheist, deist, polytheist, etc... the same statement could be made. So in this sense, it is NOT a defining characteristic about skepticism. Thus, it's a non-point. I understand now and concur.



Let me illustrate. Why do you PERSONALLY subscribe to skepticism. What about it is appealing to you? I'm not as comforted now by the thought of a higher power as I used to be...I suppose in skepticism, I can sort of excerise my own dimplomacy with God. "I don't know if you're there, but I don't deny that you might be there". I used to be very angry with God, whoever that might be; skepticism cools it. Does that make sense?


[
What is the "something different" though? Thus far, there IS nothing intrinsically different about it. So you are unsure about the metaphysical...is that it? If so, how does this differ from agnosticism? I think the main thing I like about skepticism is the possibility that I might be wrong. Fruity mentioned that most people wouldn't go for that because it's human nature to be inquisitive and solidify things. I guess I'm not like that, at least concerning metaphysical matters. I like to discuss religion, not debate it. I don't want to prove to someone that what I think is right; I want to explain why I believe it and how I came to those conclusions, and likewise, to hear their sides. I'm not out to prove anything such matters because I do not propose to know the answers. People who subscribe to religious ideologies do. You say many theists can accept that they might be wrong? Maybe, but to be a true (insert faith here), shouldn't one sincerely believe in the program? For example, if you are a Christian, you must believe in the Christian god. Therefore, you believe God exists. To be true to your faith, it has to follow that you believe in it's figurehead; this is why I felt it was wrong for me to continue calling myself Wiccan. I no longer believed in a God and a Goddess, though I believe(d) in several of the religion's points.

I'm rambling, aren't I?



Please do! We enjoy intelligent discourse here. ;) *cough*reppoints*cough* Ahem.



OK, so then you do not differentiate between an agnostic or skeptic? Do you believe them to be the same? At the very least, quite similar.


Also, agnosticism, skepticism, atheism, theism, pantheism, deism, etc... none are "religions". Each are world views or philosophies that speak of the metaphysical, generally addressing the issue of a higher power commonly referred to as : God, god, gods. You know what I meant :p



I agree. You've cleared up your position a bit so my statement doesn't make much sense in light of it. ;) :D



But I still do not see how skepticism is different than any other belief system OTHER than merely stating: "I do not know." but in THAT case, it is agnosticism. Do you believe that is what skepticism is? Just agnosticism? If so, ok, we can go from there. Yeah. Maybe. I dunno. You've got me thinking about that.


My problem is however, you gave a list of items that are said to "define" skepticism, but they really don't. From that list, we know pretty much nothing about skepticism since nearly every one of those items are also characteristics of EVERY other belief system, philosophy, world view. THAT is why I said you could be a theist, atheist, pantheist, etc...

I do not believe that the given "list" or "statement" properly defines and describes skepticism. There I said it. ;) It's all good.



Now, addressing the new direction you are taking this... I'd say that most theists acknowledge that they COULD be wrong about certain things. I've never met any theist frankly, who said that of all that they know of the metaphysical, they are absolutely certain about. They might be lying about the strength of their convictions, but otherwise, I know people like that.


So...what does skepticism say do you think? There doesn't appear to be a set answer.



Really? OK, please answer:

Does God exist? I'm not sure.



But the approach here you have taken, is the same that others in other groups take until they come to that conclusion. Let's take this from a different angle...

----- : the path of discovery
A : atheism
T : theism
S : skepticism
* : decision making point


-----S--S--S--S--S--S--S--S--S--S--*--------A
                                                      \
                                                        -------T

Are you perhaps saying that S is merely a "stage" that one is currently in along the path to discoverery? If so could then A and T be the ends of that path once one has completed said path (a conclusion)? Hadn't thought of it like that. Illustrations help ;)



Does skepticism pertain to ONLY the metaphysical? Or does it pertain to other areas of one's life as well? That is, can you take the same approach in areas of work, play, relationships, responsibility, finances, careers, etc...? If so, can you give some examples of how this works? Haven't got that far yet.

PerVirtuous
April 9th, 2005, 11:51 AM
Bravo! DeviantNorm RULES! The quality of her writing in this thread is wonderful, perhaps the best I have seen on this site to date. (Don't get too excited, I'm new and haven't seen much yet) I would like to take up DeviantNorm's banner for a moment. Permit me to "PerVitruous" her concept into what I interpret it to mean.

What most people fail to see in the skeptic's view is the sheer power of humility. By accepting that one may very well never know the answer to anything one is admitting the truth of the limitations of human thought. This, in and of itself, puts the skeptic viewpoint on a more solid footing than most philosophies or religions. I believe that the weakness of most points of view is that they are convinced that they are capable of knowing the answers and will, therefore, find an answer and believe it simply so that they do not feel left out. By rejecting this point of view, the skeptic is showing the epitome of humility. The attacks upon Deviant Norm in this thread completely miss this point. Reread the entire thread and see the unabashed conceit and downtalking in the opposing posts.

Do not misunderstand me, I am neither accusing anyone of anything nor judging anyone. I am simply pointing out that while one side of this argument admits they do not know all the answers one side seems to believe everything can be known and known by them. Perhaps this is true, I highly doubt it.

As for believing that this is the correct path to follow for the rest of your life, DeviantNorm, I would suggest that you view it with a great deal of skepticism.

DeviantNorm
April 10th, 2005, 01:45 PM
Bravo! DeviantNorm RULES! The quality of her writing in this thread is wonderful, perhaps the best I have seen on this site to date. (Don't get too excited, I'm new and haven't seen much yet) I would like to take up DeviantNorm's banner for a moment. Ooo, I like you :lol: :red: :*


Permit me to "PerVitruous" her concept into what I interpret it to mean.
What most people fail to see in the skeptic's view is the sheer power of humility. By accepting that one may very well never know the answer to anything one is admitting the truth of the limitations of human thought. This, in and of itself, puts the skeptic viewpoint on a more solid footing than most philosophies or religions. I believe that the weakness of most points of view is that they are convinced that they are capable of knowing the answers and will, therefore, find an answer and believe it simply so that they do not feel left out. By rejecting this point of view, the skeptic is showing the epitome of humility. The attacks upon Deviant Norm in this thread completely miss this point. Reread the entire thread and see the unabashed conceit and downtalking in the opposing posts. YES! /\



As for believing that this is the correct path to follow for the rest of your life, DeviantNorm, I would suggest that you view it with a great deal of skepticism. Absolutely. I wouldn't have it any other way ;)

PerVirtuous
April 10th, 2005, 05:11 PM
It's a regular love fest! "Here kitty, kitty..."

Iluvatar
April 10th, 2005, 05:27 PM
I have to say, this sounds just like Existentialism. It's pretty much "I don't know, so I'm not going to waste time worrying about it." with respect to the metaphysical. It's very similar to Strong agnosticism, which is "I don't know, and can't know". I am personally a fan of "I don't know, but will never stop trying to figure it out."

This seems almost an apathy towards the concept of god. I would think that the question of his existence or lack thereof is one of the most important ones possible. I mean, if he does exist, then you have to contend with the concept of eternal agony or eternal bliss. Isn't that worth trying pretty hard to find out?

DeviantNorm
April 11th, 2005, 05:13 PM
I have to say, this sounds just like Existentialism. It's pretty much "I don't know, so I'm not going to waste time worrying about it." with respect to the metaphysical.Yes, but skeptics still seek understanding. Worrying is one thing. Giving up on the pursuit of knowledge is another.



It's very similar to Strong agnosticism, which is "I don't know, and can't know". It sure is.


I am personally a fan of "I don't know, but will never stop trying to figure it out." Likewise.


This seems almost an apathy towards the concept of god. With emphasis on the bold words, I agree. I sometimes think it would be easier to give in to complete apathy towards god, but I can't bring myself to do it; if I could, I'd probably be a devout atheist. What's funny is that I'm actually quite torn between believing in god and not believing in god. I truly believe that I am not capable (presently...perhaps this will change) of making a sound judgement on metaphysical matters, particularly the three focal issues: the existence of god, the key to human existence (i.e. a creation story) and what happens when we die.



I would think that the question of his existence or lack thereof is one of the most important ones possible. I mean, if he does exist, then you have to contend with the concept of eternal agony or eternal bliss. Isn't that worth trying pretty hard to find out?
Oh, I do believe it is. And I feel that someday, I will come to some conclusion about things. To be honest, I'm humble enough to admit that my age (20) hinders my experience; I haven't had enough time to figure things out yet. Should I die tomorrow, I will deal with the consequences, assuming there are consequences to be dealt with. Frankly, I can't think of anything worse than having to be a teenager....so somehow Hell is going to have to top that. ;)

Anyway, the point is, I do want to find answers. Getting a solid education is helping that process, so that's what I'm doing right now. I am trying very hard.

Iluvatar
April 11th, 2005, 05:39 PM
Ah, I think I understand your position somewhat better now. You're saying "I don't know, so I'm withholding judgment until I figure it out", whereas I'm a "I don't know, so I'm going on the best answer I can get, until I can get a better one".

Yours appears to be a logically tenable position. Best of luck with it.

PerVirtuous
April 11th, 2005, 06:11 PM
Good posts Iluvatar. I just have one question. About the existence of God, you said:


I would think that the question of his existence or lack thereof is one of the most important ones possible. I mean, if he does exist, then you have to contend with the concept of eternal agony or eternal bliss. Isn't that worth trying pretty hard to find out?

Anytime you take the position: "But, what if this is true, then..." it seems to me that you are putting the conclusion before the premise. So, would that mean: "If he doesn't exist then it's not important to find out whether he does or not"? (Since the consequences would be nil and the effort meaningless, why bother?) Wouldn't these cancell one another out? There must be better reasons to think about the question of God than than these, right?

Iluvatar
April 11th, 2005, 07:02 PM
There's a 50% chance that the US will nuke the world tomorrow morning. Does that mean that there's a 50% chance that we should not worry about it?

It's an analysis of risk, a modified version of Pascal's Wager. I lose little by considering the question, and potentially have a great deal to gain. By not considering it, though, you have made the decision already.

Slipnish
April 12th, 2005, 09:03 AM
[COLOR=Navy]The Path Of The Pyrrhonian Skeptic

1. The skeptic is an inquirer. The skeptic inquires as to the true nature of experience.

I keep seeing people use the word apathy about the chosen path of the sceptic. Just for the hell of it, I would like to point out the first point made in the post. Please note the second sentence. "The skeptic inquires as to the true nature of experience."

Somehow, the fact that someone inquires, does NOT lead me to believe that this is the position of the apathetic person. Even in the context of religion.

For instance:

You drive the car and avoid an absolutely AMAZING crash by hitting an ice patch and sliding by the large boulder lying in the road which you didn't see because you were fighting with the CD player.

The sceptic or skeptic if you prefer :lol: , has 2 choices. 1. Miracle or 2. Random event not influenced by metaphysical shennanigans.

They may wrestle with the experience for a while, but eventually come to some conclusion and move on.

The act of searching for that possibility of higher meaning is NOT an apathetic position, IMO.


2. The skeptic is confronted by ignorance and the realization that there are equally pursuading arguments as explanations to his/her experiences. And so, of equally pursuasive arguments, the skeptic maintains that: I know not to which of these things I ought to assent, and to which I ought not.

In light of Apok's assertions concerning pursuasive arguments I would like to add that I think you are reading a little too much into the argument here Apok.

I don't see this as being an absolute in all cases, as you pointed out. Perhaps there should be a qualifier to show that, but I see it more as WHEN confronted with equally pursuasive arguments, the skeptic maintains...

Certainly there are not always equally persuasive arguments, but I was taken that as a given.


3.Faced with the inability to decide as to which argument is closer to the truth, the skeptic suspends belief or assent. By suspending belief, the skeptic attributes neither goodness nor badness to the events of his/her experiences and as a result, experiences ataraxia (tranquility of mind).

This strikes me as very zen like. There is nothing wrong with suspending belief in any system. Even in theology, there are those who "sit on the fence" where events and scriptures are concerned. Sometimes, there is no answer.


4. The skeptic lives according to the four-stage practical criterion**. Having made the important distinction between metaphysical matters and matters of common-sense experience, the skeptic can suspend judgement on the former and get on with the business of living. But while the skeptic lives, he do so in a moderate, relatively unperturbed state, realizing that beliefs can be maintained and held, but perhaps never metaphysically confirmed.

I also like this quite a bit. Not every event in life can or should be attributed in some way to metaphysical connotation, but I would bet dollars to doughnuts we ALL know somebody who does just that.

Sometimes things just happen. Acceptance or "coping" with these events is part of a healthy mind.


5. The skeptic continues to go on seeking because he/she is not dogmatic in his/her skepticism - that is, the skeptic believes it may be possible to attain knowledge concerning the true nature of experiences; he/she has simply no yet found it.

And again, the seeking part seems to nullify the apathy argument. It may be possible to obtain the knowledge I seek, but if not, thats okay as well, because I will continue to seek out knowledge but understand that it may not be forthcoming.

I see it as the laid back professor, buried underneath stacks of books sure that one has the answer he is looking for, but in the meantime, whatever he is reading is edifying as well.

Apokalupsis
April 12th, 2005, 09:26 AM
What most people fail to see in the skeptic's view is the sheer power of humility.
The investigation and understanding of "truth", has nothing to do with being humble.


By accepting that one may very well never know the answer to anything one is admitting the truth of the limitations of human thought.
No. By believing that one may very well never know the answer to anything, one is delusional. It is not the case that man can know everything, but neither is it the case that man cannot know at least something.

To say that one accepts that he does not know anything, tells us that this is a very ignorant being (after all, he knows nothing). Furthermore, he contradicts himself. If you say that you do not know anything, you at least know that much (that you know nothing).


This, in and of itself, puts the skeptic viewpoint on a more solid footing than most philosophies or religions.
Actually, it puts them leaps behind. It says "I know nothing." whereas others say "I know something." Not knowing is inferior to knowing something. Knowledge is a good thing, not a bad thing. ;)


The attacks upon Deviant Norm in this thread completely miss this point. Reread the entire thread and see the unabashed conceit and downtalking in the opposing posts.
This is nonsense. There is no downtalking, no conceit. This is a debate, in a debate forum, on a debate site. REASON is the tool used in debate. Nothing BUT reason has been applied. Don't confuse logic for conceit. The two are not interchangeable.


Do not misunderstand me, I am neither accusing anyone of anything nor judging anyone. I am simply pointing out that while one side of this argument admits they do not know all the answers one side seems to believe everything can be known and known by them. Perhaps this is true, I highly doubt it.
Incorrect. Not a SINGLE member, post, nor statement in this thread does what you claim it to. In fact, it has been claimed by the opposition (cest moi), that it isn't the case that ALL can be known, but rather that SOME can be known.

I hereby challenge you to support your claim.

PerVirtuous
April 12th, 2005, 03:35 PM
Thank you Apokalupsis. It is very gratifyint to be called out by one with such obvious skill and imagination. I promise to try my best, but I am probably going to need some prodding to get to the point where I can match you concept for concept.



The investigation and understanding of "truth", has nothing to do with being humble.

Sorry to dissappoint you, but I did neither say nor did I imply this. I said that by admitting the limitations of the human mind the skeptic shows a great deal of humility.



No. By believing that one may very well never know the answer to anything, one is delusional. It is not the case that man can know everything, but neither is it the case that man cannot know at least something.

Unfortunately, the human mind cannot comprehend or even conceive of itself and its manifestations. As was stated by DeviantNorm, there are viable opposing explanations for anything you wish to claim.

An easy way to describe this is to refer to Godel's theorem, for which I provide a brief explanation here.

In 1931, the Czech-born mathematician Kurt Gödel demonstrated that within any given branch of mathematics, there would always be some propositions that couldn't be proven either true or false using the rules and axioms ... of that mathematical branch itself. You might be able to prove every conceivable statement about numbers within a system by going outside the system in order to come up with new rules and axioms, but by doing so you'll only create a larger system with its own unprovable statements. The implication is that all logical system of any complexity are, by definition, incomplete; each of them contains, at any given time, more true statements than it can possibly prove according to its own defining set of rules.

Gödel's Theorem has been used to argue that a computer can never be as smart as a human being because the extent of its knowledge is limited by a fixed set of axioms, whereas people can discover unexpected truths ... It plays a part in modern linguistic theories, which emphasize the power of language to come up with new ways to express ideas. And it has been taken to imply that you'll never entirely understand yourself, since your mind, like any other closed system, can only be sure of what it knows about itself by relying on what it knows about itself.

This theorem applies to all systems of symbolic logic. By proving that every logical system is flawed, it is easy to conclude that there is no perfect system for applying knowledge. Since there is no perfect system, there can be no absolute philosophy. By admitting this the skeptic is one up on those that don't. By the way, I'm sure Mr. Godel does not mind being called ignorant or delusional. Since he was ignorant and delusional he could not have been very bright (unlike you and me).



To say that one accepts that he does not know anything, says tells us that this is a very ignorant being (after all, he knows nothing). Furthermore, he contradicts himself. If you say that you do not know anything, you at least know that much (that you know nothing).

I think the wording is a little off on this. Your wording, "does not know anything", is essentially correct but implies things that are not true. A more precise way to say it is that the skeptic "believes he can never be certain of what he knows", which is in the end the same, but gets there by a very different logic than the one implied by "knows nothing".
Beyond this, I think you will find that no less than Socrates said he had no wisdom of any kind and that everyone he met knew more than he did. Are you calling him ignorant, too?



Actually, it puts them leaps behind. It says "I know nothing." whereas others say "I know something." Not knowing is inferior to knowing something. Knowledge is a good thing, not a bad thing. ;)

Knowledge is neither a good thing nor a bad thing. That can easily be proven, but is not the thrust of this thread. As I said before, the skeptic's view does not say "I know nothing". That is simply you minsinterpreting it.


This is nonsense. There is no downtalking, no conceit. This is a debate, in a debate forum, on a debate site. REASON is the tool used in debate. Nothing BUT reason has been applied. Don't confuse logic for conceit. The two are not interchangeable.

The statement , "This is nonsense." Appears to me to be very condescending. It is more of a value judgement than a statement of logic. One who was concerned first and formost with logic would have worded it in a way that communicated with more style and subtlety. This was worded to have the most negative impact. I thank you for demonstrating my point.



Incorrect. Not a SINGLE member, post, nor statement in this thread does what you claim it to. In fact, it has been claimed by the opposition (cest moi), that it isn't the case that ALL can be known, but rather that SOME can be known.

As a matter of fact you did it earlier whan you said that not knowing was inferior to knowing, and that knowledge is a good thing. This also is a condescending way to word this. I believe it is intentionally worded so that those who believe they can not know are inferior to you. There are other ways this could have been stated. In my humble opinion you do not accept much responsibility for your wording. (Maybe I'm just too damn sensitive!) The skeptic would be too humble to make such a claim. The skeptic would simply say it feels better to think you know, but that the true worth of knowing remains unknown.


I hereby challenge you to support your claim.

What claim? I made a claim? I think I hear church bells and angel choirs... help, nurse!

DeviantNorm
April 12th, 2005, 07:51 PM
Ah, I think I understand your position somewhat better now. You're saying "I don't know, so I'm withholding judgment until I figure it out", whereas I'm a "I don't know, so I'm going on the best answer I can get, until I can get a better one". Pretty much. And again, I can see how this wouldn't work for most people, because generally, people fear what they don't understand, so coming up with a way to understand things is preferable to not knowing. *shrugs* I dunno....these things used to bother me, but I've turned my focus on educating myself. I think education leads to enlightenment.


Yours appears to be a logically tenable position. Best of luck with it. Thanks :) You too.

DeviantNorm
April 12th, 2005, 08:01 PM
The investigation and understanding of "truth", has nothing to do with being humble. Admitting you might be wrong certainly does, which is what this is about.



No. By believing that one may very well never know the answer to anything, one is delusional. It is not the case that man can know everything, but neither is it the case that man cannot know at least something. You really start to sound like Kevin when you get up on your high horse ;)

But seriously...haven't we cleared this up? We've established that skeptics DO NOT DENY that there are some things we can know. We are mostly, again, talking about metaphysical matters.


To say that one accepts that he does not know anything, tells us that this is a very ignorant being (after all, he knows nothing). Furthermore, he contradicts himself. If you say that you do not know anything, you at least know that much (that you know nothing). When Socrates said, " All I know is that I know nothing", I believe he was saying, "All I know with certainty is that I could be wrong". The statement is contradictory in structure, I agree, but it has a different meaning. For an English major, I'm having a difficult time recalling which literary device fits...bah!


Actually, it puts them leaps behind. It says "I know nothing." whereas others say "I know something." Not knowing is inferior to knowing something. Knowledge is a good thing, not a bad thing. ;) Actually, it's saying I may not know anything, which translates to I might be wrong about things I know.



This is nonsense. There is no downtalking, no conceit. This is a debate, in a debate forum, on a debate site. REASON is the tool used in debate. Nothing BUT reason has been applied. Don't confuse logic for conceit. The two are not interchangeable.

Incorrect. Not a SINGLE member, post, nor statement in this thread does what you claim it to. In fact, it has been claimed by the opposition (cest moi), that it isn't the case that ALL can be known, but rather that SOME can be known. Simmer down. In your defence, I was not offended by your opposition. It's been delightful :) You get a little uppity some times, but it's all good ;)

PerVirtuous
April 14th, 2005, 05:41 PM
Hey! Look, Kitty. I already rebutted that. You shouldn't rebut it again and show me up with your superior writing. I'm going to get a complex. You are just toying with me, aren't you! Kind of a Cat and Mouse thing. (I don't think you got that reference before)

Apokalupsis
April 14th, 2005, 06:11 PM
oops! I forgot about this thread. ;) I'll respond tomorrow.

KevinBrowning
April 14th, 2005, 07:24 PM
You really start to sound like Kevin when you get up on your high horse ;)

Haha, just noticed this. Sorry if I seem arrogant sometimes, but I always get so frustrated by the true arrogance that is displayed by people rejecting the selfless mercy of their Savior. I wish I had Christ's humility, but all I can say in my defense is the atheists' attitude has rubbed off on me.

PerVirtuous
April 14th, 2005, 07:47 PM
Arrogance is not necessarily a bad thing. As long as it is tempered with humility, arrogance can be a very interesting and spicy trait. I like it. If I look long enough and hard enough...yep, found it! I too have some arrogance.

Hmmm. Blaming your faults, by proxy, on people who oppose you and frustrate you. Brilliant! I like it! I will use it when you least expect it. Thanks for the technique.

Lastly, Apok! What did you do? I get home, swill down dinner, put on my makeup, do my Winsor-pilates, skim the sports page, wave a dismissive hand at the dirty dishes, open a Guiness and sit at the computer ready to be enlightened and...nothing. I sat there for hours hitting the refresh key over and over... If you don't do better I'll be forced to get a life!

KevinBrowning
April 14th, 2005, 08:37 PM
Put on your make-up?

FruitandNut
April 15th, 2005, 01:42 AM
PV - Patience is a virtue, impatience, a vice!!!

PerVirtuous
April 15th, 2005, 02:54 AM
Well, duh. You don't think I'm REALLY a klingon, do you?

Apokalupsis
April 15th, 2005, 10:44 AM
Sorry to dissappoint you, but I did neither say nor did I imply this. I said that by admitting the limitations of the human mind the skeptic shows a great deal of humility.
Here is what you said: What most people fail to see in the skeptic's view is the sheer power of humility.

The skeptic's view is that truths are unknowable, correct? And this is acceptable as it allows the skeptic to go about their lives without worry of said truths. That IS what was said earlier by Dev. Do you disagree with that then?

Furthermore, humility is not a trait specific or exlusive to skepticism. Atheism and theism also share the trait. Again, neither position claim to know all things, only some things. Does skepticism allow the knowledge of some things? Or does it not say that all things are unknowable? That appears to be what has been argued thus far. As shown already, it's a self-refuting position, thus false.



Unfortunately, the human mind cannot comprehend or even conceive of itself and its manifestations. As was stated by DeviantNorm, there are viable opposing explanations for anything you wish to claim.
Not true. Example: Is the Earth flat or round? Is it acceptable behavior for people to kidnap and molest our children, have their way with them, then murder them?

According to you, despite most reasonable people believing flatly (and thereby apparently showing arrogance through their existing conclusion) that the earth is NOT flat and it is NOT acceptable behavior to do these things to our children...that there are equally viable explanations that support the earth is indeed flat and that it is indeed good and acceptable to kidnap little ones and harm them.

Very well, please defend your position that the earth is flat and it is good to kidnap, molest, then murder children.



An easy way to describe this is to refer to Godel's theorem, for which I provide a brief explanation here.

In 1931, the Czech-born mathematician Kurt Gödel demonstrated that within any given branch of mathematics, there would always be some propositions that couldn't be proven either true or false using the rules and axioms ... of that mathematical branch itself. You might be able to prove every conceivable statement about numbers within a system by going outside the system in order to come up with new rules and axioms, but by doing so you'll only create a larger system with its own unprovable statements. The implication is that all logical system of any complexity are, by definition, incomplete; each of them contains, at any given time, more true statements than it can possibly prove according to its own defining set of rules.
The key word that skeptics appear to forget is bolded above.



Gödel's Theorem has been used to argue that a computer can never be as smart as a human being because the extent of its knowledge is limited by a fixed set of axioms, whereas people can discover unexpected truths ... It plays a part in modern linguistic theories, which emphasize the power of language to come up with new ways to express ideas. And it has been taken to imply that you'll never entirely understand yourself, since your mind, like any other closed system, can only be sure of what it knows about itself by relying on what it knows about itself.
Again, the part that skeptics forget...bolded above.



This theorem applies to all systems of symbolic logic. By proving that every logical system is flawed, it is easy to conclude that there is no perfect system for applying knowledge.
Wrong. It isn't that all systems are flawed, it is that no system is suitable for EVER argument. Which explains WHY we have many systems. Merely because something is limited, does not make it flawed.

Also, there are more systems of logic than symbolic systems. ;)


Since there is no perfect system, there can be no absolute philosophy. By admitting this the skeptic is one up on those that don't.
Define "perfect system". Also, no group believes in any absolute philosophy.



I think the wording is a little off on this. Your wording, "does not know anything", is essentially correct but implies things that are not true. A more precise way to say it is that the skeptic "believes he can never be certain of what he knows", which is in the end the same, but gets there by a very different logic than the one implied by "knows nothing".
The statements are synonymous. Let's call them as they are. It is the reduced truth of the matter, which is philosophy is the method of choice at DETERMINING truth (through clarify of reduction).


Beyond this, I think you will find that no less than Socrates said he had no wisdom of any kind and that everyone he met knew more than he did. Are you calling him ignorant, too?
A couple corrections here. It was the oracle at Delphi (which of course Socrates held in high regard) said that no man was wiser than Socrates. Socrates, showing humility sought to prove the oracle wrong. Prove not that he was unwise, but rather that he was not the wisest. Socrates then proceeded his historic interrogations of others (poets, politicians, etc...). He found not acceptable answer to the "ultimate question" of what was truly worthwhile in life, but instead found that they all pretended to know something they clearly did not. Socrates eventually came to realize that the Oracle may be right, that he was the wisest man in Athens. The reason? Because he alone was willing to admit his own ignorance rather than pretend to know that which he did not.

However, Socrates was an atheist, not a skeptic. In fact, he was so outspoken about it that it was one of the reasons for his execution. Socrates did NOT claim that he knew nothing, nor that he was unwise.

Lastly, Socrates' philosophic motto was "Know thyself." You are leaving out quite a bit here. ;)



Knowledge is neither a good thing nor a bad thing.
Having knowledge is a good thing.


That can easily be proven, but is not the thrust of this thread. As I said before, the skeptic's view does not say "I know nothing". That is simply you minsinterpreting it.
You said above it was, you just didn't like the reduced truth of the matter.



The statement , "This is nonsense." Appears to me to be very condescending. It is more of a value judgement than a statement of logic. One who was concerned first and formost with logic would have worded it in a way that communicated with more style and subtlety. This was worded to have the most negative impact. I thank you for demonstrating my point.
More nonsense. :P

As a matter of fact you did it earlier whan you said that not knowing was inferior to knowing, and that knowledge is a good thing.
Let's backtrack a bit for clarity's sake... This is the course of our discussion concering this point...

Per: Do not misunderstand me, I am neither accusing anyone of anything nor judging anyone. I am simply pointing out that while one side of this argument admits they do not know all the answers one side seems to believe everything can be known and known by them. Perhaps this is true, I highly doubt it.

Apok: Incorrect. Not a SINGLE member, post, nor statement in this thread does what you claim it to. In fact, it has been claimed by the opposition (cest moi), that it isn't the case that ALL can be known, but rather that SOME can be known.

Per: As a matter of fact you did it earlier whan you said that not knowing was inferior to knowing, and that knowledge is a good thing. This also is a condescending way to word this. I believe it is intentionally worded so that those who believe they can not know are inferior to you.

To which I say: Huh? 1) Me repeating my claim that none can know all but all can know some is condescending? 2) Me stating that none can know all but all can know some brings you to the conclusion that I said: one side can know everything?

You aren't really reading what is being said here are you? :)



What claim? I made a claim? I think I hear church bells and angel choirs... help, nurse!
You've made several. Still waiting for this specifc one to be supported.

DeviantNorm
April 15th, 2005, 11:00 AM
Hey! Look, Kitty. I already rebutted that. You shouldn't rebut it again and show me up with your superior writing. I'm going to get a complex. You are just toying with me, aren't you! Of course not, silly mouse ;) I was simply recapping. Superior writing *scoff scoff*


Kind of a Cat and Mouse thing. (I don't think you got that reference before) I didn't before, but I do now ;)

DeviantNorm
April 15th, 2005, 11:01 AM
Haha, just noticed this. Sorry if I seem arrogant sometimes, but I always get so frustrated by the true arrogance that is displayed by people rejecting the selfless mercy of their Savior. I wish I had Christ's humility, but all I can say in my defense is the atheists' attitude has rubbed off on me.

Are you suggesting I'm arrogant? *scowl*

*poke* You know we love you.

Apokalupsis
April 15th, 2005, 11:33 AM
Admitting you might be wrong certainly does, which is what this is about.
Wrong about all things or wrong about certain things? ALL groups believe that they can be wrong about some things. I know of none (other than skepticism) that believe they are wrong about all things.

Speaking of which, how do you know you are not wrong right now? :)



You really start to sound like Kevin when you get up on your high horse ;)
No high horse here. Just elementary logic. If it is the case that man cannot know anything, then whatever you claim to be, cannnot be taken as truth and can be dismissed. The implication here is that your claims that none can know anything is not true because you yourself do not know this to be true by admission. As such, it is a truth claim that cannot be taken seriously.



But seriously...haven't we cleared this up? We've established that skeptics DO NOT DENY that there are some things we can know. We are mostly, again, talking about metaphysical matters.
But on what grounds does the skeptic say : "Man can know some things which are not metaphysical, but cannot know anything which is metaphyiscal." ?



When Socrates said, " All I know is that I know nothing", I believe he was saying, "All I know with certainty is that I could be wrong". The statement is contradictory in structure, I agree, but it has a different meaning. For an English major, I'm having a difficult time recalling which literary device fits...bah!
Is Socrates the end all be all in matters of truth? What did Plato say about this? What did Aristotle? Merely because one human being makes a statement, does not mean it is true. Furthermore, where is the discernment here in Socrates' statement that it only speaks to the metaphysical?

You and Pev seem to be huge fans of Socrates, yet do not really believe as he. 1) He was an atheist. 2) You say that we cannot know anything of the metaphysical (which obviously contradicts Socrates' beliefs) by applying certain quotes of his which do not exclude the physical, THEN you say (when cornered IMO) that your beliefs ONLY extend to the metaphysical. It is inconsistency my friend.

In other words, you want to say that you can know some things that are not of the metaphysical, but use Socrates' statements out of context which ALSO included the physical, to ONLY support your position of the metaphysical.

Do you really think this is reasonable? Or as a skeptic, do you not know? :P (sorry, couldn't resist).



Actually, it's saying I may not know anything, which translates to I might be wrong about things I know.
Again, something I disagree with. Mainly because it is illogical. It is saying: "I may be wrong about all I know which includes this statement."

Which means you may be wrong about not knowing anything. Is it reasonable then, to take this to be "reasonable position"? What reason is being exercised here by those who hold as truth (or the position) that "I may not know anything." ?



Simmer down. In your defence, I was not offended by your opposition. It's been delightful :) You get a little uppity some times, but it's all good ;)
You should have been me a couple years ago. I am most reserved now in my debate style, I assure you. hehe

Abstrakt
April 15th, 2005, 12:14 PM
As a new member, I found a great deal of interest in this topic. But the debate so far has a couple of logical flaws that I just can't seem to get past.

1. There seems to be a overall message that skeptics are somehow separated from theists and atheists. That they are a group unto themselves. I would submit that skepticism and therefore the ability to refer to oneself as a skeptic exists in all conscious people and some animals I've observed.

2. The idea that skeptics cannot believe any truth ignores that fact that the skeptic will as a practice seek evidence that in many cases justifies a belief.

3. As a theist I remain a skeptic. Were I an atheist I would certainly be a skeptic. I do not believe I am impossible. (though don't try to convince my ex)

4. Forming a religion, as the original title implies, based on a "skeptics creed" does have what seems to be an interesting problem. I would suggest that skepticism is a thought process similar to say...the willingness to be generally fair with others. That is, it is simply how one goes about life. To use one persons definition of how a skeptic should act or feel limits the good name of skepticism too severly.

If, however, one could gather two or more people to believe in this skeptics creed, then rent a building, get some pointy hats, and pass the plate. You have a religion.

P.S. This site looks like a mind expanding way to have some fun. Thanks for having me.

Apokalupsis
April 15th, 2005, 12:51 PM
Very good post. You put into simply terms what I have been unable to clearly state through verbosity. ;)

PS Welcome to ODN! :*

PerVirtuous
April 15th, 2005, 06:14 PM
Apok is back. Just in time!

Ahhh, I've been saving this. The beauty of the skeptic's view is that by being certain of one's own fallability one is most certain of all other's fallabilities. Perhaps the logic of this is lost in the fog. It's in the book: "I'm an idiot you're an idiot". It was a bestseller.

Better people than us have debated the meaning of the writings of Plato and I seriously doubt that we have anything to add. I do not consider myself qualified to be in the same arena as Plato. I will let that work stand on its own merits. It was an aside point and irrelevant to this thread. (look through the fog here)

So I will concentrate on this little gem:


Quote: By PerVirtuous

Unfortunately, the human mind cannot comprehend or even conceive of itself and its manifestations. As was stated by DeviantNorm, there are viable opposing explanations for anything you wish to claim.

************************************************** ***************

Not true. Example: Is the Earth flat or round? Is it acceptable behavior for people to kidnap and molest our children, have their way with them, then murder them?

According to you, despite most reasonable people believing flatly (and thereby apparently showing arrogance through their existing conclusion) that the earth is NOT flat and it is NOT acceptable behavior to do these things to our children...that there are equally viable explanations that support the earth is indeed flat and that it is indeed good and acceptable to kidnap little ones and harm them.

Very well, please defend your position that the earth is flat and it is good to kidnap, molest, then murder children.

Firstly, the Earth is neither flat nor round. It is three dimensional, a sphere.

If you fish, you kidnap the children of fish and eat them. The fish probably think that is wrong. I don't know whether you have your way with them or not first, but none the less most people would agree there is nothing wrong with it.

I have provided a viable opposing viewpoint. Your argument is meaningless because it does not adress the statement that I made, rather takes one narrow misinterpretation of it and pretends that is all there is. (as I just did in return) What is funny here is that your statements verify my points in this thread and not yours. You see, you have proven your lack of self-restraint by claiming that these are my positions. I would never presume to know what your positions are on subjects I have never seen you discuss.

I think that perhaps you protest too much. By taking the conversation which was about skeptic philosophy into the arena of child molesting and murder you may be subconsciously expressing some latent tendencies... I'd get that checked out if I were you.

You're not going to visit Iowa soon, are you?

PerVirtuous
April 15th, 2005, 06:55 PM
As a new member, I found a great deal of interest in this topic. But the debate so far has a couple of logical flaws that I just can't seem to get past.

1. There seems to be a overall message that skeptics are somehow separated from theists and atheists. That they are a group unto themselves. I would submit that skepticism and therefore the ability to refer to oneself as a skeptic exists in all conscious people and some animals I've observed.

There is a difference between being skeptical and being a Pyrrhonian Skeptic. These would be seperated from the Theists and would be Athiests by default. Are any of these animals you mentioned contributing to this thread...



2. The idea that skeptics cannot believe any truth ignores that fact that the skeptic will as a practice seek evidence that in many cases justifies a belief.

I believe Kitty said that earlier...and I concur. That does not, however, make the skeptic a believer. As long as the belief is transitory you cannot call the skeptic a "believer in X". Skeptics is peoples, too!


3. As a theist I remain a skeptic. Were I an atheist I would certainly be a skeptic. I do not believe I am impossible. (though don't try to convince my ex)

I think you would be hard pressed to get many clergy to say that it is possible to be a Theist and a Pyrrhonian Skeptic simultaneously. That would be a pretty tightly wound pretzel. If you can do it, I want in! I wanna be the first Pyrrhonian Skeptic Druid in history.


4. Forming a religion, as the original title implies, based on a "skeptics creed" does have what seems to be an interesting problem. I would suggest that skepticism is a thought process similar to say...the willingness to be generally fair with others. That is, it is simply how one goes about life. To use one persons definition of how a skeptic should act or feel limits the good name of skepticism too severly.

There was a disclaimer that the title was a joke. I do not recall anyone saying how a skeptic should act or feel, but it would be OK as long as it wasn't how ALL skeptics should act and feel.


If, however, one could gather two or more people to believe in this skeptics creed, then rent a building, get some pointy hats, and pass the plate. You have a religion.

Ha. Good points! (pun intended) Maybe that's all there is to religion... By the way, where were these logical flaws? I missed them. I wanna see flaws! You promised flaws, now give them up! You Tease.


P.S. This site looks like a mind expanding way to have some fun. Thanks for having me.

More like mind warping! You are welcome. Just don't agree with me...I hate that.

Mr. Hyde
April 15th, 2005, 07:15 PM
Someone mentioned Socrates, I must comment.

A couple corrections here. It was the oracle at Delphi (which of course Socrates held in high regard) said that no man was wiser than Socrates. Socrates, showing humility sought to prove the oracle wrong. Prove not that he was unwise, but rather that he was not the wisest. Socrates then proceeded his historic interrogations of others (poets, politicians, etc...). He found not acceptable answer to the "ultimate question" of what was truly worthwhile in life, but instead found that they all pretended to know something they clearly did not. Socrates eventually came to realize that the Oracle may be right, that he was the wisest man in Athens. The reason? Because he alone was willing to admit his own ignorance rather than pretend to know that which he did not.
Yeah, kind of weird too when you imagine the wisest man is the one who stands up and shouts, "I don't know!"

However, Socrates was an atheist, not a skeptic. In fact, he was so outspoken about it that it was one of the reasons for his execution. Socrates did NOT claim that he knew nothing, nor that he was unwise.
Soc, to my memory, wasn't an Atheist per se since he believed that people would be reborn over and over. As for the reasons of his execution. He was executed largely because he was a lower class citizen who challenged the "wisdom" of philosophers of the time, almost all of which were upper classmen, Plato, a student of Socrates, is included in that upperclass echelon. Secondly, he wasn't executed. He killed himself. Granted, he didn't really have much a choice in the matter, but he did drink the hemloch on his own.

But I might be confusing him and Plato again. I'm not real sure, I'll go check.

Snoop
April 15th, 2005, 07:54 PM
Socrates did not have a monopoly on the words "I don't know" - since our marriage my wife has answered EVERY question I've offered with that phrase. Before the marriage she was SO sure.
That makes me the fool, I guess.
------------------------------------------------------- I just wrote this:
"don't know" and I don't want to know
and furthermore, I don't care -
I don't care and I don't want to care

I don't feel good although I know that I should
I can't stay awake, let alone eat a big steak
"I don't want a steak" - give me a break!

"I'm feeling really tired - at work I almost got fired"
"I 'm going to sleep - don't let me hear a peep"
I hear you my love - I'm going to weep

DeviantNorm
April 15th, 2005, 08:29 PM
Wrong about all things or wrong about certain things? ALL groups believe that they can be wrong about some things. I know of none (other than skepticism) that believe they are wrong about all things. You keep saying this, not I. I'm pretty sure what I've been saying is that skeptics believe they MAY be wrong. Not that they ARE, nor that they are NOT.


Speaking of which, how do you know you are not wrong right now? :) I'm not even sure I'm HERE right now...lol...seriously though, I don't know. And here's the great part...I don't care! Teedlyhee!



No high horse here. Just elementary logic. If it is the case that man cannot know anything, then whatever you claim to be, cannnot be taken as truth and can be dismissed. The implication here is that your claims that none can know anything is not true because you yourself do not know this to be true by admission. As such, it is a truth claim that cannot be taken seriously. Once again....I posit that I may be wrong, not that I am right, nor that I am actually wrong. The key words you seem to be missing are MIGHT and MAY.



But on what grounds does the skeptic say : "Man can know some things which are not metaphysical, but cannot know anything which is metaphyiscal." ? Let me fix this: "Man might be able to know some things about the metaphysical, but he also may never know if he is correct. Similarly, with non-metaphysical issues, because the possibility of being wrong applies to all issues."

Now, you might want to argue about that, but let's not. I personally think that EVERYTHING we currently hold to be true, EVERYTHING we believe, think, see, etc....could be wrong. I don't KNOW this. I believe it's a possibility, but at the same time, I believe we might be right. Hence the suspension of my beliefs.


Is Socrates the end all be all in matters of truth? No. I don't know that there is such a person.


What did Plato say about this? What did Aristotle? I don't know....but I wasn't talking about them.


Merely because one human being makes a statement, does not mean it is true. I don't believe I said that. I simply discussed one quote that the man said in his lifetime. I said what I thought it meant. That was all.


Furthermore, where is the discernment here in Socrates' statement that it only speaks to the metaphysical? I never said it did. We made the connection, I suppose. But as far as I know, he said this after questioning many people about things they held to be true, ranging from metaphysical matters of religion, to smaller matters like art, politics, etc, and finding that none could adequately explain themselves.


You and Pev seem to be huge fans of Socrates, yet do not really believe as he. You say that like it's a bad thing....and actually, I'm not a "huge" fan.


1) He was an atheist. Never heard that one. I think someone else has already mentioned that he was inclined to believe in reincarnation. That is also what I learned. I suppose I could be wrong, never having met the man myself ;)



2) You say that we cannot know anything of the metaphysical (which obviously contradicts Socrates' beliefs) by applying certain quotes of his which do not exclude the physical, THEN you say (when cornered IMO) that your beliefs ONLY extend to the metaphysical. It is inconsistency my friend. When you reword it like that, it's inconsistant, sure. But I never said we can't know anything of the metaphysical.



Again, something I disagree with. Mainly because it is illogical. It is saying: "I may be wrong about all I know which includes this statement." I don't see how it's illogical. I might be wrong. I might not be. And not to be rude or anything, but quite frankly, it matters very little to me if other people see the logic of this. I'm not trying to change anyone's minds, only to express my thoughts.


Which means you may be wrong about not knowing anything.That's right. Anyone of us could at this moment be in possession of absolute truth and not even know it.


Is it reasonable then, to take this to be "reasonable position"? What reason is being exercised here by those who hold as truth (or the position) that "I may not know anything." ? That's just it; I'm not holding it as truth. It's a possibility. I have not made "yes" or "no" claims, only "maybe" ones. All I say, to put a spin on Socrates' words, is...

"All I know for certain is that I may not know anything for certain"

Snoop
April 15th, 2005, 08:38 PM
"All I know for certain is that I may not know anything for certain"
Can we call you the semantical version of Socrates? :)

DeviantNorm
April 15th, 2005, 08:44 PM
There seems to be a overall message that skeptics are somehow separated from theists and atheists. That they are a group unto themselves. I would submit that skepticism and therefore the ability to refer to oneself as a skeptic exists in all conscious people and some animals I've observed. In this case, existing and manifesting are two different things. I agree that people have the ability. It's a matter of choosing to excercise it. I'm seriously surprised that I'm the only one who knows people who are absolutely gung-ho about whatever they believe, to the exclusion of any and all other possibilities....so convinced that they can't even be humble enough to admit that there is a possibility, however small, they could be wrong. I know scads of these folk. Have they all suddenly migrated to Canada?


The idea that skeptics cannot believe any truth ignores that fact that the skeptic will as a practice seek evidence that in many cases justifies a belief. I'm a little confused by this, but I'll make an attempt. Skeptics do no say they cannot believe any truth. On the contrary, a skeptic may choose to hold beliefs, even metaphysical ones (as I have with reincarnation, for example). The main difference is that they acknowledge that they may not be correct. Skeptics most certainly seek evidence to justify beliefs but they most likely will only accept 95% of it (should they choose to accept any)...the other 5% consisting of possible fallacies.


Forming a religion, as the original title implies, based on a "skeptics creed" does have what seems to be an interesting problem. I would suggest that skepticism is a thought process similar to say...the willingness to be generally fair with others. That is, it is simply how one goes about life. To use one persons definition of how a skeptic should act or feel limits the good name of skepticism too severly.

If, however, one could gather two or more people to believe in this skeptics creed, then rent a building, get some pointy hats, and pass the plate. You have a religion. You'll notice that the very first thing I say in this thread is that the title is sort of a sarcastic remark. I don't see skepticism as a religion at all. In order to made in to one, it would have to provide explanations about things like God, creation, an afterlife, etc. It does not. I don't see any way of transforming it, either, because anything it would posit would be followed by "we might be wrong".

And damn, who likes to be wrong, right?

Apokalupsis
April 15th, 2005, 08:52 PM
Soc, to my memory, wasn't an Atheist per se since he believed that people would be reborn over and over.
Atheism is the disbelief in a God or gods. Reincarnation does not necessitate the existence of a God or gods. In other words, one can be an atheist and believe in reincarnation.


As for the reasons of his execution. He was executed largely because he was a lower class citizen who challenged the "wisdom" of philosophers of the time, almost all of which were upper classmen, Plato, a student of Socrates, is included in that upperclass echelon.
The primary advocate of his execution was Anytus, a chap who held a personal grudge against Socrates for influencing his son so much as to take him away from the family business of tannery and instead turn him on to philosophy. Anytus believed that Socrates was corrupting the youth. So he focused on getting rid of Socrates.

The charge given? Failure to acknowledge and worship the city gods as well as corrupting the city's youth.

What was really interesting about this execution is that Socrates could have won over the penalty of death, but chose not to out of principle as he believed he did not do anything wrong.

The legal custom then, was for both the prosecution and defense to provide a recommended sentence. The senate would then choose which would be carried out. If the defense's penalty was harsh enough, it would offer win over the more strict prosecution's recommendation.

The prosecution here in Socrates' case recommended death. In a final, classic Socrates moment, Socrates recommended that the city pay for all of Socrates' meals for the rest of his natural life and buy him a new home in the nicest part of the city. The senate sided with the prosecution. But another interesting tidbit, was that apparently it was a very close vote! hehe



Secondly, he wasn't executed. He killed himself. Granted, he didn't really have much a choice in the matter, but he did drink the hemloch on his own.

But I might be confusing him and Plato again. I'm not real sure, I'll go check.
He was executed. The method of capital punishment then was to have the prisoner (which he was for 30 days or so - it fell over some holidy or celebration so it was delayed, but he still was locked up, which made for some historic books and interviews authored by his disciples) drink hemlock.

Merely because he drank it, doesn't mean he was not executed, he most certainly was. That is simply the way capital punishment was carried out.

I suppose an argument could be made that it was suicide considering he gave an unreasonable defense penalty, and from that perspective I would agree. But he was legally tried and executed. Whether he wanted to die or not, is a matter of debate I believe. So I think it is safer to simply state he was executed.

DeviantNorm
April 15th, 2005, 08:56 PM
Atheism is the disbelief in a God or gods. Reincarnation does not necessitate the existence of a God or gods. In other words, one can be an atheist and believe in reincarnation. Just as you can believe in reincarnation and not be an atheist. To be an atheist is to make a solid claim: there is no god, no explanations, etc. I think he'd more likely be an agnostic...or maybe he just didn't care. Who knows?

Apokalupsis
April 15th, 2005, 09:40 PM
Just as you can believe in reincarnation and not be an atheist.
Well of course. But it was said above that he was not an atheist because he believed in reincarnation. And this is not supportive evidence in favor of that view.


To be an atheist is to make a solid claim: there is no god, no explanations, etc. I think he'd more likely be an agnostic...or maybe he just didn't care. Who knows?
Admittedly, I think it would be a hard pressed argument to declare him flatly as an atheist. He was accused of being an atheist in his trial, and the jury agreed that he was. But Socrates did appear to just not believe as they did, and did not believe in their gods. So in that respect, not believing in their gods, he was an atheist. As to him not believing in any god, this probably is not the case.

He argued against the accusation of him being an atheist, and as I recall his last words to Aristotle were something to the effect of "You go on to live, and me to die...which is better only God knows." ...which could be a figure of speech, but most likely a statement of acknowledgement of at least some god, even if he did not ever seem to clarify the attributes of this alleged god.

So in the traditional sense was he an atheist? Probably not. Was he an atheist according to his contemporaries? Yes, absolutely...and he died as a result of it.

Abstrakt
April 15th, 2005, 10:41 PM
Quote:
"There is a difference between being skeptical and being a Pyrrhonian Skeptic. These would be seperated from the Theists and would be Athiests by default. Are any of these animals you mentioned contributing to this thread..."

Sorry for the unusual quote references. I haven't figured it out yet. The difference in a skeptic and a Pyrrhonian Skeptic is exactly to what much of my comments refer. The designer of this "skeptics creed" has defined the TRUE skeptic in a way that does not hold water. Further, the notion that a Pyrrhonian Skeptic would be an Atheist by default implies that the Pyrrhonian Skeptic has never had a metaphysical experience that would provide him sufficient evidence to at the very least become agnostic. Regarding the animals in this thread...you've been here longer than me.

Qupte:
"I believe Kitty said that earlier...and I concur. That does not, however, make the skeptic a believer. As long as the belief is transitory you cannot call the skeptic a "believer in X". Skeptics is peoples, too!"

True, True! However, defining the belief as transitory may or may not be the case. By your logic the skeptic in the presence of an intransitory belief would most certainly be called a "believer in X". All peoples is skeptics.

Quote:
"I think you would be hard pressed to get many clergy to say that it is possible to be a Theist and a Pyrrhonian Skeptic simultaneously. That would be a pretty tightly wound pretzel. If you can do it, I want in! I wanna be the first Pyrrhonian Skeptic Druid in history."

Why so? I think the logical debate on Theism needs through our limitations of language indeed be a tightly wound pretzel. Were we to attempt to define the Almighty within the framework of either Pyrrhonian Skepticism or for that matter the scientific method we would need some pretty unusual evidence. Impossible? Which, after all, is more plausible...that the Pyrrhonian Skeptic would find metaphysical evidence to assure the existance of God or: 1. a 5th century BCE goat herder from the middle east (Abraham) should become the father of three of the world's major religions; or 2. an uneducated, dirt poor Nazarene in Roman occupied Israel should make his mental ruminations on morality the standard by which much of the world presently evaluates itself. Calculating those odds would be interesting. Oh, by the way, clergy members views on this topic are immaterial to the Pyrrhonian Skeptic Theist.

Quote:
"Maybe that's all there is to religion... By the way, where were these logical flaws? I missed them."

I observe that that's certainly all there is to religion. Theism implies no religion as defined by the church, temple, synagog or mosque. The logical flaws for the most part exist within the definition of the Pyrrhonian skeptic, upon which the entire subject is based.. Misses too much reality.

Warped? Surely. But I'm much better now.

Abstrakt
April 15th, 2005, 11:05 PM
In this case, existing and manifesting are two different things

While I would agree that the existance of skepticism and the manifestation of it are certainly two different things, I disagree with the notion that even the most vocal of fundamentalists does not still possess extraordinary amounts of skepticism. In fact, it is likely that this skepticism is what causes them to rule out any debate on their beliefs. They are so skeptical that they fear what they may find.


The main difference is that they acknowledge that they may not be correct. Skeptics most certainly seek evidence to justify beliefs but they most likely will only accept 95% of it (should they choose to accept any)...the other 5% consisting of possible fallacies.

Agreed! Pick any percentage of acceptance of the evidence that might occur. The resultant would be a nearly total belief in something. They would be too skeptical of their own method if they did not put stock in it. Can a skeptic be skeptical of skepticism?


You'll notice that the very first thing I say in this thread is that the title is sort of a sarcastic remark. I don't see skepticism as a religion at all. In order to made in to one, it would have to provide explanations about things like God, creation, an afterlife, etc. It does not. I don't see any way of transforming it, either, because anything it would posit would be followed by "we might be wrong".

I would certainly agree that to call skepticism a religion would stretch the definition. However, the "skeptics creed" of Pyrrhonian skepticism begins to fill many of the prereqs.
with the glaring exception of the "we might me wrong" part.


And damn, who likes to be wrong, right?

I have imagined it. (har)

PerVirtuous
April 16th, 2005, 03:01 AM
Further, the notion that a Pyrrhonian Skeptic would be an Atheist by default implies that the Pyrrhonian Skeptic has never had a metaphysical experience that would provide him sufficient evidence to at the very least become agnostic. Regarding the animals in this thread...you've been here longer than me.

Been here longer? That don't amount to a hil o' beans, believe me. Don't jump on the bandwagon of those who wish to hijack the term Athiest to mean those who say God does not or cannot exist. It simply means those who do not have the belief in a deity, regardless of the reason. The misuse of the word is epidemic on this site. Agnostics are Athiests unless you can prove that they are Theists. There are not three or four options. You are a Thiest or you are an Atheist. People need to find a new word to define those who say God does not or cannot exist.



Why so? I think the logical debate on Theism needs through our limitations of language indeed be a tightly wound pretzel. Were we to attempt to define the Almighty within the framework of either Pyrrhonian Skepticism or for that matter the scientific method we would need some pretty unusual evidence. Impossible? Which, after all, is more plausible...that the Pyrrhonian Skeptic would find metaphysical evidence to assure the existance of God or: 1. a 5th century BCE goat herder from the middle east (Abraham) should become the father of three of the world's major religions; or 2. an uneducated, dirt poor Nazarene in Roman occupied Israel should make his mental ruminations on morality the standard by which much of the world presently evaluates itself. Calculating those odds would be interesting. Oh, by the way, clergy members views on this topic are immaterial to the Pyrrhonian Skeptic Theist.

Language ain't our only limitation! Your point is well taken. Keep in mind it is a minority of the world that views itself by the Nazarine's teachings. The part about the Goat herder is not as strange as it appears on the surface. It was common to try to steal religious icons back in the day. Example: The Mormons hijacking Christ to come over here. It was easier to redefine and fracture an existing religion by giving new words to an old icon than it was to create a new one. That is food for another thread.

I am not doubting that there are locical contradictions in the definitions in the original post, but you are only teasing if you do not tell us which ones and why. Come on. I know you can do it. Your posts have been delightful to this point.

Abstrakt
April 16th, 2005, 03:34 PM
Agnostics are Athiests unless you can prove that they are Theists. There are not three or four options. You are a Thiest or you are an Atheist.

If you wish to eliminate a perfectly legitimate word (Agnostic) then you must be want to make everything black and white. Too simple, I say. The world has so many people unwilling to, in all honesty, claim theism or atheism. To write them off as nonexistant doesn't work.


The part about the Goat herder is not as strange as it appears on the surface. It was common to try to steal religious icons back in the day.

So who hijacked Abraham? Was it the sons of Esau, who became the followers of Allah or the sons of Isaac, who became the followers of Jehovah? Given that you can pick which ones did the hijacking, what are the odds on the two both becoming among the major relligions of the world.

Regarding the original post, I'll get back to you when I have more time to untangle that little web in detail.

PerVirtuous
April 16th, 2005, 06:01 PM
If you wish to eliminate a perfectly legitimate word (Agnostic) then you must be want to make everything black and white. Too simple, I say. The world has so many people unwilling to, in all honesty, claim theism or atheism. To write them off as nonexistant doesn't work.

I have no intention of eliminating the word. Agnostics are by definition a subclassification of Atheism. All that one must have to be an Atheist is a lack of belief in God. If you want to have three groups or more, you can use the term Antitheists. Agnostics are not Antithiests. I don't dissagree with your thoughts. Just a stickler for using the correct definitions.


So who hijacked Abraham? Was it the sons of Esau, who became the followers of Allah or the sons of Isaac, who became the followers of Jehovah? Given that you can pick which ones did the hijacking, what are the odds on the two both becoming among the major relligions of the world.

Ok. Let's discuss the possibilities. It follows that where one religion springs up with a "bullet" that the conditions are ripe for religion in that area at that time. If your competing religion is suffering because everybody is following the son of Abraham, then you could simply call your religions leader another son of Abraham. That makes it easier for people to switch as they are not abandoning Abraham, just switching sons. This is not surprising or unlikely under the circumstances.

To figure out who ripped off whom simply follow the timeline.

DeviantNorm
April 16th, 2005, 08:24 PM
While I would agree that the existance of skepticism and the manifestation of it are certainly two different things, I disagree with the notion that even the most vocal of fundamentalists does not still possess extraordinary amounts of skepticism. In fact, it is likely that this skepticism is what causes them to rule out any debate on their beliefs. They are so skeptical that they fear what they may find. I don't know that skepticism is what frightens them. To admit that all those comfy-cozy beliefs you have might not be true after all your devotion, all your prayers, tears, contributions, etc....to admit that we might be freak accidents in a universe thats an even bigger freak of an accident...that's what frightens them. I mean, if you're a sincere, honest Christian for example, what good does it do you to posit that your faith might have it all wrong? It wouldn't strengthen your convictions, would it? Your faith is at risk of faltering at this point. And we can't have that.

Pardon me for the cynicism, but again....I think these people may have gone as far as to question themselves, got scared and turned back to their safe, secure "answers".


Can a skeptic be skeptical of skepticism? Apparently so. I don't know if I'm right to be skeptical. Many of the theists I know insist that I'm denying the truth that is so blatently staring me in the face....*shrugs*



I would certainly agree that to call skepticism a religion would stretch the definition. However, the "skeptics creed" of Pyrrhonian skepticism begins to fill many of the prereqs.
with the glaring exception of the "we might me wrong" part. [/QUOTE] Not to mention the complete lack of important religious building blocks, such as sacred texts, belief in a higher power, rituals, and so on.

A creed(o) does not have to be religious.


I have imagined it. (har) Watch you don't get sucked into the void! ;)

PerVirtuous
April 17th, 2005, 05:54 AM
I don't know if I'm right to be skeptical. Many of the theists I know insist that I'm denying the truth that is so blatently staring me in the face....*shrugs*

All people don't know if they are right. The human mind cannot be objective, it can only synthesize objectivity. There is a great difference. (kind of like the difference between being Hamlet in a play and actually being Hamlet)

The skeptic, by making this admonition, flies in the face of Theism which states that God is the truth so, therefore, by knowing God you know the truth. By not knowing the truth, you cannot know God.

I believe that I once knew God in a play, but when the play was over he was just Fred. We still talk.