Keywords: scepsis, trope, agnosticism, relativism, regress ad infinitum
Commonly, we use the term “scepsis” or “sceptic” to indicate dubitation and disbelief at something, or they can also signify a complete refusal of the true value of certain claims. Historically and etymologically, “scepsis” (skepsis, skeptikos) does not mean the refusal of a claim but rather contemplation – a critical approach, which encourages us not to accept any conclusions without thorough and critical examination.
Historically, we can distinguish several forms of scepticism, beginning with academic scepticism, an older antique form (Pyrrhonian), a middle and later antique scepticism, Islamic (Al-Ghazali’s scepticism), but also modern (Descartes’s, Mointaigne’s, Diderot’s or Hume’s), and current forms of scientific scepticism (K. R. Popper, K. Lehrer, N. N. Taleb, D. Kahneman) devoted mostly to the (im)possibility of scientific proof ← 63 | 64 → and the existence of cognitive biases in the domain of the social and natural sciences.
According to the degree of scope, we can differentiate between global and partial scepticism, or between scepticism in whole knowledge and scepticism in specific content. According to the nature of the subject, we can distinguish between scepticism of the existence of something (e.g. truth), scepticism of our ability to cognize something (either by our senses – Plato, by intellect – Hume, or at all – Pyrrho), or scepticism about a possibility of complete and certain justification (Proudfoot 2010, 359; Morrison 2011, 445 – 453). A special case of scepticism is scepsis about the possibility of knowledge (of the existence)...
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