I like to say I am a rationalist not a skeptic.
It’s not that I do not value skepticism but I value methodological skepticism tool to minimize errors not as my main way of being because in that I am a rationalist.
Much of epistemology has arisen either in defense of, or in opposition to, various forms of skepticism. The general forms of skepticism question our knowledge in many, if not all, domains in which we ordinarily think knowledge is possible.
Philosophical skepticism is distinguished from methodological skepticism in that philosophical skepticism is an approach that questions the possibility of certainty in knowledge, whereas methodological skepticism is an approach that subjects all knowledge claims to scrutiny with the goal of sorting out true from false claims.
I see methodological skepticism also called scientific skepticism as a way to protect against or remove falsehoods or errors.
I think skeptic whether philosophical skepticism or methodological skepticism a little of both or something skeptic in-between in the unbelief community is so over emphasized from a useful tool to instead a full way of being or a self title.
I do not see it as a way of being for me. Skepticism is in no way a method to bring truth or new knowledge it is a knowledge negative not knowledge positive.
To me a good use of rationality is to test concepts with skeptical thinking to see if one has errors, then again use rationalism to clarify them and find true belief which is knowledge.
Skepticism often holds a position of doubt until proof but rationalism often holds a position of requires a reason to doubt. Such as I hear those who champion skepticism saying you must always reserve doubt unless you see or review the evidence.
But if you say you have the planet Pluto in your pocket as a rationalist I understand this violates the natural world thus I can 100% discount this even without needing to look holds a position that the claim dose not hold reason to require any doubt.
My choice to define as a rationalist atheist is in no way saying how others must think or define themselves.
Here are my general thoughts on what is knowledge and truth as well as their relation to one another.
What is knowledge? Justified true belief = knowledge
So evidence, information, or thought must have merits, warrants, or justifications to attach a true belief which then we can, unless shown to be in error, offer conjecture regarding its status as knowledge.
What is truth? Truth is a value judgment that we place on what we deem evidence or knowledge.
What is knowledge and truth in relation to one another? Justified True Belief = Knowledge = Truth
TheJustification Condition, Truth Condition and Belief Condition:
TheJustification Condition: I use “Reliabilism” is a general approach toepistemology that emphasizes the truth-conduciveness of a belief-formingprocess, method, or other epistemologically relevant factor. The reliabilitytheme appears both in theories of knowledge and theories of justification.
The TruthCondition: I use the “Correspondence Theory of Truth” states that the truth orfalsity of a statement is determined only by how it relates to the world andwhether it accurately describes (i.e., corresponds with) that world.
The BeliefCondition: I use the “ethics of belief” the thinking governing our habits ofbelief-formation, belief-maintenance, and belief-relinquishment.
It is important to bear in mind that Justified True Belief, as presented here, is a generic analysis. It is intended to describe a general structuring which can absorb or generate comparatively specific analyses that might be suggested, either of all knowledge at once or particular kinds of knowledge. It provides a basic outline — a form — of a theory.
To me beliefs should be formed after reason and evidence, beliefs should be altered if found somewhat contradictory to reason and evidence and removed if found disconnected to reason and evidence.
Faith is the reason blindness of otherwise great thinkers, which is why I oppose faith so much. But hey, that’s just me some people don’t seem to require reason and evidence for or to keep beliefs and instead just use faith thus claiming to know things they do not know nor should feel justified to believe in.
Lastly, although I consider myself a rationalist atheist and a truth seeker more than a skeptic atheist I at times may be skeptical as well depending on the situation or question.
While I am all for being a truth seeker valuing the asking of rational or reasonable questions and accepting of only rational or reasonable answers using them to provide a basic outline of justified true belief which can be held as knowledge and thus embody the concept of truth, there also is a place to pause in our judgment when in doubt thus embody a being a skeptic atheist.
As such I do not want to make it sound like truth seekers or rationalists would not say or think “I Don’t know” or not see this position as valuable or the best answer at times, because it may be.
In fact asserting “I Don’t know” as an answer is valuable when we experience uncertainty because often the most rational thing to say is “I Don’t know” and if we are highly unsure, deeply uninformed, or do not know something, skepticism is a good default position.
As a rationalist atheist, when in doubt, applying skepticism at this point is also a highly rational position.
Certainly, it is more rational to be skeptical than trying to pretend to know something when you do not know or accept something on faith.
Philosophical views are typically classed as skeptical when they involve advancing some degree of doubt regarding claims that are elsewhere taken for granted. Varieties of skepticism can be distinguished in two main ways, depending upon the focus and the extent of the doubt.
As regards the former, skeptical views typically have an epistemological form, in that they are focused on the epistemic status of certain beliefs. For example, one common variety of skepticism concerns our beliefs about the past and argues that such beliefs lack positive epistemic status – that they are not justified, or are not rational, or cannot constitute knowledge (and perhaps even all three). Where skepticism does not have this epistemological focus, then it tends to be of anontological form in that it is directed at beliefs about the existence of some supposedly problematic entity, such as the self or God. Here the target of the skepticism is not so much one’s putative knowledge of these entities (though it may be that as well), but rather the claim that they exist at all.