I am not a skeptic though I somewhat am a fan. Lol
I do not call myself a skeptic, I do not doubt that which is unreasonable to require doubt. I am a rationalist who uses methodological skepticism and also may utilize scientific skepticism.
Methodological skepticism is a way of using the process of doubting in order to arrive at certainty. And scientific skepticism is the practice of questioning whether claims are supported by empirical research and have reproducibility, as part of a methodological norm pursuing “the extension of certified knowledge”
Some people who doubt what is rational or proven say they are skeptics or being skeptical they are denialists or possibly using philosophic skepticism.
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. Methodological skepticism, is a systematic process of being skeptical about (or doubting) the truth of one’s beliefs, it is similar to scientific skepticism.
Likewise, scientific skepticism is different from philosophical skepticism, which questions our ability to claim any knowledge about the nature of the world and how we perceive it. Scientific skeptics believe that empirical investigation of reality leads to the truth, and that the scientific method is best suited to this purpose. Scientific skeptics attempt to evaluate claims based on verifiability, reliability, and often adhering to falsifiability discouraging acceptance of claims on faith or anecdotal evidence.
There does seem to be a lot of improper use of the term skeptic attached to conspiracy theories and denialism. In human behavior, denialism is exhibited by individuals choosing to deny reality as a way to avoid dealing with an uncomfortable truth.
Then again, I have skepticism for “extreme philosophical skepticism or universal skepticism philosophy”. Radical skepticism about the external world is the idea that we cannot have accurate knowledge about the physical world outside of our minds. That idea, if true, would block the truth-seeker’s attempt to gain knowledge by assessing the natural world. Sure, reasonable skepticism gets us to a good solid starting point to remove flawed beliefs but there is a need to move beyond skepticism if it removes any sureness of things that are actually demonstrative as true then to me it can become pseudo skeptic and denialist thinking.
Granted I do think all claims or beliefs we think are true should be open to challenge and reassessment and if found wanting corrected or abandoned. Scientific skepticism is also called rational skepticism, and it is sometimes referred to as skeptical inquiry.
I see philosophy as a set of tools, some are viral, some not needed as much but still useful, other not very useful but still needed and others just some gimmick people were conned into buying that is entirely unusual and even harmful.
I am not anti-skeptical or anti-skeptic it is just not the accurate label for my thinking. if the term “Skeptic” was limited to only methodological skepticism I would champion the term as well. I think skeptic should automatically infer the methodological skepticism approach and likewise denialist thinking should not be seen as a true philosophical approach to skepticism as there is a difference between a skeptic and denialist.
Denialist “pseudo-skeptics” are often religionists, magical thinkers, conspiracy theorist, supporters of woo woo, and other whack jobs these days. Religion and other magical thinking woo woo distorts reality. How can we expect people to make rational decisions when they believe in non-reality as if it is reality?
Reasonable skepticism to me is or should be more about the process of applying reason and critical thinking to determine validity or reliable reason or evidence. It’s the process of finding a supported conclusion, not the justification of a preconceived conclusion.
By Damien Marie AtHope
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