BRIAN DUNNING'S QUALIFICATION PLUS SCIENTIFIC SCEPTICISM VS THE FULL RANGE OF SCEPTICISM IN PHILOSOPHY
I love skepticism. Unfortunately Brian Dunning's Skeptoid podcast is only about scientific scepticism and not the full range of scepticism as found in philosophy.
Brian Dunning and His Work Background and Qualifications ...
Summary from FBI record of interview 19 June 2007 which records Dunning's statements:
1. He has had very little formal education.
2. He does not have a college degree. (He quit college.)
3. He attended classes at BYU, UCLA, and UC Irvine.
4. He is not an experienced administrator.
5. He depended on employees at Rackspace to do most of his technical server work.
6. He does not have any formal training in computer science or any related technical field.
7. His [claimed] expertise in Filemaker Pro is self-learned.
A simple definition of scepticism and its scope can be found at http://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_skepticism.html
Skepticism (or Scepticism in the UK spelling), also known as Pyrrhonism or Pyrrhonic Skepticism after the early proponent Pyrrho of Elis, is the philosophical position that one should refrain from making truth claims, and avoid the postulation of final truths. This is not necessarily quite the same as claiming that truth is impossible (which would itself be a truth claim), but is often also used to cover the position that there is no such thing as certainty in human knowledge (sometimes referred to as Academic Skepticism).
The term is derived from the Greek verb "skeptomai" (which means "to look carefully, to reflect"), and the early Greek Skeptics were known as the Skeptikoi. In everyday usage, Skepticism refers to an attitude of doubt or incredulity, either in general or toward a particular object, or to any doubting or questioning attitude or state of mind. It is effectively the opposite of dogmatism, the idea that established beliefs are not to be disputed, doubted or diverged from.
In philosophy, it can refer to:
- an inquiry
- the limitations of knowledge
- a method of obtaining knowledge through systematic doubt and continual testing
- the arbitrariness, relativity, or subjectivity of moral values
- a method of intellectual caution and suspended judgment ....
Types of Skepticism
Moral Skepticism is the belief that moral knowledge is either nonexistent or unattainable.
Religious Skepticism (or Theological Skepticism) is Skepticism regarding faith-based claims. It does not necessarily imply either Atheism or Agnosticism. Religious skeptics question religious authority, and are not necessarily anti-religious but are those skeptical of a specific (or all) religious beliefs or practices. Socrates was one of the first religious skeptics, questioning the legitimacy of the beliefs of his time in the existence of the various gods, which in part led to his trial and execution.
Metaphysical Skepticism is a type of local skepticism which denies any metaphysical knowledge.
Scientific Skepticism (or Empirical Skepticism) is the questioning of the reliability of certain kinds of claims by subjecting them to a systematic investigation using the scientific method (the formulation and testing of hypotheses through observation and experimentation). A scientific skeptic merely seeks likely proof before accepting any knowledge, especially in controversial areas such as health claims, environmental claims, parapsychology, the existence of unproven creatures, etc. So-called Activist Skeptics are a sub-set of scientific skeptics who aim to debunk or expose in public what they see as the truth behind specific extraordinary claims.
Contrast the above with Brian Dunning's definition of scepticism.
Skepticism is the process of applying reason and critical thinking to determine validity. It's the process of finding a supported conclusion, not the justification of a preconceived conclusion. ...
Skepticism is about redirecting attention, influence, and funding away from worthless superstitions and popular misinformation, and toward projects and ideas that are evidenced to be beneficial to humanity and to the world.
The scientific method is central to skepticism. The scientific method is about the study and evaluation of evidence, preferably derived from validated testing. Anecdotal evidence and personal testimonies cannot be tested, so they generally aren't useful to the scientific method, and thus won't often be accepted by a responsible skeptic; which often explains why skeptics get such a bad rap for being negative or disbelieving people. They're simply following the scientific method.
Clearly that definition does not cover the full range of scepticism in philosophy.
In stark contrast is "Skepticism: From Antiquity to the Present" edited by Diego Machuca & Baron Reed.
Skepticism: From Antiquity to the Present is an authoritative and up-to-date survey of the entire history of skepticism. Divided chronologically into ancient, medieval, renaissance, modern, and contemporary periods, and featuring 50 specially-commissioned chapters from leading philosophers, this comprehensive volume is the first of its kind.
By exploring each of the distinct traditions and providing expert insights, this extensive reference work:
- covers major thinkers such as Sextus Empiricus, Cicero, Descartes, Hume, Spinoza, and Wittgenstein.
- acknowledges the influence of ancient skeptical traditions on later philosophy and explains why it is still a fertile topic of inquiry among today's philosophers and historians of philosophy.
- analyzes various forms of skepticism including Pyrrhonian, Academic, religious, moral, and neo-Pyrrhonian.
- addresses issues in contemporary epistemology and indicates new directions of study.
Skepticism, a driving force in the history of philosophy, remains at the center of debates in ethics, philosophy of religion, epistemology, and the philosophy of mind. Skepticism: From Antiquity to the Present is an essential point of reference for any student, researcher, or practitioner of philosophy, presenting a systematic and historical survey of this core philosophical topic.