February 17, 2007

Healthy Skepticism

Posted in fiction, novelists, philosophy, religion, science at 9:53 am by Jerry

Peter Kreeft, a Christian philosopher, often challenges schools of thought by using their philosophy against them. For instance, for the school of skepticism, he would say something like, “To stay true to their philosophy, skeptics need to be skeptical of skepticism.” This may sound like the school of skepticism is defeated in this phrase, but I think it makes skepticism stronger. I think we should always challenge our own methods of discovering truth and try to improve them.

I also think we should explore others’ methods, learn from them, and use them against our own ideologies. One of the ways I enjoy doing this is by creating fictional characters who don’t share the exact same philosophy or agree on social issues. I love creating an informal debate between them. The characters, for whatever psychological need I give them, are on a personal inquiry, challenging those who see things differently. I’ve corrected my own philosophy through this method plenty of times.

Some people I’ve had conversations with react to a deconstructionist argument as if they thought it were a pursuit for complete annihilation. The truth is, though it can be used for complete annihilation, the bigger picture reveals that it’s just a lot of pruning. And when the pruning is done, it’s so much easier for the living to grow.

Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep insights can be winnowed from deep nonsense. – Carl Sagan

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1 Comment »

  1. unitedcats said,

    Oh dear God yes, if a person can’t come up with reasonable arguments against their own beliefs and opinions, their brain is no more than a device for keeping their head from caving in. JMO —Doug


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