Skepticism is a questioning approach to acts, knowledge or opinions stated as doubt or facts concerning claims that are taken for granted somewhere else (Tara, 2008). Philosophical skepticism is an overall attitude that needs all information to be well sustained by evidence. Philosophical skepticism developed from historical Greek philosophy. This skepticism desists from making actual claims. Instead, it advocates a suspending attitude. According to Tara (2001), philosophical skepticism is usually used to explain other philosophies that seem to resemble it, for example, academic skepticism which argues that the understanding of facts is not possible. The study of skepticism was initiated by Pyrrho from Elis after he had travelled and learned with gymnosophists (lovers of naked wisdom) in India. From there, he came up with an idea that nothing can be recognized as reality. The senses are fooled easily, and a thought follows our desires too easily. Subsequently, many theoretical perspectives have been developed through which the concept of falsity and absolute truth has been contested as vague.
The best approach to a skeptical argument is to debate things from totally different perspectives. A skeptical argument commences with assumptions that people’s attitudes to the external world are at least partially based on how things come into their sight. Something must have a physical manifestation to be part of one’s definition of reality (Tara, 2001). For instance, students can have a partial belief that they are currently seated on a desk because that is what is physically manifested. However, that is not the end of the argument. One should as well think about the fact that how things come into sight is a good indication of how things actually are. Without depending on these assumptions, the way things appear will not be a reason to think that this is the way they are.
However, how can these assumptions on appearances be justified and how can people know that the physical sight is a good indication of how things are? In fact, there is no known way to justify the assumption. Suppose, someone depends on physical appearance thinking that, as much they can tell, the way things are manifested to them is a reliable indication of how things really are. Of course, this kind of evaluation neglects some rather important factors.
Therefore, people’s attitude to the external world relies on their evidence, the assumption that how things come into their sight is a dependable indication of how things actually are, and their physical appearance to them. However, the assumption cannot be justified. Therefore, a skeptical altitude to the external world relies on an unjustifiable assumption.
An unjustifiable assumption is not considered as knowledge, and therefore. It is clear that a skeptical argument is based on assumptions and physical manifestations which are not justified and, therefore, cannot be used to describe the reality of things (Tara, 2008). However, a physical manifestation that has been justified by evidence can be used in determination of reality. From the above mentioned example, the physical appearance depicts that the students are seated on desks. This is reality since it can be justified. Therefore, a physical manifestation can be used to define reality if there is evidence to justify it.
The belief that physical manifestations which can be justified are reliable leads to the way things are. This is due to the assumption that makes dependent claims on the reality of things. It is a contingent matter of fact and not a necessity matter that a physical manifestation does not indicate how things actually are. However, this fact cannot be understood by a mere reflection. In reality, a mere reflection offers people the knowledge of necessary facts other than contingent facts. This eliminates the skeptical argument that nothing can be recognized as reality (Tara, 2008).
Religious skepticism is a doubt regarding basic religious principles like immortality, revelation, and providence (Wilson, 2008). This skepticism usually refers to doubting beliefs or claims of religions. Also, it investigates the philosophical validity of religious beliefs and practices. For instance, religious skepticism does not acknowledge that Jesus lived, and if he did, he was not the Messiah and did not carry out miracles. However, such skeptical claims cannot be used to describe the reality, since they have no justified evidence. According to Wilson (2008), the claims of skepticism are null and void. Christians believe that Jesus lived and performed miracles. Christians believe in Jesus with or without physical reality; for them, the existence of Jesus is real and can be justified with the help of philosophical works of Greek philosophers.
Another skeptical argument on religion is based on the non-existence of God. Skepticism argues that there is no God. This argument is made from the assumption that a physical manifestation is a partial indication of how things are in reality. Though skepticism insists on the assumption, it has no justified evidence to support it. The existence of God is justified by the fact that there is a Supreme Being controlling the external world (Wilson, 2008). This Supreme Being is the one referred to as God.
A physical manifestation gives a partial indication of the way things are in reality and, therefore, should not be used in defining the reality of things. This means that the way things appear physically might be true or false in reality. However, a physical manifestation helps people to understand the way things really are. Therefore, a skeptical assumption that the way things come into sight gives a partial depiction of how they are in reality can be hold as fact, but should not be used to define the reality until justified evidence is received.
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