What Is Scepticism? How Is Methodological Scepticism Different

Topics: Philosophy, Skepticism, Epistemology Pages: 4 (1299 words) Published: October 2, 2009
What is Scepticism? Is Methodological Scepticism different?

The philosophical term Scepticism can simplistically be described as the challenging of established knowledge, principles, assumptions and beliefs in philosophy, science and theology (Kisner, 2005) Scepticism is based on the fact that with enough skill, any argument can sound convincing However, like most other philosophical constructs the notion is a lot more complex and often ambiguous, particularly upon examination of Rene Descartes and his idea of methodological Scepticism. Methodological Scepticism is an approach that removes all prior beliefs and knowledge in attempt to find further knowledge (William 1999). There are distinct differences between Scepticism and methodological Scepticism. This paper sets out to highlight these differences by firstly providing a working definition of Scepticism. The paper will then delve into the concept of methodological skepticism followed by a discussion into key differences.

The basic working presupposition of Scepticism is that all knowledge is limited, if not, unattainable and can be applied to everything in the universe and consciousness. In order to help understand it is important to delve into the historical context of its uprising. The foundations of Scepticism can be credited back to the early works of Pyrho of Ellis (360-272 BC) and Sextus Empiricus (2nd and 3rd Century AD). Largely in response to the dogmatic philosophies and the epistemologies of certain philosophies, I.e. Aristotelian, Epicurean and stocicim ( William 1999), philosophical skepticism aimed to study the nature of knowledge by asking questions such as how can one know? Of what can be One certain? (Kubitz 1939). Knowledge and truth had previously been unchallenged as they were primarily based on religious beliefs, and/or the observations and experiences of respected scholars. Sextus uses Pyrrhonian Skeptical viewpoint in his analysis of knowledge, that is, the idea that one should...

References: Groshlz (2002) Rene Descartes, Mediations on First Philosophy 1641 in Gracia et al (2002) ‘The classics of western Philosophy’
Kisner, Matthew J.(2005) 'Scepticism and the Early Descartes ',British Journal for the History of Philosophy,13:2,207
— 232
Kubitz A (1939) Scepticism and Intuition in the Philosophy of Descartes- The Philosophical Review, Vol. 48, No. 5 (Sep., 1939), pp. 472-491
Pokin (1999) ‘The skeptical Crisis’ in ‘The Pimlico Historpy of Western Philosophy’ pp 329-340 Pimlico
Malachowski, Al(1993) 'Methodological scepticism, metaphysics and meaning ', International Journal of Philosophical Studies,1:2,302 — 312
Schroder (2005) ‘Continental Philosophy- a critical approach’ Blackwell Publishing
Sheldon W (1934) Scepticism The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 31, No. 23 (Nov. 8, 1934), pp. 617-633
William H. U.(1999) 'What is scepticism and can it be found in the Hebrew Bible? ' Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament,13:2,225 — 257
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