An Attitude of Skepticism Is Needed To Think For Yourself

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

Bringing Skepticism To A Process of Inquiry

Without healthy skepticism,  we might actually believe anything. To be skeptical doesn’t mean to simply dismiss or reject without basis.  It also doesn’t allow for arbitrary or ungrounded explanations.  Skepticism causes us to question and to probe to find out what is true and what is false. Science uses skepticism as part of a critical examination of evidence to determine facts. It is a method of bringing skepticism to a process of inquiry.

We live in a scientific age and people have been exposed to scientifically derived knowledge to a greater extent than ever before in human history. Yet it seems the common man is willing to accept most assertions offered in a “socially-based context” without proof or evidence. These people regard all sources of information that a skeptic would dismiss as hearsay as being credible. For example, sources of information along the lines of:

“The news said…” or “the government said…” or " people I know said"

All of that is simply believed, and often with disastrous consequences.   However, instead of believing, one can be skeptical and test and probe in the same way that a scientist would find what the facts actually are to explain how a phenomenon happens. Thus, skepticism becomes a path to knowledge!

To Perturbate And Observe Is To Experiment on the World.

By living in the world, we are always be faced with some phenomena we need to explain.  Because of language, we are already conditioned to ask,  “What is it?”   In language, we create identities.  That process of labeling is how we establish what is true and false in our explanations for the world, which we call reality.  When we stop inquiring, we are left to live instead with an explanatory principle that is largely unsubstantiated.

One very good way to know reality is to perturbate the world!  Our fundamental relationship to the world is a mutual exchange of energy and substance.  One might think of these exchanges of a form of mutual perturbation. Experimentation in the world is a way we can learn the nature of something. For whatever we study, we find out what 'it' is,  and especially we find out what 'it' does!  Any perturbing action will cause 'it' to respond. When I say we perturbate the world, I am saying that we observe the responses that occur when we take action. Our obvious aim is to discover whatever we may find.

Inquiry through perturbation will lead to discovery.  In this method, which might be called 'action research,' we can deepen the questions we ask to know the world.  In the process, one comes to know one’s self as someone who acts upon the world. That is to do as we will, so as to discover what can learn. This is a very different way of knowing than belief.

© Copyright 2014 Robert Fertman, All Rights Reserved

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