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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


The term sceptic was an epithet for a school of Greek philosophers who doubted the authenticity of all and any knowledge. In honour of the first sceptic philosopher Pyrrho, the school was named Pyrrhonism. Greek Sophists made up the majority of the student body, which was comprised of students with different levels of scepticism. Students ranged from those who simply questioned the contemporary problems in one’s daily life, to those who practised agnosticism and rejected external interactions. With respect to Pyrrho’s quote, “one must be quick to question, but slow to believe,” the school was strict to make a distinction of appearance versus reality. The school had an interesting curriculum; they instigated regressive arguments. It was an exercise of lucidly responding to the infinite questions of “why?”. This exercise started because the students expressed that everything one felt or witnessed seemed to be something, but one could never be sure. The causation could not be experienced, nor one could know the inner core of things. The goal was to release the students from the confinement of dogmatic philosophy and cultivate distrust in all observations. This metaphysical curriculum was interpreted in two ways. Firstly, it was used to demonstrate that ubiquity is indeterminate because one cannot measure and represent all that exists. Secondly, it was used to encourage one to withdraw trust and betray the cognitions from the past. Thus, there will be no definite answers.
            In contemporary society, sceptics form in society when they sense a conspiracy, a mystery, or a lie. An example is a group of sceptics with the issue of the 9/11 attacks. Some have a theory that the attacks were not absolutely responsible by the al-Qaeda. They assert some form of U.S. government involvement or ignorance—deliberate disregard to the warning, collaboration with the al-Qaeda, and cover-up tactics aftermath. Another example is the Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors’ debacle on the issue of inflated fuel mileage.  When the Hyundai and Kia consumers suspected a faulty fuel rating after purchase, groups of sceptics formed an alliance to raise the issue of misinformation and bring to public attention.
Overall, the word sceptic is agreeably the “in-apprehensibility and suspension of judgement” as Pyrrho says. Sceptics today, such as the consumer and the political doubters have a purpose by addressing new issues and propositions for those uninformed. At the same time, they seek justifications and answers to the nebulousness in an attempt to reveal what may be hidden behind the doors.

Bett, Richard. Pyrrho. Metaphysics Research Lab, CSLI, Stanford University. 2010. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pyrrho/ (accessed November 21, 2012).
Harper, Douglas. skeptic. 2012. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=skeptic&allowed_in_frame=0 (accessed November 21, 2012).
Klein, Peter. skepticism. Metaphysics Research Lab, CSLI, Stanford University. 2010. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/skepticism/ (accessed November 21, 2012).
Oxford English Dictionary. sceptic. Oxford University Press. 2012. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/172249?redirectedFrom=skeptic#eid (accessed November 21, 2012).

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