σκεψις

2007-02-28

As discussed yesterday, I am of a skeptical frame of mind, in the sense that I think it is important to carefully consider alternatives, hesitate in accepting theories, and question self-appointed intellectual authorities (the word skepticism derives from the Greek σκεψις, meaning "looking around, considering, or inquiring into, especially in a careful manner"). Coincidentally, on the flight back from Brussels yesterday I found the following passage about the value of skepticism in the essay "Landscape with a Deer in the Background" by José Ortega y Gasset (translated by Tony Talbot):

The skeptic is the man with the fullest, richest, most complete life. Some foolish idea leads us to suppose that the skeptic does not believe in anything. Quite the contrary! The skeptic differs from the dogmatic in that the latter believes in only one thing and the former in many, in almost everything. And this multitude of beliefs, acting as mutual restraints, make the mind flexible and prolific.


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