what is skepticism

Skepticism is an attitude towards scientific knowledge. It can either be a position of questioning what is considered fact or of critically examining any fact before having it as true, even if it is already a proven scientific fact.

In the field of philosophy, skepticism is a doctrine that believes that the human mind is not capable of reaching any certainty as to the Truth.


The meaning of skepticism has its roots in philosophy. However, when the term skeptic is used to refer to someone, it usually means that that person doubts everything, is someone who needs to “see to believe”. The term state is also found in the definition of the word skeptic , which designates exactly the state of disbelief in which the skeptic lives.

Skepticism and science

Despite seeming to be opposing concepts, skepticism and science go hand in hand. Any scientific knowledge can only be born from the dialectical process generated by doubt. Skepticism is the engine of all scientific knowledge. When there are no doubts, knowledge is accepted as absolute Truth, which would be an indication of naivety. Truth is not a single piece; it is composed of millions of small pieces of knowledge added together. Logically, Man is still far from the Truth, but every doubt is born a questioning that becomes a new scientific research and thus, we can reach one more element that constitutes the Truth.

Skepticism and dogmatism

Dogmatism is the opposite of skepticism. Dogmatism is the process by which Man can believe in what he captures through his senses, while the skeptic questions even what he sees, hears, feels. In the study of philosophy, the concepts of skepticism and dogmatism stand at opposite poles. A dogma, according to Kant , is a concept formed a priori and is of a philosophical nature; scientific knowledge cannot be called dogmatic precisely because it comes from empirical research, from calculation or is based on some of the exact, non-subjective sciences.

Still in philosophy, there is a contrast between dogmatic philosophers, those who define their opinions on all subjects, and skeptical philosophers, who do not have rigid definitions for everything.

Open Skepticism

Open Skepticism is self-defined as an “ educational venture ”, which aims to bring together people who have a skeptical attitude towards everything that is conveyed as true. Created by Kentaro Mori, Open Skepticism is an online network connecting knowledge and information from skeptics around the world. For him, skepticism is the only path to Truth. Open Skepticism runs counter to dogmatic certainty, therefore being always open to new ideas, but testing them through the most rigorous research methods.

Open Skepticism is a path to Truth, not a threat to it. Any statement can only be validated if it manages to overcome the barrier of the strongest inquiring doubt.

It is called “ open ” because it does not reject any idea, even those that science does not dare to investigate, starting from the assumption that it is untrue. Conspiracy theories, ghost sightings, ufology, homeopathy and any “ weird things ” are targets of analysis under the guidelines of Open Skepticism.

Absolute Skepticism

Two are the philosophers who are credited with founding Absolute Skepticism: Gorgias (485 – 380 BC) and Pyrrhus (365 – 275 BC), both Greeks.

Absolute Skepticism states that one cannot believe in anything that exists because everything we know can only come to us through our senses and our reason, ways considered flawed by the doctrine.

Gorgias is known even today for the authorship of the phrase: “ being does not exist; if it existed we could not know it; and if we could know it, we could not communicate it to others ”.

Pirro claimed that our senses are the only sources of apprehension of reality and knowledge, but they are unreliable and lead us to error. Pyrrhus also distrusted reason, for on the same subjects different men have often contradictory opinions; this would reveal how limited human intelligence is, making it impossible to reach any truth.

what is skepticism

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