by: Gn. Dionysius Scorpio Invictus
Scepticism has become a commonplace for many intellectuals today, and is frequently used to either prove or disprove scientific claims. While this is the most commonly used purpose for it for about three centuries, scepticism, which originated in antiquity, had another purpose, namely none. Still today, for many, it is the root of modern and postmodern nihilism. But is this true? A sceptic inquiry on scepticism.
Scientists could claim that scepticism is not a philosophy, but a method, id est, asking questions, making examinations and judging evidence as objectively as possible. I will not contradict the magnificent results that have been obtained by science through such methods, but when it's described as a method, it loses its philosophical value, since a method implies a given direction, and a direction implies a subjectivity. So, even not the most honest scientists can cut him or herself loose from predispositions or personal judgement, inherent to his or her character. In conclusion about scepticism as a method, we can assert that the term on itself does not exist, as methods vary from person to person.
Philosophers however can claim that scepticism is a philosophy. Giving a definiton of philosophy is a very hard nut to crack in the first place. It might be described as "systematically composed and gathered knowledge with the objective to pose and answer the ultimate questions" (an unknown teacher). Others say that philosophy is also a lifestyle. Everyone knows that constantly inquiring everything that happens around you will lead to doubt, and doubt will lead to standstill. Philosophers of the Aufklärung thought that doubt would lead to a better knowledge, but the contrary is true when we look at ourselves. Measuring one's soul through scepticism is an unpleasant exercise, and therefore the sceptic lifestyle is probably non-existant, and will either result in cynicism, idealism or nihilism.
In conclusion about scepticism as a whole, we can state that it has helped us a lot in the emperical realm. But we are using a jackhammer to open a milk carton if we apply the same methods to the non-emperical realm, inasmuch that exists. Aristoteles, one of the wise men of the west, and Buddha, one of the wise men from the east, both told us about the middle way. I think the middle way also applies to scepticism; wield it wisely, for you might one day end up as your own tool.