Skepticism brings many ideas which in turn will be detrimental to many things.
It will lead to the depreciation of knowledge, thus doubting the truth and nature of all things. It will disband the ideas of established sciences, which have been founded and accepted as true and certain. Freethinking and doubt will also disrupt social undertakings because of the fact that skeptical views will not produce strong relationships. As Rene Descartes expounded in his Meditations, he brought about the discourse of doubting one’s own existence to overcome skepticism in its simplest sense: to doubt that you doubt is a contradictory of the sense of the word “doubt” making the process of thought as an affirmation of your doubting, therefore you cannot be skeptic about that. George Berkeley, on the other hand, proved skepticism as false when he formulated the idea of perception as an affirmation of certainty. One can verify the truthfulness and meaning of an idea if it can be perceived and/or is in capable of perception.
Empirical evidences will prove that existence is one thing that cannot be skeptic about. If I would weigh the pros and cons of skepticism, the pros will give much benefit and use.Why I am not skeptic about the external worldThe natural impulse of man is to be curious about himself and his surroundings that can lead to the discovery of new information or knowledge, but if taken into excessive skeptic view about the world will be disadvantageous.
I am not skeptical about the external world because of the fact that there exist a “law of nature” that has been established by science (a systematic body of knowledge). For instance, one of the Laws of Motion authored by Newton and further developed by many scientists is the Law of Action-Reaction. It states that for every action there is an equal and/or opposite reaction. Hence, these laws of nature explain the world as is. Skepticism and doubt with these laws will only bring unrest to one’s mind and body, and besides what is there to be doubtful when these laws have already been tested and proven as such. Proofs that encircle the laws of nature are products of long studies which involved different approaches.
People who have engaged into these studies have reiterated many approaches to their chosen study. These laws are not products of an overnight thought but have been fought for in argument, reflection, and experimentation by different people. Another reason why I am not skeptic about the external world is the advantage of not being skeptic at all. It is good that we are curious to our surroundings because it starts the foundation of knowledge, but curiosity taken into a never ending thought and not accepting anything will induce confusion and continuous suspicion of everything.
If otherwise, I will benefit from the knowledge that convention has already established; I can be productive owing to the authenticated information that are laid upon me; I am capable of forming relationships with others for the reason that I do not doubt my judgments nor doubt theirs as well; I will gain from trusting the world around me than not trusting at all.Rene Descartes’ famous line, “cogito ergo sum” or “I think therefore I am” (Descartes, 1637) is his basis for being certain at least in his own self, thus overcoming skepticism. As a skeptic, a person is in doubt of everything, his quest for questioning and study is never ending, even criticizing ones own ideas, and in a continuous mode for a discourse. In addition, as Rene Descartes formulated the Meditations, he affirms the fact that no matter how skeptic one person is about the world, one’s own mind and one’s own sanity; he may never doubt his own existence. The fact that a person thinks for himself is a reaffirmation of his existence, thus he should not be skeptic about that. It is putting the following argument in premise form as follows:I am skeptic (doubtful) about my own mind and existence.However, I am capable of thinking.Therefore, if I am capable of thought and doubt, then I should not be skeptic on my own mind and existence for doubting my own doubt is a contradiction of the word and nature of “doubt” itself.
Descartes accounted his argument on the grounds of self-reflection. To be capable of self-reflection or self-awareness is an affirmation of one’s self. This argument would prove that Descartes’ cogito ergo sum is logically valid and sound considering that it follows a logical path, although it does not say anything about the outside world.Empirical philosophers would argue that if we charge everything to sense-experience, we should not bother ourselves with matters of the outside world. It is because what matters most is that our senses are capable of perception. Nevertheless, how do we know if our senses do not deceive us? It is through consensus within the population that we are able to utter as such.
Sometimes people tend to disregard that reason is sufficient to provide explanations about reality. For skeptics, reality is just a term that idealists “invented” to have something to hang on to. However, for the empiricists, experience is the basis of reality, not just experience perse, but sensory-experience. I am not skeptic about the external world because my sense-experience tells me so. George Berkeley made much importance with perception as a basis for experiencing the external world.
He claims that no existence of matter is independent of perception, “Esse est aut percipi aut percipere” or existence is either to be perceived or to perceive (Berkeley, 1975).Therefore, whatever is a product of our perception necessarily exists. It follows that, evidently, whatever we perceive in the external world is true and that we should not doubt its nature.In addition, skepticism would only bring problems on meanings.
Problems occur because of the fact that multiple meanings, concepts, and notions arise from abundant skeptic ideas of people. For instance, ancient thinkers dwell much time in contemplating matters of the material world, an example is finding out the shape of the earth. The earth in ancient times meant flat, but because of empirical evidences and many explorations that tells it is round, the shape of earth evolved from being flat to round. Why did misconceptions occur? Because ancient thinkers reside on basis that are doubtful in nature, but owing to empirical proofs led to clarifications. Should I be skeptic now about the shape of the earth? No, for it has been proven through empirical studies that it is so.Moreover, I could justify why I am not skeptic about the external world through the pragmatic approach of Edgar Sheffield Brightman as a basis for explanation. The pragmatic approach on reality says, “The test of the truth of all thinking is to be found in its practical consequences” (Brightman, 1963, p. 68).
This means that the truthfulness of an idea resides on the practical results it brings to me. For example, if I am doubtful about other people, then I will have a hard time trusting and building relationships. Thus if I am working as a supervisor, my being skeptic would just lead to various problems like inability to meet the company’s goals, inability to handle subordinates, impossibility of building a team, etc. I will then have an unorganized business relationship with my employees due to my unending doubts with them. Furthermore, the entire burden of working and meeting the company’s goals will fall on my shoulder for the reason that I am skeptic with the people around me.
On the other hand, if I could learn not to be skeptic with people, I will reap the benefits of trusting. I will no longer carry the company’s burden alone because of the presence of my team, making things easier. The agitation of loneliness that skepticism brought will no longer be present. We will at last be able to meet the company’s goals. Therefore, the pragmatic approach on the external world would reaffirm that whatever works and satisfies my pleasures is true.
A famous saying tells us that no man is an island. Skepticism, in its sense, will result in isolation from the outside world. If I am in the non-stop mode for doubting everything, I will have a difficult time engaging into something, thus having a life of solitary confinement. It will be impossible to partake into anything because of the primary reason that notions like trust and loyalty is unattainable.
Skepticism contradicts the idea that man is a social being for social activities require abstract ideas like trust. I am not skeptical about the external world for reasons that not being so will only result to disadvantages like inability to engage into fruitful relationships; nonbeliever of everything even on established facts that cannot be beneficial to me as a person; and uncertainty with everything else. Man as a thinking being partakes into the continuous process of thought; because of this he is able to formulate ideas that are beneficial for him to survive.
If I am a skeptical person, I will not be able to trust myself with the ideas that come to my senses, in turn I will not engage into these ideas for I am in continuous doubt with them, thus I will not be productive as a person. I am not skeptical about the external world because I believe that there is much advantage in not being so.ReferencesBerkeley, G.
(1975). Philosophical Works; Including the Works on Vision. M.
Ayers (Ed.). London: JM Dent.Brightman, E. (1963). An Introduction to Philosophy. R.
Beck (Ed.). Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 68.Descartes, R. (1637). Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Searching for Truth in the Sciences.
Newton, I. (1999). The Principia. I.B. Cohen and A.
Whitman (Trans.). Berkeley: University of California Press.