A life spent in insatiable active curiosity concerning our realm and origins; one immersed in examination of mankind, the whole 7.4 billion of us and not just one’s home country, familiar fellows and occupation of choosing – this is the authentic journey of the skeptic. An extreme distaste for social power, posing and pretense. Not solely for the sake of simply knowing; but moreover to in small part, help ease the severity of mankind’s suffering and lack of knowledge about the realm in which he finds himself unwilling participant.
Ethical Skepticism is the movement which seeks legitimacy in displacing the pretentious nature of social skepticism, to join the ranks of scientific and academic skepticism in completing man’s philosophical triad. It is a construct of my creating amidst a hard-fought, paradigm shattering and globally-exposed life; however is crafted in part from the works of a variety of philosophers and resources. Yet, Ethical Skepticism distinguishes its tenets by their keenness in alerting to the methodical cynicism, abuse through provisional knowledge, and action of ignorance practiced inside modern social skepticism.
The Eight Tropes
The Ethical Skeptic is as much a student of human nature, as he is a student of science and philosophy. While he first seeks to suspend his natural biases inside the objectivity of epoché and ataraxia, he rather refocuses this Pyrrhonian virtue set into a passionate advocacy on behalf of mankind. A thirst to know and authentically investigate. An extreme distaste for social power, posing and pretense. Not solely for the sake of simply knowing; but moreover to in small part, help ease the severity of mankind’s suffering and lack of knowledge about the realm in which he finds himself unwilling participant. He contends the following Eight Tropes:
I. There is critically more we do not know, than we do know.
II. We do not know, what we do not know. Only a sub-critical component of mankind effectively grasps this.
III. Much of what we do know, is founded upon a pretense of possessing accurate and salient defining elements of the observed realm in which we reside.
IV. Even what we do know is filtered through the lens of Machiavellian desires for supreme power, unless we take action to prevent such.
V. The corrupt nature of human social intelligence is to construct elaborate contrivances of (self) deception; to constrain and expire itself inside the actions of methodical cynicism, provisional knowledge and ignorance, if left unchecked.
Methodical Cynicism – a method of cultivating ignorance through corruption of the process which regulates our social and scientific understanding. The exploitation of denial mandating a personal belief set while at the same time tendering an affectation of science.
Provisional Knowledge – the contrivance of a series of purposed provisional arguments, into a stack of probable explanations wherein we ignore the increasing unlikelihood of our conclusions and simply consider the stack of plurality to be plausible; and eventually by Neuhaus’s Law, rendering any other idea proscribed.
Ignorance – the action of blinding one’s self to an eschewed reality through a satiating and insulating culture and lexicon.
VI. All things being equal, intransigence concerning what is known presents more risk than does the unknown, known unknowns and unknown unknowns combined.
VII. Only we, along with our love and care for each other, are real.
VIII. Knowledge vetted by this understanding can be held inside a standard of acceptance.
The following ABA citations serve as a start for foundational reading on ethical skepticism. Keep in mind however that you will not find the term ethical skepticism anywhere in these works. That while these serve as foundation reading, no one resource alone will outline the purpose and true nature of Ethical Skepticism. It will take me the rest of my life just to put a scratch into the discipline at a pace of 5 blogs a month. A life spent in insatiable active curiosity concerning our realm and origins; one immersed in examination of mankind, the whole 7.4 billion of us and not just one’s home country, familiar fellows and occupation of choosing – this is the authentic journey of the skeptic.
Sextus, and Mates, Benson. The Skeptic Way: Sextus Empiricus’s Outlines of Pyrrhonism. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. Print.
Wittgenstein, Ludwig; Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1922.
Wittgenstein, Ludwig; G. E. Anscombe: Philosophical Investigations, New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1953.
Laozi, Tao Te Ching; Dàodéjīng; MIT Classic Archive: http://classics.mit.edu/Lao/taote.html
Ebel, H.F., et. al. The Art of Scientific Writing, Second, Revised and Corrected Edition. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH, 2005. Print.
Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass: Complete Poetry and Collected Prose, ed. Justin Kaplan. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, 1982. Whitman Archive ID: ppp.00707
Friedman, Thomas L. The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. Release 3.0. New York: Picador, 2007. Print.
Schragis, Steven and Frishman, Rick. 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. Avon, Massachusetts: Adams Media, 2006. Print.
Taleb, Nassim, N. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. New York: Random House, 2010, Print.
Tzu, Sun. The Art of War.
Wolfram, Steven. A New Kind of Science. Wolfram Media, Inc., 2002. Print.
Hayes, Kevin J. The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson. New York: Oxford UP, 2008. Print.
Larson, Gary. The Complete Farside. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel. 2003. Print. Box Set.
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