Within the Riddle of Skepticism is revealed the very nature and role of philosophy.
For me, nine feature traits serve to formulate the basis of an important new philosophy. Much of this set of principles revolves around the same tenets which serve to identify good science, innovative ideas and serviceable patents. Philosophy, despite the problem of philosophy as identified by Karl Popper, is no different. Venerable thoughts should exhibit certain beneficial and ethical traits in service to mankind – regardless of whether the domain context is legal, governing, mathematical, scientific or philosophical in nature. In each of my blogs, I strive to meet these expectations for my own work. I don’t always hit the mark – but I will say it is very easy to find examples of philosophy which violate each of these tenets. We all have a long way to go.
The Nine Features of Great Philosophy
An astute scientist or engineer who has filed a patent, might observe that the four elements of a sound patent appear inside this feature set (Numbers 3, 4, 5 and 9).
1. Distinct – serves in an incremental or discrete critical-path role
2. Cogent – is focused, concise and meaningful
3. Novel – has not been fairly or fully addressed before
4. Non-obvious – not readily obvious to the average philosopher
5. Leverages Prior Art – continues or fairly modifies prior philosophical work
6. Not Sophistry – neither promotes agenda nor concludes in lieu of science
7. Clarifying – decreases the entropy of knowledge and understanding
8. Useful – bears utility inside one or more specific context domains
9. Teachable – Can be effectively communicated and sustained
There are also three critical phases of philosophy, which make it a social science which extends beyond that role of mere art form. Art is burdened with the first two of these requisites. Philosophy is burdened by all three:
The three phases of philosophical genesis:
1. Apperception – the life experience, trials, perception and contemplation which serve to precipitate the principle idea itself.
2. Crafting – the crafting of its rigorous logical form and interrelation with prior art.
3. Posing – expressing it in such a way that people can understand and teach it, without compromise of its critical essence.
And that being said, I leave you now with Ethical Skepticism’s “The Riddle of Skepticism”
The Riddle of Skepticism
Through proclaiming skepticism, one has already struck the tar baby of philosophy and can no longer plead denial of their action in its contending. With the exception of man’s inalienable natural rights, philosophy, despite serving as the foundation of science – nonetheless cannot be abused to supplant nor act in lieu of the methods and conclusions of science. The discipline of philosophy, even an examination as to how we go about developing knowledge, cannot be employed as a means to bypass science and pretend to act in its place, as this is not the purpose of philosophy. Skepticism, as a critical facet of philosophy, is likewise bound by this construct.
As generals are experts at tactics of war and banks expert in the transfer and exchange of money, neither bears the right however to dictate the conduct of their citizens, nor who should be conquered nor what entities are to do with their capital. In similar analogue, an expert inside a subject of science cannot also presume to dictate to at-risk stakeholders what they must enact with regard to that science, nor tamper with the ramifications of its disposition inside the public trust. As a skeptic therefore, I cannot tell science how to do its job, but I can assert my rights as its at-risk stakeholder – even on matters which are metaphysical in nature. Science is the property of us all and it is the job of skepticism to defend that inalienable right.
The question one must ask them self, before venturing into this hall of mirrors called skepticism is not, whether or not I can establish a likelihood of being right or wrong on a matter. The question in the mind of the ethical skeptic should be “If I were wrong, would I even know it?” and “If I were wrong, would I be contributing to harm?” This is the focus of the philosophy of skepticism and not this indolent business of leveraging one’s current limited knowledge into a pretense of doubting or ‘evaluating claims’ demanded upon a silver platter. Such self deception constitutes merely cynicism and a pretense of representing science. Therefore, defending the integrity of the knowledge development process is betrayed once one starts tendering conclusions in lieu of it.
Science is the process of knowledge development and the body of accepted knowledge such process serves to precipitate. Pseudo science is a process of corrupted science method employed inside a pretense of representing science – but inside that same constraint can never be ‘a body of unacceptable knowledge’ as this violates objective logic, domain theory as well as skepticism itself. Pseudo skepticism therefore, is a process of corrupted philosophy employed inside a deciding in lieu of or pretense of representing science.
Doubt, belief, ignorance of risk, along with social pressure to accede to stacked provisional knowledge; therefore, stand as the raw materials which are spun into the fabric of the lie. This is why the ethical skeptic relies upon the suspension of these things – embodied in the philosophy of epoché. Rather than decide for himself what is true and untrue, instead he robs the lie spinner (even if himself) of the raw material he desperately needs. He is not denying knowledge, rather denying the tradecraft of the lie.
Once plurality is established inside an argument, if something indeed be false, it should eventually betray its falsification through accrued intelligence. And in being found wrong, become highly informative in the process. If we choose instead to maintain an a priori intolerance of a subject as being wrong, and then further choose to block its research through the authority of clever apothegm, then no probative critical path development (intelligence) can ever be undertaken consequently. Wrong and seeing, is a world better state than is correct and blind.
This untrod horizon of pure skepticism therefore lies fallow and misunderstood through the sleight-of-hand wherein Pyrrhonistic epoché is straw man defined as a ‘denial of knowledge’. This is philosophical domain ineptness – and creates the false dilemma that methodical cynicism is therefore the only bifurcated alternative offered to the seeker truth. Much of our false skepticism and scientific pretense today stems from a misunderstanding of or ignorance around these key principles.
~ The Ethical Skeptic
epoché vanguards gnosis