Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsThere’s the kind of philosophical scepticism which is generated by the thought that “well for all I know, this is the matrix, everything is a computer generated illusion, how can I establish that’s not true?” For all I know that is true, and indeed it seems everything would seem the same either way so I don’t really have any grounds whatsoever for thinking that these books and this chair are real, or part of some kind of elaborate illusion.

Skip to 0 minutes and 37 secondsThere's that kind of scepticism And of course, no one is truly a sceptic in that sense, We really do all think, all of us, that we live in a real world full of physical objects cats and dogs and houses and lakes and rivers and so on. and you can’t choose not to believe these things, but what you can do is ask yourself why you believe these things, and whether the basis of your belief is really a good basis? it’s worth subjecting your beliefs, including some of your most fundamental commitments, to rational, critical scrutiny. you should as an individual take stock on occasion on what you believe and why you believe it.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 secondsWe have a responsibility to do that and not just be gullible, not just passively accept whatever we’re told by those in authority or whatever And it’s that kind of scepticism that I think Humanists are interested in, that kind of methodological, rather than philosophical scepticism, where you’re taking stock, taking a step back, and thinking for yourself and just critically assessing why you believe the things you believe, are these reasonable beliefs?

What is scepticism?

In this video the philosopher Stephen Law introduces what humanists might mean when they talk about scepticism.

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This video is from the free online course:

Introducing Humanism: Non-religious Approaches to Life

Humanists UK