Infinite regression of skepticism

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# Due to practical reasons, we tend to accept things that are demonstrated [[beyond a reasonable doubt]]. If a claim is 99.9% likely, one can go ahead and accept it, and be virtually guaranteed to be correct.  
 
# Due to practical reasons, we tend to accept things that are demonstrated [[beyond a reasonable doubt]]. If a claim is 99.9% likely, one can go ahead and accept it, and be virtually guaranteed to be correct.  
  
[[Science]] and practical [[reality]] prevent us from have access to absolute knowledge, so we have to make reasonable assessments based on the information we get.
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[[Science]] and practical [[reality]] prevent us from having access to absolute knowledge, so we have to make reasonable assessments based on the information we get.
  
 
Thus, some claims require ''so little'' skepticism, we may as well accept them, because these claims are so normal that it'd actually require a [[burden of proof]] to demonstrate that they ''don't'' happen. For instance, if a person claims to have $1, it's pretty safe to take the person's word for it. If that same person claims to have $100 Billion, then he/she is going to need ''a lot'' of evidence to support the claim.
 
Thus, some claims require ''so little'' skepticism, we may as well accept them, because these claims are so normal that it'd actually require a [[burden of proof]] to demonstrate that they ''don't'' happen. For instance, if a person claims to have $1, it's pretty safe to take the person's word for it. If that same person claims to have $100 Billion, then he/she is going to need ''a lot'' of evidence to support the claim.

Revision as of 16:56, 28 December 2011

The common objection to the concept of skepticism is that one would have to be skeptical of skepticism, and skeptical of being skeptical of skepticism, and skeptical of being skeptical of being skeptical of ... - into an infinite regression. Since that would be impossible to achieve, skepticism is thus invalid. With skepticism invalidated, faith is therefore the only path left that could be valid, and the objector could be attempting to make a case for solipsism.

Counter-apologetics

Two important aspects of skepticism and acceptance should be noted:

  1. The amount of skepticism is directly proportional to the outlandishness of the claim.
  2. Due to practical reasons, we tend to accept things that are demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt. If a claim is 99.9% likely, one can go ahead and accept it, and be virtually guaranteed to be correct.

Science and practical reality prevent us from having access to absolute knowledge, so we have to make reasonable assessments based on the information we get.

Thus, some claims require so little skepticism, we may as well accept them, because these claims are so normal that it'd actually require a burden of proof to demonstrate that they don't happen. For instance, if a person claims to have $1, it's pretty safe to take the person's word for it. If that same person claims to have $100 Billion, then he/she is going to need a lot of evidence to support the claim.

Example

  • I am skeptical that my files on my computer are in danger of being lost, if the hard drive dies, so I make a backup of the files.
  • I am skeptical that my backup could be destroyed too, so I make a second backup, and place it in a firesafe.
  • I am skeptical that my second backup could be stolen as my house burns down, so I make a third backup and store it in another building.
  • I am skeptical that all three of my current backups, on magnetic drives, and susceptible to EMP blasts, so I make optical backups of all of them.

At some point, the files are so well protected that one is becoming paranoid. A normal person reaches a point where he/she realizes the files are safe, and there's no point to being additionally skeptical about their safety.

Conclusion

In summary, since skepticism is directly proportional to the unlikeliness of the claim, the regression of skepticism subsides to a point where it stops, fairly quickly.

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