Doubt and Scepticism

Uncertainty often arises when people lack precise knowledge about specific topics because others have influenced their understanding. People's skepticism contributes to the uncertainties. Sceptics were ancient scholars who referred to themselves as investigators. As a result, the ancient doubt is a way of life in which people are devoted to inquiry. They believed that as long as knowledge was not gained, the skeptics could not guarantee the veracity of the topic. As a result of the existence of doubt in several subjects, ancient philosophers developed their contentious goal of living a life without belief. According to Plato, scepticism arises when people believe that they have vast knowledge about something, but it turns out that they do not know anything when they are asked to give reasons why they think what they see is rationally satisfactory. Quoting Plato, he says that, no one is wiser than Socrates; however, he does not see himself wise especially when he inquires about the reality of the oracle’s declarations nor his perception (Plato & Grube 45). Socrates, therefore, recognizes the need to figure out the consistency of both the Oracle’s pronunciation and his self-perception. To figure out clearly, Socrates holds dialogues with different groups of experts in Athens, politicians and many other subjects who may have been helpful in answering his pursuit (Plato & Grube 54). After all the talks with the various people, Socrates found out that all who thought that they had vast knowledge about large and essential things, knew nothing about what they thought they knew. According to Socrates, his subjects turned to be unaware of their lack of knowledge about what they thought they knew. In the course of narrating his dialogues with others, Socrates said something enigmatic (Plato, Emlyn-Jones & Preddy 42). He said that he knew that he did not know anything. His statement proves that scepticism arises when people don't have explicit knowledge about great things as portrayed in Plato's philosophy. However, when the account is in the context of Socrates, it appears that he was not sceptic since he admitted that he was not knowledgeable about great things. It is therefore essential to advocate for own view as well as that of other people since such approach helps find out what an individual does not know.

Another aspect of sceptical thought starts with the inquiry about the nature of philosophical analysis. Plato formulates a puzzle which inquires about the possibility of an investigation. Plato admits that there cannot be an investigation of what is known neither to what is not known. His reasons as to why research cannot be conducted on what is already known is because what is supposed to be investigated is already known and the findings of the investigation to be undertaken are also known. In the latter scenario, individuals would not know what to look for in their study, and they would even not know if they found the required findings if they conduct their investigation (Plato, Emlyn-Jones, & William Preddy 57). Therefore, according to Socrates, there will be no room to investigate anything. The argument of investigation is eristic thus drawing attention to the ideas which sophists have put forward.

Early modern philosophers conducted their undertakings within a theological framed tradition that was significantly started by St. Augustine. St. Augustine is closely conversant to academic scepticism. Even though Augustine was not sceptical, he integrated distinctively sceptical moves in his mind. Augustine’s thoughts about scepticism have had a long-standing effect on the history of theology and science (Castagnoli 56). The effect is seen when Galileo Galilei cited Augustine in his defence against the charge of his physics being against the Bible. According to Augustine, the background for caring much about what an individual knows is the pressing inquiry of whether one can know God, his existence or what his properties are to mention a few.

Augustine continued and addressed the importance of distinguishing various kinds of knowledge which include rational, sensory and testimony. For instance, if an individual knows God, then he/she do so through one of the knowledge. Furthermore, Augustine apprehends of what he refers to an inner understanding. It is clear that thinking that one has no conscious, rational knowledge and testimony knowledge, he/she stills know that he/she has thoughts, is judgemental and is alive (Castagnoli 64).

Scepticism is a generative element in Plato’s and Augustine philosophy. It is clear that all knowledge arises from inquiries of things that one does not know nor understand. In Plato’s work, it is seen that people believe they know about a great thing, but once they are asked to give reasons why they think they know something, it turns out that they do not know anything. It is therefore evident that, until one inquires about a matter he/she would not know the truth of the matter unless he/she makes a step of inquiring.

Despite Augustine’s failure to build his point of scepticism, it is still clear that uncertainty and doubt are generative elements. In the context of Augustine, scepticism questions the possibility of certainty. Augustine believes that God created humans and decided what individuals should know (Augustine, Pusey & Benham 38). For Augustine, he thought that what was in mind was a channel to direct a person to God. It is therefore clear that Augustine believed skepticism was there to help people know and understand God.

Scepticism and doubt is a vital aspect in the pursuit of knowledge. Without scepticism, people would have been in the dark when it comes to different matters and the existence of things. Scepticism and doubt have enabled the investigation of essential issues including theology. Through inquiring and investigating what one does not know, people have been able to get clear and excellent knowledge about what they did not understand. It is therefore evident that scepticism is essential in the generation of ideas and improvement of people's awareness.

In conclusion, it is evident that Plato's and Augustine arguments for the commitment to establish the absolute has helped shape the social constructs of people through gain of knowledge of what people did not know. The obligations are premised on the urge to inquire for self-examination and evaluation of the ideologies of the reality of nature. In this work, it is seen that both Socrates and Augustine rest on their knowledge of knowing that they were a sceptic and doubted their expertise about great things. The article has addressed skepticism aspects in Plato's and Augustine's work. Furthermore, reasons as to why doubt and skepticism are generative elements are also described. The necessity of uncertainty in the pursuit of knowledge is also discussed in this article. It is therefore clear that skepticism and doubt are the foundation for gaining experience about what is not known precisely.

Works Cited

Augustine, Thomas, E B. Pusey, and William Benham. The Confessions of St. Augustine. New York: Cosimo Classics, 2009. Print.

Castagnoli, Luca. Ancient Self-Refutation: The Logic and History of the Self-Refutation Argument from Democritus to Augustine. , 2015. Print.

Plato, , and G M. A. Grube. The Trail and Death of Socrates. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1975. Print.

Plato, , C J. Emlyn-Jones, and William Preddy. Republic: Volume 6. Books 6-10. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2013. Print.

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