Contemporary skepticism (or scepticism) is loosely used to denote any questioning attitude, or some degree of doubt regarding claims that are elsewhere taken for granted. Usually meaning those who follow the evidence, versus those who are skeptical of the evidence (see:Denier) Skepticism is most controversial when it questions beliefs that are taken for granted by most of the population. For example, in the U.S. skeptics distrust claims by chiropractic, while most U.S. citizens accept them.
The word skepticism can characterise a position on a single claim, but in scholastic circles more frequently describes a lasting mind-set. Skepticism is an approach to accepting, rejecting, or suspending judgment on new information that requires the new information to be well supported by evidence. Individuals who proclaim to have a skeptical outlook are frequently called skeptics, often without regard to whether it is philosophical skepticism or empirical skepticism that they profess.
In religion, skepticism refers to 'doubt concerning basic religious principles (such as immortality, providence, and revelation).' (Merriam–Webster). Often skepticism is confused with agnosticism for the reason that the skeptic usually is also an agnostic.
In classical philosophy, skepticism' (or scepticism) is the teachings and the traits of the 'Skeptikoi', a school of philosophers of whom it was said that they 'asserted nothing but only opined.' (Liddell and Scott) In this sense, philosophical skepticism, or Pyrrhonism, is the philosophical position that one should suspend judgment in investigations.
In ordinary usage, skepticism (US) or scepticism (UK) (Greek: 'σκέπτομαι' skeptomai, to think, to look about, to consider; see also spelling differences) refers to:
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