Doubt

Attano said,

Where would philosophy be, if it weren’t for doubt?

religion

ha! probably true.

old joke:

philosophy = unanswered questions

religion = unquestioned answers

Without doubt, philosophy might be something like poetry.

i think doubt is essential to a lot of poetry (obv not all)

Isn’t doubt just a method for determining truth?

So no philosophers have “a philosophy” because they only ever doubt anything they think up?
Or rather, they only have a philosophy of doubt, forever doomed to be mere Descartes clones…

Quite clearly Attano is just being rhetorical, implying that doubt has a lot to do with philosophy.
But then so does any reflection or evaluation… which you get in any study that involves critical thought, whether that’s science, history, or whatever.

Though I’d say that philosophy doubts most, yet is not limited to doubt.

Doubt has been structured, away from the concrete and further into the abstract with the refinement of such mental gymnastic abilities. We can analyse our thoughts with increasing levels of intimacy, and be said to be increasingly philosophical as we do so.

Another thing associated with philosophy is generalisation. The more we retreat into the abstract, looking for patterns and order, the more we evaluate general “truths”, such that we can say increasingly broad things with increasing applicability.

Though at the same time, it is a philosopher’s duty to remain critical of his generalisations, his methods, his doubts - such that he does not lose touch with the concrete, become too entrenched in dogma, or remain so critical that nothing ever comes from his introspections. Plenty of philosophers never get to the point where they can sufficiently critique their critical thinking, or doubt their doubt - they accomplish nothing and philosophy gets a bad name (since non-constructiveness is obviously objectively bad lol).

no it’s not really a method for determining truth, though it can be part of a method for determining truth.
for example, some degree of doubt is implied by the scientific method – if there was no doubt there wouldn’t be any reason to test hypotheses and such.

Right, I meant one method among others. I guess you’re calling that “part of a method”.

We agree.

But isn’t doubt, for a pragmatist or any other philosopher, not the start of questioning reality?

If I ‘doubt’ that ‘reality’ exists, for example, am I not then spurred on to ‘prove’ I’m either correct or incorrect? Does science ‘prove’ reality exists. Or does science only demonstrate how what we see and experience as reality can exist?

I think I’ve changed my own subject. Either that or there aren’t many pragmatists here.

Does philosophy start with doubt? In other words, do we, or do we not, try to present ‘truth’ in order to resolve ‘doubt?’ That would make ‘doubt’ the spur on the flank of the ‘philosophy’ horse, wouldn’t it?

Doesn’t ‘doubt’ lead to questioning? Of course it does! But does ‘doubt’ lead to untrue answers? It often does, particularly when answers are arrived at through intuition or ‘soul-searching,’ which really only give us the answers we want to hear.

Is it possible to break out of ‘doubt’ into ‘reality?’ Or do we doubt reality too much?

Isn’t that what of philosophy is becoming anymore with it’s pedagogy and demagogy? :laughing:

For some reason alot of modern philosophy claims to possess a great deal of certainties. :sunglasses:

It would seem that one thing all religions have in common is the all “lead one into a belief”
Philosophy “can lead one into a belief”

IMO:
Only a slight difference it would seem.
What is most often an issue is Organized Religion
Most every religion people know today is Organized so people tend to think organization is crucial to being a religion.
Though actually atheism would seem a religion in that it does “lead one into a belief” —the belief that God does not exist.
The difference that causes resistance to the thought is that atheism is not typically organized…
However it seems to be latching on to science such as perhaps to lead science into being its organizer…?..I don’t know…

But then we have that due to the typicality of standardization, and thus the strictures of “profesionalism” Philosophy is being formed into an organized state.
and thus it is forming into what is much the same as a religion outside only that it does not require as many particular beliefs…mainly the necessary to anything such as belief in speaking in words…belief in not killing each other at random moments…etc…

I don’t think one has to doubt to do philosophy or be a pragmatist. One could simply try to figure out what is going on and what labels work best for ‘things’.

I think doubt is used by most people, including philosophers and pragmatists, and certainly can spur philosophical investigations.

Some are spurred on, some stay right there, some figure they will doubt whatever the end result of some ‘proof’ would be.

No. That is an axiom of science.

I am not sure it does this either. In fact I doubt it. Science basically is a huge set of explanations of what happens when one does X (and Y…). From these models of what is out there or is going on are shaped. But why the whole thing ‘can’ exist, is not something science has answered.

It seems many confuse the word doubt and the word questioning…i find doubt to be thinking something is unlikely, or at the worst thinking there is no way something can be true…
One can question whether they believe or not…

Good point. I tend to take doubt as reactive and more likely passive. It places the onus on the other side, whoever is assertion some potential truth. This is why I think a philosopher can do without doubt. They can propose a system. Likely they doubt ‘on their own time’, but what we get from them may look certain and completely absent doubt.
Questioning seems more active. One can even agree with an assertion and question it. Also some philosophers begin with question and then seek to answer it, which comes off as different from doubt.

I have seen many tell a textual-theist that doubt is ok wherein they think you mean it is ok not to believe, and then think that to question means to doubt…

I am sure there a number of ways the terms are used. ‘Question’ can mean question authority, which can be a big no no.
It seems like savvy theists understand that both questions and doubt are likely to occur and should not be punished explicitly or implicitly.

Though I have seen it explained away in various ways, it seems pretty clear that even Jesus questioned authority on the cross.

I have no confusion about the distinction between the meanings of ‘doubt’ and ‘questioning’–I believe ‘doubt’ leads to ‘questioning’ and I believe that to be true in both the sciences and philosophy. Doubt, then, would mean–“Gee, I wonder if…” and questioning would be “Let’s see if we can find out…” That is, to me, a basis for creative thinking, that leads to everything from tool-making to rocket science. Granted, I haven’t thought about all the problems that could be inherent in my statement, that’s why I posted what I posted–to get other peoples’ thoughts. And I appreciate the contributions y’all have made. I find ‘value’ in people’s thoughts–I also realize I need to make my thoughts clear, which I’m trying to do. I just don’t always have a lot of time.

I would say the “gee, I wonder if…” is not of doubt as it can apply to what is believed as well as what is not…perhaps it is more a natural questioning…a part of our instintual make up… perhaps what God distilled in us if you think that way…

one can say
“I wonder if dogs are black.”
or
“I wonder if dogs are black?”

Really they are both questions. one a question the other what you might call a Rhetorical Statement…

that can just as well have been posed: “Are dogs black?”