June 14, 2008

Skepticism vs Cynicism

From the American Heritage Dictionary:

skep·ti·cism, also scep·ti·cism
(skěp'tĭ-sĭz'əm) n.

  1. A doubting or questioning attitude or state of mind; dubiety. See Synonyms at uncertainty.
  2. Philosophy The ancient school of Pyrrho of Elis that stressed the uncertainty of our beliefs in order to oppose dogmatism.
  3. The doctrine that absolute knowledge is impossible, either in a particular domain or in general.
  4. A methodology based on an assumption of doubt with the aim of acquiring approximate or relative certainty.
  5. Doubt or disbelief of religious tenets.

cyn·i·cism
(sĭn'ĭ-sĭz'əm) n.

  1. An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others: the public cynicism aroused by governmental scandals.
  2. A scornfully or jadedly negative comment or act: "She arrived at a philosophy of her own, all made up of her private notations and cynicisms" (Henry James).
  3. Cynicism The beliefs of the ancient Cynics.

I am a skeptic trying desperately not to become a cynic.

See also: The Skeptics Guide to the Universe and Skepchick (Rebecca rocks with this post wherein she addresses the commenters on the Skepchick blog and reveals the Comment of the Week)

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