quotations about skepticism
Skepticism, like chastity, should not be relinquished too readily.
GEORGE SANTAYANA, attributed, Business Wit & Wisdom
Skepticism literally means a thoughtful inquiry, the looking at a problem in a disinterested spirit, the surveying of a question from many sides. In this sense it is the very essence of philosophy and science.
JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, The Field of Philosophy
Skepticism, riddling the faith of yesterday, prepared the way for the faith of tomorrow.
ROMAIN ROLLAND, attributed, The Wisdom of the Great
Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief, in denying them. Some minds are incapable of skepticism.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON, "Montaigne; or, the Skeptic", Representative Men
You cannot knock a man down who will not stand up, nor argue with a skeptic.
AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought
You must develop the habit of skepticism, not swallow every piece of superstition you are told by witch-doctors and professors.
CHINUA ACHEBE, Anthills of the Savannah
Profound skepticism is favorable to conventions, because it doubts that the criticism of conventions is any truer than they are.
GEORGE SANTAYANA, "On My Friendly Critics", Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies
Everyone, including skeptics, will generate delusions that match their views. That is how a normal and healthy brain works. Skeptics are not exempt from self-delusion.
SCOTT ADAMS, God's Debris: A Thought Experiment
Skepticism is the sadism of embittered souls.
EMIL CIORAN, History & Utopia
It is the tension between creativity and skepticism that has produced the stunning and unexpected findings of science.
CARL SAGAN, Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science
Skepticism is the first step towards truth.
DENIS DIDEROT, Pensées philosophiques
I conceive the skeptical writers to be a set of men whose business it is to pick holes in the fabric of knowledge wherever it is weak and faulty; and when these places are properly repaired, the whole building becomes more firm and solid than it was formerly.
THOMAS REID, The Works of Thomas Reid
Skepticism has never founded empires, established principles, or changed the world's heart; the great doers in history have always been men of faith.
EDWIN HUBBELL CHAPIN, Characters in the Gospels: Illustrating Phases of Character at the Present Day
I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I'll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.
ISAAC ASIMOV, The Roving Mind
The path to sound credence is through the thick forest of skepticism.
GEORGE JEAN NATHAN, Materia Critica
When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also admit that some things are much more nearly certain than others. It is much more nearly certain that we are assembled here tonight than it is that this or that political party is in the right. Certainly there are degrees of certainty, and one should be very careful to emphasize that fact, because otherwise one is landed in an utter skepticism, and complete skepticism would, of course, be totally barren and completely useless.
BERTRAND RUSSELL, Am I an Atheist or an Agnostic?
I am too much of a skeptic to deny the possibility of anything.
THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY, Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley
Skepticism: the mark and even the pose of the educated mind.
JOHN DEWEY, The Essential Dewey: Pragmatism, Education, Democracy
Skeptics are generally ready to believe anything, provided is it only sufficiently improbable; it is at matters of fact that such people stumble.
KARL LUDWIG VON KNEBEL, attributed, Day's Collacon
Skeptics always stumble at truth.
PIERRE BIZOT, attributed, Day's Collacon