Kenneth Smith

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, thinking, and doubt

In spite of the ancient roots of skepticism--all the way back to the radical Sextus Empiricus and beyond, to Parmenides and Zeno--"doubt" remains a constantly miscomprehended action and posture.  Doubt is a state of the suspension of both belief and disbelief:  many people assume that thinking has only two positions, positive and negative, and if you doubt something you are disputing its validity or positing the contradictory position.  This is disputation, not doubt.  Doubt per se questions the form or content of what has been asserted but it itself is a freeform state of wondering what the general parameters of the issue are and how it most rationally ought to be framed.  Such particulars as most people are familiar with--position A or not-A, conservative or liberal, Christian or atheist, etc.--are never authoritative or exhaustive alternatives for a truly thinking and creative or radical mind (determined to go for fundamental principles, not their peripheral consequences or specific applications).  They are "stock fallacies" or forced choices.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, thinking, clarity, and understanding

Sadly the very thing that strikes us as obvious always defeats our thinking about it in more penetrating ways:  just as the Romans said that "the good is the enemy of the better," so too "the self-evident is the enemy of the very process of clarification or understanding," not to mention the enemy of the "transcendent or ultimate." 

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

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