Socrates contra dogmatism, skepticism, and agnosticism

Andrew James Taggart, Practical Philosopher, Ph.D.

How, in all things, does one steer clear of dogmatism without being a skeptic or becoming an agnostic? The dogmatist is anyone who claims to know for certain, the skeptic (of the kind I have in view) being doubtful about what we can know for sure. If we are neither dogmatists nor skeptics, then aren’t we committed to being the agnostic or a Rortyian ironist, the kind of person, that is, remaining lukewarm or caring not a wit about matters of truth?

The dogmatist affirms the certitude of his statements. One way he remains dogmatic is by avoiding the questioning or testing of his beliefs. Specifically, he may unwittingly subscribe to some version of the Myth of the Given whether it be intuition in Romanticism, the sense datum in empiricist epistemology, the actualizing tendency in humanistic psychology, a miracle in Christianity, or some other. Thus immunized from doubt, the dogmatist can, when asked…

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