Sacramentum Mundi Online

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(1,160 words)

1. Concept. The term “scepticism” in its classical sense comes from σϰέπτομαι, “to inspect”. One may distinguish between total (radical, absolute) scepticism and partial (moderate, relative) scepticism, the latter appearing as religious, ethical, aesthetic, etc., scepticism; there is also methodical scepticism or methodical doubt.

2. History. A partial scepticism appears in the West as early as the pre-Socratic philosophers (Xenophanes, Parmenides) and was built up to one of its first high-points by the Sophists, as a criticism of the naiv…

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Werner Post, “Scepticism”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 30 November 2023 <>
First published online: 2016

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