Our FAQ states that this site

is not for philosophical discussions about skepticism

We got some questions that were about skepticism itself, so I think there is some disagreement on whether those should be on-topic here as well. There was some debate on Area 51 about that part, and I think we should continue that here. There is still the possibility to expand the scope of the site, but we should consider carefully if that would improve our site.

Should discussions about skepticism stay off-topic or should we allow them here?

  • 1
    It appears the debate did not seek to resolve defining in a practical manner what "philosophical discussions about skepticism" are. Could you please lay out what exactly you mean by this phrase so that we all know what specifically is being discussed?
    – mfg
    Commented Feb 25, 2011 at 20:50

1 Answer 1


I for one posted a question that is likely being alluded to here.

To stay on track with this question, it seems that there is a misunderstanding of what constitutes a question "about skepticism" and a question about methodology. (I have sussed out the difference from my original by an edit.) Since no one appears to have spelled out what "about skepticism" means, I will make an attempt.

Questions "about skepticism" involve identity questions (who are skeptics), community questions (who are the major figures, movements), and personality questions (would a skeptic dis/believe X). These would all lead to over-generalized, or otherwise discussion oriented answers that do not fit the format. Note, the problem with about skepticism is that it relies on identity issues and this is why it is a community nightmare in terms of GTKY and social detritus that clogs up good questions.

On the other hand are questions that engage skepticism as a thought model, or pseudo-discipline. These seem appropriate (if not vital) so that everyone is (a) aware of ways of challenging/criticizing beliefs and (b) dispensing with inherited assumptions. They are key in evaluating the method of skepticism.

For instance, in the linked question above, the question is raised of how do we evaluate the authoritativeness of scientists whose labs receive money from entities with vested interests in a specific outcome. I.E. Should you trust scientist whose water sample survey was paid for by the coal company just upstream from the river that is being tested? Evaluating method has little or nothing to do with about skepticism in terms of why about skepticism questions are bad.

This seems critical to challenging standing beliefs. However, it leads to another question; should applied skepticism challenge it's methodology or accept constructive criticism?

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