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Scepticism

noun
1.
The disbelief in any claims of ultimate knowledge.  Synonyms: agnosticism, skepticism.






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"Scepticism" Quotes from Famous Books



... anything with certainty (which was quite true for their time), that men can know nothing at all, and that nothing is true or false: "Nothing exists," said one of them, "and if it did exist, we could not know it." These professors of scepticism were called sophists. Some of them were at the same ...
— History Of Ancient Civilization • Charles Seignobos

... undismayed by her husband's jeering attitude of scepticism, "that you will win in the end. Yes, you will; because it is right: that you should. I am doing my part, not only to help you; but, too, because it is right. We owe a duty not only to ourselves, but to those people as well.... Even you ...
— Making People Happy • Thompson Buchanan

... interests; and the Catholic religion had a profound influence on the economic life of the Middle Ages.... The constant presentations to the general mind and conscience of Christian ideas, the dogmatic bases of which were as yet scarcely assailed by scepticism, must have had a powerful effect in moralising life.'[3] According to Dr. Cunningham: 'The mediaeval doctrine of price was not a theory intended to explain the phenomena of society, but it was laid down as the basis of rules which should control the ...
— An Essay on Mediaeval Economic Teaching • George O'Brien

... that both the actions and the writings of contemporaries justified a considerable amount of scepticism regarding the purity of Platonic affections. The words and lives of many illustrious persons gave colour to what Segni stated in his History of Florence, and what Savonarola found it necessary to urge upon the ...
— The Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti • John Addington Symonds

... 'Le Chat Maigre'. Success in this field was yet decidedly doubtful when 'Le Crime de Sylvestre Bonnard' appeared in 1881. It at once established his reputation; 'Sylvestre Bonnard', as 'Le Lys Rouge' later, was crowned by the French Academy. These novels are replete with fine irony, benevolent scepticism and piquant turns, and will survive the greater part of romances now read in France. The list of Anatole France's works in fiction is a large one. The titles of nearly all of them, arranged in chronological order, are as follows: 'Les Desirs de Jean Seyvien (1882); Abeille (1883); ...
— The Red Lily, Complete • Anatole France

... never fully understand persons with whom we are generally in close contact, until we have been separated from them. He was able to apply himself to business again, and to study, although now with much less than his former ardor; the scepticism for which both his education and his experience of life had paved the way, had taken lasting hold upon his mind. He became exceedingly indifferent to every thing. Four years passed by, and he felt strong enough to return ...
— Liza - "A nest of nobles" • Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev

... threatened their monopoly. Such opposition has always been an incident of progress; and even in this new country, receptive as it was to new ideas, the Washingtons, the Fitches, the Fultons, the Coopers, and the Whitneys, who saw visions and dreamed dreams, all had to face scepticism and hostility from those whom they ...
— The Paths of Inland Commerce - A Chronicle of Trail, Road, and Waterway, Volume 21 in The - Chronicles of America Series • Archer B. Hulbert

... world—new generations rising, and order and harmony established, and a system of life and beauty produced, as it were out of chaos and death; proving the infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, of the GREAT CAUSE OF ALL BEING!" Here we cannot trace any co-mixture of science and scepticism, and in vain shall we look for the spawn of infidel doctrine. The same excellent feeling breathes throughout Salmonia, one of the most delightful labours of leisure we have ever seen. Not a few of the most beautiful phenomena of Nature are here lucidly explained, yet ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction—Volume 13 - Index to Vol. 13 • Various

... and he shivered. Then he added to himself, with the pride of the new scepticism he had learnt from the factory hands: "There is no such thing; only women believe in such things. It was some ...
— Orpheus in Mayfair and Other Stories and Sketches • Maurice Baring

... Sir Thomas Brown is content "to carry a wary eye" in reading "Paulus Venetus"; but others of our countrymen in the last century express strong doubts whether he ever was in Tartary or China.[22] Marden's edition might well have extinguished the last sparks of scepticism.[23] Hammer meant praise in calling Polo "der Vater orientalischer Hodogetik," in spite of the uncouthness of the eulogy. But another grave German writer, ten years after Marsden's publication, put forth in a serious ...
— The Travels of Marco Polo Volume 1 • Marco Polo and Rustichello of Pisa

... hero's feigning to be insane from disappointment in love, and we are shown his immediate success in convincing Polonius. Let us call this an advance of A. The next scene shows the King's great uneasiness about Hamlet's melancholy, and his scepticism as to Polonius's explanation of its cause: advance of B. Hamlet completely baffles Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who have been sent to discover his secret, and he arranges for the test of the play-scene: advance of A. But immediately ...
— Shakespearean Tragedy - Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth • A. C. Bradley

... tenor. In each generation there have been chemists among the leaders of their science who have refused to admit that the so-called elements are really elements at all in any final sense, and who have sought eagerly for proof which might warrant their scepticism. The first bit of evidence tending to support this view was furnished by an English physician, Dr. William Prout, who in 1815 called attention to a curious relation to be observed between the atomic weight of the various elements. Accepting the figures ...
— A History of Science, Volume 4(of 5) • Henry Smith Williams

... so-called laws of nature, such as gratitude or the love of our neighbour, were in fact contrary to the natural passions of man, and powerless to restrain them. Nor had religion rescued man by the interposition of a Divine will. Nothing better illustrates the daring with which the new scepticism was to break through the theological traditions of the older world than the pitiless logic with which Hobbes assailed the very theory of revelation. "To say God hath spoken to man in a dream, is no more than to say man dreamed that God hath spoken to him." ...
— History of the English People, Volume VI (of 8) - Puritan England, 1642-1660; The Revolution, 1660-1683 • John Richard Green

... long been the fashion among the followers of that reaction which Coleridge led and Carlyle has spread and popularised, to dwell exclusively on the coldness and hardness, the excess of scepticism and the defect of enthusiasm, that are supposed to have characterised the eighteenth century. Because the official religion of the century both in England and France was lifeless and mechanical, it has been taken for granted that the level of thought ...
— Critical Miscellanies (Vol. 2 of 3) - Essay 3: Condorcet • John Morley

... been. It is of course possible to hold that the story of the dream is pure fiction, and that the lines which Baeda translated were not Caedmon's at all. But there is really nothing to justify this extreme of scepticism. As the hymn is said to have been Caedmon's first essay in verse, its lack of poetic merit is rather an argument for its genuineness than against it. Whether Baeda's narrative be historical or not—and it involves nothing either miraculous ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 4 - "Bulgaria" to "Calgary" • Various

... the reply. I ran to the door and got her to stop, and introduced her to another Christian worker who spent over an hour in conversation and prayer with her. He visited her and her husband; and, in the course of a week, that intelligent lady cast off her scepticism and came out an active Christian. It took time, tact, and prayer; but if a person of this class is honest we ought to deal with such an one as the Master ...
— The Way to God and How to Find It • Dwight Moody

... do not rouse me. Be reasonable, little darling. You doubt my love? Well, I ought not to wonder at your scepticism after all you have heard. But you can feel how my heart throbs against your cheek, and if you will look into my eyes, you will be convinced that I am fearfully in earnest, when I beg you to be my wife to- morrow—to-day—now! ...
— St. Elmo • Augusta J. Evans

... has passed through the wilderness of men, and whenever the pigmies stepped in one of those, they felt dilate within the breast somewhat that promised nobler stature and purer blood. They were impelled to forsake their evil ways of decrepit scepticism and covetousness of corruptible possessions. Convictions flowed in upon them. They, too, raised the cry: God is living, now, to-day; and all beings are brothers, for they are his children. Simple words enough, ...
— Woman in the Ninteenth Century - and Kindred Papers Relating to the Sphere, Condition - and Duties, of Woman. • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... more excited their wonderment, by recapitulating the feats of Archimedes. As the narrative proceeded, one restrained his scepticism, till he was almost ready to burst, and then vociferated, "Silas, that's a lie!" "D'ye think so?" said Mr. C. smiling, and went on with his story. The idea, however, got amongst them, that Silas's fancy was on the stretch, when Mr. ...
— Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey • Joseph Cottle

... Rashbehari Babu's scepticism vanished, and he assented to his nephew's whispered hint that they need not ask Jogesh to produce the barabharan. He, however, insisted on satisfying them as to its worth and placed in their hands a ...
— Tales of Bengal • S. B. Banerjea

... and theological theories of Dury, Hartlib, and Comenius, see Richard H. Popkin, "The Third Force in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy, Scepticism, Science, and Biblical Prophecy," Nouvelles de la Republique des Lettres (Spring 1983), and Charles Webster, The Great Instauration: Science, Medicine, and Reform, 1626-1660 (London: ...
— The Reformed Librarie-Keeper (1650) • John Dury

... and she said, in a low tone, "I am glad to say that I have lost my German scepticism in ...
— Barriers Burned Away • E. P. Roe

... taken sides with Anytus and Meletus in the impeachment of Socrates. A popular author must, in a thorough-going way, take the accepted maxims for granted. He must suppress any whimsical fancy for applying the Socratic elenchus, or any other engine of criticism, scepticism, or verification, to those sentiments or current precepts of morals, which may in truth be very equivocal and may be much neglected in practice, but which the public opinion of his time requires to be treated in theory ...
— Critical Miscellanies, Volume I (of 3) - Essay 4: Macaulay • John Morley

... nothing to do with facts of science. On the other hand, the ancient and mediaeval logic retained a continuous influence over it, and a form like that of mathematics was easily impressed upon it; the principle of ancient philosophy which is most apparent in it is scepticism; we must doubt nearly every traditional or received notion, that we may hold fast one or two. The being of God in a personal or impersonal form was a mental necessity to the first thinkers of modern times: from this alone all other ideas could be deduced. There had been an obscure presentiment ...
— Meno • Plato

... of my senses; and seldom called up the subject at all but with wonder at extent of human credulity, and a smile at the vivid force of the imagination which I hereditarily possessed. Neither was this species of scepticism likely to be diminished by the character of the life I led at Eton. The vortex of thoughtless folly into which I there so immediately and so recklessly plunged, washed away all but the froth of my past hours, engulfed at once every solid or serious impression, and left to memory only the veriest ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 2 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... was turned into wine; and, on the other hand, it is asserted that a man or a woman "levitated" to the ceiling, floated about there, and finally sailed out by the window. And it is assumed that the pardonable scepticism, with which most scientific men receive these statements, is due to the fact that they feel themselves justified in denying the possibility of any such metamorphosis of water, or of any such levitation, because such events are contrary to the laws of nature. So the question of the preacher ...
— Collected Essays, Volume V - Science and Christian Tradition: Essays • T. H. Huxley

... Croesus did more—he took a precaution so extreme, that if his piety had not been placed beyond all doubt by his extraordinary munificence to the temples, he might have drawn upon himself the suspicion of a guilty scepticism. Before he would send to ask advice respecting the project itself, he resolved to test the credit of some of the chief surrounding oracles—Delphi, Dodona, Branchidae near Miletus, Amphiaraus at Thebes, Trophonius at Labadeia, and Ammon in Libya. His envoys started from Sardis on the same day, and ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol. 1 • Various

... wires the stars dipped at anchor in the cloudless sky. Down below, in one of the dark, empty streets, Police-constable Bennett turned the handles of doors and tested the fastenings of windows, with a complete scepticism as to the value of his labours. Gradually, he was coming to see that he was not one of the few who are born to rule—to control—their simple neighbours, ambitious only for breath. Where, if he had possessed ...
— The Ghost Ship • Richard Middleton

... falls into sub-divisions; during its middle part in particular, progress and triumphant romanticism, not yet largely attacked by scientific scepticism, had created a prevailing atmosphere of somewhat passive sentiment and optimism both in society and in literature which has given to the adjective 'mid-Victorian' a very definite denotation. The adjective and its period are commonly spoken of with contempt in our own day by those persons ...
— A History of English Literature • Robert Huntington Fletcher

... the individual as tolerable as possible here and now. Their philosophy, like Stoicism, was a philosophy of resignation; it was thoroughly pessimistic and therefore incompatible with the idea of Progress. Lucretius himself allows an underlying feeling of scepticism as to the value of civilisation occasionally to escape. [Footnote: His eadem sunt omnia semper (iii. 945) is the constant refrain ...
— The Idea of Progress - An Inquiry Into Its Origin And Growth • J. B. Bury

... defiant scepticism, and yet conscious of an unusual interest and expectation, George Brand drove up to Curzon Street on the following evening. As he jumped out of his hansom, he inadvertently ...
— Sunrise • William Black

... ways, for Marie was clever and thoughtful. In after years Beth looked back on those Sunday afternoons with a shadow of regret, for her feet found a sweeter, holier path. Marie prided herself on a little tinge of scepticism, but they rarely touched on that ground. The twilight shadows gathered about the old piano in the corner, and the pictures grew dimmer on the wall, and Marie would play soft love-songs on her guitar, and sometime Beth would recite ...
— Beth Woodburn • Maud Petitt

... experience of the world has confirmed the fact, beyond the possibility of scepticism, that men cannot discover and establish a perfect rule of human duty. Whatever may be said of the many excellent maxims expressed by different individuals in different ages and nations, yet it is true that no system ...
— Conversion of a High Priest into a Christian Worker • Meletios Golden

... fruits of liberty are wisdom, moderation, and mercy. Its immediate effects are often atrocious crimes, conflicting errors, scepticism on points the most clear, dogmatism on points the most mysterious. It is just at this crisis that its enemies love to exhibit it. They pull down the scaffolding from the half-finished edifice: they point to the flying dust, the falling bricks, the comfortless ...
— An Adventure With A Genius • Alleyne Ireland

... speculative metaphysics; for them logical thought necessarily led to pantheism and determinism. In France, after reaching its climax in Voltaire, it ended in materialism, atheism, and fatalism; and in England, where it had developed the empiricism of Locke, it came to grief in the scepticism of Hume. If we can know only our impressions, then rational theology, cosmology, and psychology are impossible, and it is futile to philosophize about God, the world, and the human soul. Consistently ...
— The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: - Masterpieces of German Literature Translated into English, Volume 5. • Various

... Mackintosh spent hours proving that the things which the padre says he saw could not possibly have happened I should not like to call any padre a liar; but some of the Rev. Tim's stories were rather tall, and the doctor's scepticism always goaded him to fresh flights ...
— Our Casualty And Other Stories - 1918 • James Owen Hannay, AKA George A. Birmingham

... pious? In the world of to-day, however, it is a kind of courage to dare to show one's piety outwardly before a world of scepticism and indifference. I should like to defend ...
— Debts of Honor • Maurus Jokai

... pinchers pincers plow plough poney pony potatoe potato quere query recognize recognise reindeer raindeer reinforce re-enforce restive restiff ribbon riband rince rinse sadler saddler sallad salad sceptic skeptic sceptical skeptical scepticism skepticism segar cigar seignor seignior serjeant sergeant shoar shore soothe sooth staunch stanch streight straight suitor suiter sythe scythe tatler tattler thresh thrash thwak thwack tipler tippler tranquility ...
— English Grammar in Familiar Lectures • Samuel Kirkham

... Apostle John reports that a soldier pierced Christ's side with a spear. But the authors of the three synoptic Gospels do not mention this wounding with the spear. Neither do they allude to the other story told by John, as to the scepticism of Thomas, and his putting his hand into the wound made by the spear. It is curious that John is the only one to tell both stories: so curious that ...
— God and my Neighbour • Robert Blatchford

... witnesses, you know nothing; you should be sceptical. If the witness is dead, you should be still more sceptical, for you cannot enlighten yourself. If from several witnesses who are dead, you are in the same plight. If from those to whom the witnesses have spoken, your scepticism should ...
— Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary • Voltaire

... infidelity—was quite a familiar one; and that, side by side with the theology of Aquinas and Bonaventura, there was working among those who influenced fashion and opinion, among the great men, and the men to whom learning was a profession, a spirit of scepticism and irreligion almost monstrous for its time, which found its countenance in Frederick's refined and enlightened court. The genius of the great doctors might have kept in safety the Latin schools, but not the free and home ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 07 • Various

... be a part of the study, because without it we cannot know the precise scope of rules which it is our business to know. It is a part of the rational study, because it is the first step toward an enlightened scepticism, that is, towards a deliberate reconsideration of the worth of those rules. When you get the dragon out of his cave on to the plain and in the daylight, you can count his teeth and claws, and see just what is his strength. ...
— The Path of the Law • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

... to provide room for the activities of all. The indifference indeed seemed to be growing. We did not stop to think whether disgust at continuous controversy had not done much to cause that indifference—how far our divisions simply manufactured scepticism as to there being any religious truth—whether the obvious lovelessness of such conditions was likely to recommend the religion of Love—whether this disparate chaos was likely to be a field in which the Lord, who designed and founded ...
— The War and Unity - Being Lectures Delivered At The Local Lectures Summer - Meeting Of The University Of Cambridge, 1918 • Various

... reply, but youth has no doubts. The girl, weeping tears of joy over Rennes's perilous words, had but one clear regret in her mind—she could not see him for some hours. His declaration dispelled the terrible bitterness, scepticism, and indifference to all sentiment which had gradually permeated, during their acquaintance, her whole heart. Repulsed affection may turn to hatred in haughty, impatient souls. But in Agnes it produced a moral languor—a mental indolence—the feeling that no one was ...
— Robert Orange - Being a Continuation of the History of Robert Orange • John Oliver Hobbes

... that time of day, inevitably immaculate. Freedom from parental supervision and the American climate went to the lad's head. He passed through a phase of commonplace but secret vice, emerging there-from with an unblemished social reputation; a blank scepticism in matters religious, combined with bitter animosity against the Deity whom he declared non-existent; and a fiercely driving ambition, not so much for wealth in itself, as for that control ever the destinies of men, and even of nations, with which ...
— The Far Horizon • Lucas Malet

... afflicted in the same way that I have been. It probably never will; but for all that, there are many shy natures which will recognize tendencies in themselves in the direction of my unhappy susceptibility. Others, to whom such weakness seems inconceivable, will find their scepticism shaken, if not removed, by the calm, judicial statement of the Report drawn up for the Royal Academy. It will make little difference to me whether my story is accepted unhesitatingly or looked upon ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... fact, but will not say so. But the whole question of religious belief in Germany is a difficult and contentious one, for according to the people you meet you will be told that the nation lacks faith or possesses it. If you use your own judgment you must conclude that there is immensely more scepticism there than here, and that there is also a good deal of vague belief, a belief, that is, in a personal God and a life after death. But you must admit that except in an "evangelical" set belief sits lightly on both men and women. Certainly it has nothing to do with the ...
— Home Life in Germany • Mrs. Alfred Sidgwick

... say, moreover, that my faith in Christianity was in reality diminished. My faith has been destroyed by historical criticism, not by scholasticism nor by philosophy. The history of philosophy and the sort of scepticism by which I had been caught rather maintained me within the limits of Christianity than drove me beyond them. I often repeated to myself the lines which ...
— Recollections of My Youth • Ernest Renan

... lack of correct observation, to note that even after the Pearl Street station had been in actual operation twenty-four hours a day for nearly three months, there should still remain an attitude of "can't be done." That such a scepticism still obtained is evidenced by the public prints of the period. Edison's electric-light system and his broad claims were freely discussed and animadverted upon at the very time he was demonstrating their successful application. To show ...
— Edison, His Life and Inventions • Frank Lewis Dyer and Thomas Commerford Martin

... unsubstantial shadows, resembling the forms of living men, by circumstances connected with the physical laws of matter. But I am rather inclined to hold, with another class of inquirers, that the origin of such marvels must be looked for in the mind of the seers; although I do not go the length of their scepticism, and deny the actual existence of the ghostly show, as a real and visible spectacle, before ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 12, - Issue 331, September 13, 1828 • Various

... all and trudged upstairs. He was too old to believe in Santa Claus. His attitude during the rest of the year was frank scepticism. Yet when Christmas eve came around, he found that he had retained just enough faith to be doubtful. It was manifestly impossible that such a person could exist; and yet there remained the faint chance. Nobody believes that ...
— The Adventures of Bobby Orde • Stewart Edward White

... to an end" the fourth day, and would have then returned to Troy, but for the remonstrances of Pandarus, who asked if they had visited Sarpedon only to fetch fire? At last, at the end of a week, they returned to Troy; Troilus hoping to find Cressida again in the city, Pandarus entertaining a scepticism which he concealed from his friend. The morning after their return, Troilus was impatient till he had gone to the palace of Cressida; but when he found her doors all closed, "well nigh for sorrow adown he ...
— The Canterbury Tales and Other Poems • Geoffrey Chaucer

... schools on the one hand, and the Epicurean on the other. These schools belong properly, I think, to the history of religion. The successors of Aristotle produced rather a school of progressive science, those of Plato a school of refined scepticism. The religious side of Plato's thought was not revealed in its full power till the time of Plotinus in the third century A. D.; that of Aristotle, one might say without undue paradox, not till its exposition ...
— Five Stages of Greek Religion • Gilbert Murray

... to create a profounder sensation in this country than any philosophical or religious work of this century. It is a defence of revealed religion, equal in ability to the "Analogy" of Bishop Butler, and meets the scepticism of our age as effectually as that great work in an earlier day. The Pantheism and Parkerism infused into our popular literature will here find an antidote. The Lectures excited the highest enthusiasm at Oxford, and the Volume has already reached ...
— The Life of Trust: Being a Narrative of the Lord's Dealings With George Mueller • George Mueller

... thought, and depth and consistency of view, are scorned as subtle and scholastic, in which free discussion and fallible judgment are prized as the birthright of each individual, I must be excused if I exercise towards this age, as regards its belief in this doctrine, some portion of that scepticism which it exercises itself towards every received but unscrutinized assertion whatever. I cannot take it for granted, I must have it brought home to me by tangible evidence, that the spirit of the age means by the Supreme Being what Catholics mean. Nay, it would be a relief to ...
— The Idea of a University Defined and Illustrated: In Nine - Discourses Delivered to the Catholics of Dublin • John Henry Newman

... concerned (he thought his decision on this matter must profoundly affect its course) and a mistake might lead to eternal damnation; but the more he reflected the more convinced he was; and though during the next few weeks he read books, aids to scepticism, with eager interest it was only to confirm him in what he felt instinctively. The fact was that he had ceased to believe not for this reason or the other, but because he had not the religious temperament. Faith had been forced upon him from the outside. ...
— Of Human Bondage • W. Somerset Maugham

... lady was a trifle sore at never having been invited there herself. One never knows. At any rate, her attitude was chilling. So as regarded the incident in the Banqueting Hall he preserved entire silence. Her scepticism was ...
— Austin and His Friends • Frederic H. Balfour

... of its ingenuity, would it advance you upon your road. But with a bit of crayon a great artist makes an immortal sketch. It needs talent or genius to paint; and to amuse one's self, the faculty of being happy: whoever possesses it is amused at slight cost. This faculty is destroyed by scepticism, artificial living, over-abuse; it is fostered by confidence, moderation and normal ...
— The Simple Life • Charles Wagner

... as that he questioned the loveliness of the "pure in heart"; I mean merely that he questioned the artificial value which has been set upon physical chastity—and that when departure from this was the circumstance through which he had to show the more essential purity, his instinctive scepticism drove him to the forcing of a note which was not really native to his voice. For always (to my sense) when he presents dramatically a girl or woman in the grip of this circumstance, he gives her words, and feelings to express through them, which only the French ...
— Browning's Heroines • Ethel Colburn Mayne

... system of Philo, though in a certain sense the way had already been prepared for them, are the introduction of the idea of a philosophy of revelation and the advance beyond the absolute intellectualism of Greek philosophy, an advance based on scepticism, but also on the deep-felt needs of life. Only the germs of these are found in Philo, but they are already operative. They are innovations of world-wide importance: for in them the covenant between the thoughts ...
— History of Dogma, Volume 1 (of 7) • Adolph Harnack

... Mouraski informed his companion that he was 'the inhabitant of an invisible region,' and afterwards became very familiar with him. The traveller, indeed, would never believe that his friend was a devil, a scepticism of which De Foe doubtfully approves. The story, however, must be true, because, as De Foe says, he saw it in manuscript many years ago; and certainly Owke is of a superior order to ...
— Hours in a Library, Volume I. (of III.) • Leslie Stephen

... species were rare, and of dangerous serpents there were literally none. These facts had been taught her by her father, and whatever her feeble mind received at all, it received so confidingly as to leave her no uneasiness from any doubts, or scepticism. To her the sublimity of the solitude in which she was placed, was soothing, rather than appalling, and she gathered a bed of leaves, with as much indifference to the circumstances that would have driven the thoughts of sleep ...
— The Deerslayer • James Fenimore Cooper

... throw off the wornout, tattered, and ill-fitting one inherited from its predecessors; and discontent and hopefulness were the impulses that set the shuttle so busily flying hither and thither. This movement, a reaction against the conventional formalism and barren, superficial scepticism of the preceding age, had ever since the beginning of the century been growing in strength and breadth. It pervaded all the departments of human knowledge and activity—politics, philosophy, religion, literature, and the arts. The doctrinaire school in politics and the eclectic school in ...
— Frederick Chopin as a Man and Musician - Volume 1-2, Complete • Frederick Niecks

... because he had passed through them himself. We might express an opinion: he stated facts. And it seemed that he had no more intimate friend than Sinnett, and that to Sinnett he had confessed his scepticism, asking for a sign, a manifestation, and that one afternoon when they were smoking over their coffee and cognac after lunch in Sinnett's chambers, then on the third floor of a house near the Oxford Street end of Bond Street—Forepaugh was carefully ...
— Nights - Rome, Venice, in the Aesthetic Eighties; London, Paris, in the Fighting Nineties • Elizabeth Robins Pennell

... scepticism, but all the same palpably enjoying the magic experiment, picked an indifferent nosegay of the few buttercups, hawkweeds, and late pieces of scabious which were the only flowers available. Then she removed her hair-pins, and, letting down a shower of flaxen ...
— A Popular Schoolgirl • Angela Brazil

... day she was stricken fruitful by the lightning. You are not the father of Cheschapah." He dealt Pounded Meat a blow, and the old man fell. But the council sat still until the sound of Cheschapah's galloping horse died away. They were ready now to risk everything. Their scepticism was conquered. ...
— Red Men and White • Owen Wister

... either for nations or for individuals. Moral and religious law has social and economic consequences, and though the perplexed distribution of earthly good and ill often bewilders faith and emboldens scepticism, there still is visible in human affairs a drift towards recompensing in the world the ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... therefore (in his dream), thought that he could embrace his friend. It was the sceptical Ionian, in a fresh and spookless colony, who knew that he could not; he thinks the ghost a mere dream, and introduces his scepticism in XXIII. 99-107. He brought in "the ruling ideas of his own period." The ghost, says the Ionian bearbeiter, is intangible, though in the genuine old epic the ghost himself thought otherwise—he being new to the situation ...
— Homer and His Age • Andrew Lang

... at all! Scepticism only indicates gross materialism and lack of imagination. There is nothing at all to be proud of in the possession of a low ...
— The Keeper of the Door • Ethel M. Dell

... foreigners, who came here to learn the language, &c., and many of them have no great hope of heaven. They seem calm enough, and are no doubt calm enough; shall the courage of the world, shall the courage of scepticism, shall the courage of carelessness be greater and produce better fruit than the courage of the Christian? O Lord, preserve me from the sin of dishonouring Thy name through fear and cowardice! Let us be bold ...
— James Gilmour of Mongolia - His diaries, letters, and reports • James Gilmour

... life, she was the one thing that was real. She alone knew of Bludston, of Barney Bill, of the model days the memory of which made him shiver. She alone (save Barney Bill) knew of his high destiny—for Paul, quick to recognize the cynical scepticism of an indifferent world, had not revealed the Vision Splendid to any of his associates. To her he could write; to her, when he was in London, he could talk; to her he could outpour all the jumble of faith, vanity, romance, egotism and poetry that was ...
— The Fortunate Youth • William J. Locke

... might be excellent as subjects for recreation and good talk, what could be more preposterous than to treat such trifles as if they had a value of their own? Only one thing; and that was to indulge, in the day-dreams of religion or philosophy, the inward ardours of the soul. Indeed, the scepticism of that generation was the most uncompromising that the world has known; for it did not even trouble to deny: it simply ignored. It presented a blank wall of perfect indifference alike to the mysteries of the universe and to the solutions of them. Madame du Deffand gave early ...
— Books and Characters - French and English • Lytton Strachey

... practical Roman. Still, though he was not seeking any answer to his question, by the very tone of it he suggested that he did not possess that gem which those who hold it prize above all things. "The Scepticism of Pilate" is the title of one of Robertson's greatest sermons. The preacher traces it to four sources: indecision; falseness to his own convictions; the taint of the worldly temper of his day; and that priestly bigotry which forbids inquiry, ...
— Men of the Bible; Some Lesser-Known Characters • George Milligan, J. G. Greenhough, Alfred Rowland, Walter F.

... by her scepticism. "I can't tell you anything else," he said simply. "You couldn't have any idea I crawled up here for the ...
— Nan of Music Mountain • Frank H. Spearman

... of healthy history we ought to have gone on worshipping the republic and calling each other citizen with increasing seriousness until some other part of the truth broke into our republican temple. But in fact we have turned the freedom of democracy into a mere scepticism, destructive of everything, including democracy itself. It is none the less destructive because it is, so to speak, an optimistic scepticism—or, as I have said, a dreary hope. It was none the better because the destroyers were always talking about the new vistas and ...
— George Bernard Shaw • Gilbert K. Chesterton

... may cloak an unwarranted scepticism as to the possibility of reaching truth in religion, but it is symptomatic of the longing for larger sympathy and broader fellowship. It is but the extreme expression of a temper which has reduced the angularity of those who are very far from surrendering or belittling ...
— The Unity of Civilization • Various

... its delightful abundance, its inimitable ease, and its pleasant flavour of antiquity, yet lacks form; he did not possess the supreme mastery of language which alone can lead to the creation of great works of literary art. His scepticism is not important as a contribution to philosophical thought, for his mind was devoid both of the method and of the force necessary for the pursuit and discovery of really significant intellectual truths. To claim for him such titles of distinction ...
— Landmarks in French Literature • G. Lytton Strachey

... ocean of ether enveloping the molecules of material bodies has been doubted or denied by many eminent physicists, though of course none have called in question the necessity for some interstellar medium for the transmission of thermal and luminous vibrations. This scepticism has been, I think, partially justified by the many difficulties encompassing the conception, into which, however, we need not here enter. That light and heat cannot be conveyed by any of the ordinary sensible forms of matter is unquestionable. None of the forms ...
— The Unseen World and Other Essays • John Fiske

... talked to the more enthusiastic Methodists and listened to their stories of miracles without perceiving that they require no other passport to a statement than that it accords with their wishes and their general conception of God's dealings; nay, they regard as a symptom of sinful scepticism an inquiry into the evidence for a story which they think unquestionably tends to the glory of God, and in retailing such stories, new particulars, further tending to his glory, are "borne in" upon their minds. Now, Dr. Cumming, as we have said, ...
— The Essays of "George Eliot" - Complete • George Eliot

... thirteenth century that the Church had to face that spirit of scepticism or anti-religious feeling which is the chief bug-bear of modern Christianity. Her elaborate organisation and the gradual development of her own dogmatic position enabled her to deal with individual ...
— The Church and the Empire - Being an Outline of the History of the Church - from A.D. 1003 to A.D. 1304 • D. J. Medley

... persecutors fools about equally matched. He was easy-tempered and humane—in the hunting-field he could not bear the cry of a dying hare with composure—martyr-burning had consequently no attraction for such a man. His scepticism came into play, his melancholy humour, his sense of the illimitable which surrounds man's life, and which mocks, defeats, flings back his thought upon himself. Man is here, he said, with bounded powers, with limited knowledge, with an ...
— Dreamthorp - A Book of Essays Written in the Country • Alexander Smith

... and he should never be counted amongst the virtuous. Nor doth he ever obtain the fruits of his virtues! Nor doth he of sinful heart, who having accomplished a virtuous act doubteth in his mind, obtain the fruits of his act, in consequence of that scepticism of his! I speak unto thee, under the authority of the Vedas, which constitute the highest proof in such matters, that never shouldst thou doubt virtue! The man that doubteth virtue is destined to take his birth in the brute species. The man of weak understanding ...
— Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 3 Pt. 1 • Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa

... fanaticism had inspired Voltaire with his zeal on behalf of persecuted Protestants; a more personal feeling, a more profound sympathy, caused his grief and his dread when Chevalier de la Barre, accused of having mutilated a crucifix, was condemned, in 1766, to capital punishment; the scepticism of the eighteenth century had sudden and terrible reactions towards fanatical violence, as a protest and a pitiable struggle against the doubt which was invading it on all sides; the chevalier was executed; he was not twenty years ...
— A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times - Volume VI. of VI. • Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

... of the first half of the seventeenth century, which had been crushed by the Restoration, were exchanged for a state of apathy that led to self-seeking in politics and to scepticism in religion. There was a strong profession of morality in words, but in conduct the most open immorality prevailed. Virtue was commended in the bulk of the churches, while Christianity, which gives a new life and aim to virtue, was practically ignored, and ...
— The Age of Pope - (1700-1744) • John Dennis

... heated debate Silas returned and with an air of scepticism demanded twenty-five dollars. When Kenny, who never questioned the price of anything, argued the point from motives of pure antagonism, he called the marshal. The marshal was conservative. He dallied with the need of coming. Kenny took advantage of a ...
— Kenny • Leona Dalrymple

... Gallagher's leading articles and columns of news were still in that primitive stage of culture in which every statement made in print is accepted as certainly true, whereas the subscribers to The Times have been educated into an unworthy kind of scepticism. Also the readers of the Connacht Eagle read little or nothing else, while those who read The Times usually glance at one or two other papers as well, and even waste their time and unsettle their minds by dipping into books. Thus, in spite of the fact that The Times appears every day, ...
— General John Regan - 1913 • George A. Birmingham

... your father's character?' asked his sweetheart's father. There was a tinge of scepticism in his voice, though he ...
— Young Mr. Barter's Repentance - From "Schwartz" by David Christie Murray • David Christie Murray

... Voice of God, speaking through Peter, was admitted no longer. Hence, as Cardinal Manning most truly observes: "The old forms of religious thought are now passing away in England. The rejection of the Divine Voice has let in the flood of opinion; and opinion has generated scepticism; and scepticism has brought on contentions without end. What seemed so solid once, is disintegrated. It is dissolving by the internal action of the principle from which it sprung. The critical unbelief of dogma has now reached to the foundation of Christianity, and to ...
— The Purpose of the Papacy • John S. Vaughan

... Scepticism and incredulity gave place to excitement and unbounded enthusiasm. The old King embraced the Countess; Baron de Becasse attempted to kiss me; Sir Peter Grebe made a handsome apology for his folly and vowed that he would do open penance for his sins. The poor Crown-Prince, ...
— In Search of the Unknown • Robert W. Chambers

... antiquity. They conceived the Iliad and the Odyssey as the creations of one single Homer; they declared it to be psychologically possible for two such different works to have sprung from the brain of one genius, in contradiction to the Chorizontes, who represented the extreme limit of the scepticism of a few detached individuals of antiquity rather than antiquity itself considered as a whole. To explain the different general impression of the two books on the assumption that one poet composed them both, ...
— Homer and Classical Philology • Friedrich Nietzsche

... which it has so rashly adventured. Whatever may be the limits or modifications of the powers of the Union, it is easy to imagine an endless train of possible dangers; and by indulging an excess of jealousy and timidity, we may bring ourselves to a state of absolute scepticism and irresolution. I repeat here what I have observed in substance in another place, that all observations founded upon the danger of usurpation ought to be referred to the composition and structure of the government, ...
— The Federalist Papers

... interest both of fact and of poetry, was confirmed by such unbroken testimony of tradition that history seemed to have innumerable records of it in the hearts and memories of each generation. But as there appears no document or parchment of such criteria as to satisfy all inquiries, historical scepticism has ventured upon the absurd length of calling in question the fact of the treaty. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, with commendable zeal, has bestowed much labor upon the questions connected with the treaty, and the results which have been attained can scarcely fail to satisfy ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 12 • Editor-In-Chief Rossiter Johnson

... themselves invented all these exaggerated fictions; they derived them in great part from the recitals of the Indians. A fondness for narration prevails in the Missions, as it does at sea, in the East, and in every place where the mind seeks amusement. A missionary, from his vocation, is not inclined to scepticism; he imprints on his memory what the natives have so often repeated to him; and, when returned to Europe, and restored to the civilized world, he finds a pleasure in creating astonishment by a recital of ...
— Equinoctial Regions of America V2 • Alexander von Humboldt

... faith of mine in an ideal and lasting union does not lessen at all my scepticism in the moral inefficacy of our present marriage system. It is not the particular form of marriage practised that, after all, is the main thing, but the kind of lives people live under that form. The mere acceptance of a legally enforced monogamy does not carry us very far in practical ...
— The Truth About Woman • C. Gasquoine Hartley

... in times of great religious fervor, men sometimes change their religious opinions; whereas, in times of general scepticism, every one clings to his own persuasion. The same thing takes place in politics under the liberty of the press. In countries where all the theories of social science have been contested in their turn, the citizens who have adopted ...
— American Institutions and Their Influence • Alexis de Tocqueville et al

... is the final answer to your scepticism, an answer none the less true because you cannot receive it: The Lord keepeth the souls of His saints. Have you not seen men thinning out a great tree, cutting off some of its noblest branches and marring its splendid symmetry? And very likely ...
— The Threshold Grace • Percy C. Ainsworth

... burns his incense before his household image. It is surely attributing to the book what the Pagan attributes to his image."—Shekinah, April No., p. 251. Christianity, they denominate, "learned scepticism, baptized in the name of Jesus," &c., Ib., p. 301. Thus are they warring against the word of God, and placing themselves in ...
— A Brief Commentary on the Apocalypse • Sylvester Bliss

... this, formed by Nature to believe. John Randolph had no more intellectual right to be a sceptic, than he had a moral right to be a republican. A person whose imagination is quick and warm, whose feelings are acute, and whose intellect is wholly untrained, can find no comfort except in belief. His scepticism is a mere freak of vanity or self-will. Coming upon the stage of life when unbelief was fashionable in high drawing-rooms, he became a sceptic. But Nature will have her way with us all, and so this atheist at fifteen was an ...
— Famous Americans of Recent Times • James Parton

... destroyed by the mackerel and herring nets round the coast, and—I thought my friend would have a fit—by the way in which the gentlemen on the upper waters neglect their duty of protecting the spawning fish! Some belonging to the lower water interest carried their scepticism as to the efficacy of artificial propagation to the length of believing that hatcheries are partially responsible for the decrease. As so often happens, the opposing interests, disagreeing on all else, find that best of peacemakers, a common enemy, ...
— Ireland In The New Century • Horace Plunkett

... peasants. "You want me and I should like you too, shake hands on it and let us enjoy ourselves." A dozen times if she had liked Musette could have secured a good position, which is termed a future, but she did not believe in the future and professed the scepticism ...
— Bohemians of the Latin Quarter • Henry Murger

... again been shown to be incredible, be held at discretion to pass for an unimpeachable narrator? In those cases at least where its connection with his "plan" is obvious, one ought surely to exercise some scepticism in regard to his testimony; but it ought at the same time to be considered that such connections may occur much oftener than is discernible by us, or at least by the less sharp-sighted of us. It is indeed possible that occasionally a grain ...
— Prolegomena to the History of Israel • Julius Wellhausen

... instance) not long ago, from a distinguished American, an old friend of mine, who wrote in the most cordial terms to say that out of personal regard for me he had read "Phantasms of the Living" from beginning to end, and that he did not believe a word of it. Our readers' scepticism is perhaps seldom quite so robust; but nevertheless I should say that the attitude of at least half of them is best described by saying not that they accept our evidence ex animo, but that they have not yet exactly managed to see their way to ...
— The Arena - Volume 4, No. 22, September, 1891 • Various

... were gentle, his temper good, and his disposition amiable. Having been partly educated at a northern university in Britain, he had adopted views in religion which went even beyond toleration and which might be regarded as entering the verge of scepticism. For a patrician he was very liberal in his political views. His imagination was poetical and discursive, his taste good and his tact extremely fine, so exquisite, indeed, that it sometimes approached to morbid sensibility, and disgusted him with slight defects and made him keenly sensible of ...
— Consolations in Travel - or, the Last Days of a Philosopher • Humphrey Davy

... beautiful daughter Zaida to the Christian king, who made her his concubine, and is said by some authorities to have married her after she bore him a son, Sancho. The vacillations and submissions of El Motamid did not save him from the fate which overtook his fellow-princes. Their scepticism and extortion had tired their subjects, and the mullahs gave Yusef a "fetva'' authorzing him to remove them in the interest of religion. In 1091 the Almoravides stormed Seville. El Motamid, who had fought bravely, was weak enough to order ...
— Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia

... reflection she found it hard to believe that the motive for it was the one the latter alleged, and which had so touched her at first that it had brought tears to her eyes. The Anglo-Saxon woman could not help looking at the Latin woman with a little apprehension and a good deal of scepticism. ...
— Fair Margaret - A Portrait • Francis Marion Crawford

... him that even a brief career of sensual gratification was impossible, or so counterbalanced with suffering as to be revolting. Though scarcely more than across the threshold of life, existence had become an unmitigated evil. Had he been brought up in an atmosphere of flippant scepticism he would have flung it away as he would a handful of nettles; but his childish memory had been made familiar with that ancient Book whose truths, like anchors, enable many a soul on the verge of wreck to outride the storm. He was too well acquainted with its teachings to ...
— A Knight Of The Nineteenth Century • E. P. Roe

... certainly, as the rest of mankind, know them to be true, nothing but the absurd and froward spirit of Sadducism can question them." Against this grave and credited authority, we pretend to raise no question of scepticism. We submit to the testimony of such a writer as conclusive, though as credulity is sometimes found to be bounded by geographical limits, and to possess something of a national character, it may be prudent to refer certain readers, ...
— The Wept of Wish-Ton-Wish • James Fenimore Cooper

... the conventional naturalism of polished dreamers, and of a rusticity more genuine at once and more sympathetic than that of Lorenzo, all of which act by their very natures as touchstones to one another. We may seek it in the uncertainty and hovering between belief and scepticism, earnest and play, reality and imagination—such as can only exist in art, or in life when life approaches to the condition of an art—which we find in the scenes where Orlando courts his mistress in the person of the youth who is but his mistress in disguise. ...
— Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama - A Literary Inquiry, with Special Reference to the Pre-Restoration - Stage in England • Walter W. Greg

... too long in a former age to be able to understand ours. Now, while the short-sighted spectator begins to despair of humanity, and, distracted and cursing that of which he is ignorant, plunges into scepticism and fatalism, the true observer, certain of the spirit which governs the world, seeks to comprehend and fathom Providence. The memoir on "Property," published last year by the pensioner of the Academy of Besancon, is simply a ...
— What is Property? - An Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government • P. J. Proudhon

... of human nature, the inseparability of body and spirit. In later years at Berlin, where he was more occupied with political work and sociology (especially after 1866), he abandoned the positive monistic position for one of agnosticism and scepticism, and made concessions to the dualistic dogma of a spiritual world apart ...
— Evolution in Modern Thought • Ernst Haeckel

... gentleness of Jesus in dealing with his doubts saved Thomas from being an unbeliever. It is a great thing to have a wise and faithful friend when one is passing through an experience of doubt. Many persons are only confirmed in their scepticism by the well-meant but unwise efforts that are made to convince them of the truth concerning which they doubt. It is not argument that they need, but the patience of love, which waits in silence till the right time comes for words, and which then speaks but little. Thomas ...
— Personal Friendships of Jesus • J. R. Miller

... incident, that she was smart enough to see that it wasn't her he was hankering to know, but the pretty sister by her side; and when challenged to prove that they were sisters,—a statement which aroused the scepticism of his shrewd associates,—he had ...
— The Deserter • Charles King

... child-hearted heroes, with just romance and superstition enough about them to keep from that prurient hysterical wonder and enthusiasm which is simply, one often fears, a product of our scepticism! We do not trust enough in God, we do not really believe His power enough, to be ready, as they were, as every one ought to be on a God-made earth, for anything and everything being possible; and then when a wonder is discovered we ...
— Daily Thoughts - selected from the writings of Charles Kingsley by his wife • Charles Kingsley

... moment, however, an entirely new influence forced itself in a most strange fashion into my fortunes, and was at first greeted by me with a smile of scepticism. Liszt wrote announcing an early production in Weimar of my Tannhauser under his own conductorship—the first that had taken place outside Dresden—and he added with great modesty that this was merely a fulfilment of his own personal desire. ...
— My Life, Volume I • Richard Wagner

... soon, at so early a date in the history of the individual that perhaps he does not recollect that he ever possessed them; and since, like other first principles, they are but very partially capable of proof, a general scepticism prevails both as to their existence and their truth. The Greeks, partly from the vivacity of their intellect, partly from their passion for the beautiful, lost these celestial adumbrations sooner than other ...
— Callista • John Henry Cardinal Newman

... to account for all the phenomena of the solar system. Wherein consists the strength of the theory of undulation? Solely in its competence to disentangle and explain phenomena a hundred-fold more complex than those of the solar system. Accept if you will the scepticism of Mr. Mill[19] regarding the undulatory theory; but if your scepticism be philosophical, it will wrap the theory of gravitation in the same or in ...
— Six Lectures on Light - Delivered In The United States In 1872-1873 • John Tyndall

... But, notwithstanding this close approach to modern conceptions, he was not an evolutionist. When, in public, he expressed deliberate convictions, these convictions were against the general idea of evolution, until very shortly before 1859. In this opposition he was supported partly by the critical scepticism of his mind, which in all things made him singularly unwilling to accept any theories of any kind, but chiefly from the fact that the books of the two chief supporters of evolutionary conceptions impressed him very ...
— Thomas Henry Huxley; A Sketch Of His Life And Work • P. Chalmers Mitchell

... bathroom—there was nothing in the bath, not even water, but, as they were leaving, they ran into a dark, handsome, evil-eyed woman, clad in the most costly of dresses, and sparkling with jewellery. She glided past them with sly, silent footsteps, and vanished by the cupboard. Cured of scepticism, and throwing dignity to the wind, the Captain's wife raced downstairs, and, bursting into the drawing-room, flung herself ...
— Scottish Ghost Stories • Elliott O'Donnell

... door, but there was no sort of fastening within. So I paused. I did not mind looking out again. To tell you the plain truth, I was just a little bit afraid. Then I grew angry at having been put into such remote, and, possibly, suspected quarters, and then my comfortable scepticism supervened. I was yet to learn a great deal about ...
— Wylder's Hand • J. Sheridan Le Fanu

... or church; but she had her "opinions," as she called them, upon everything which was stirring in the world, and never was behindhand in the news. She was really happier when she found that she had to look after Mrs. Coleman. She bustled about, taking directions from the doctor—not without some scepticism, for she had notions of her own on the subject of disease—and going up and down stairs continually to see how her patient was getting on. It was curious that although she was a heavy woman she was so active. She was always on her legs from morning to night, and ...
— The Revolution in Tanner's Lane • Mark Rutherford

... huge dog which lay staring up into the face of the master understood all this affair much better than the practiced mind of the physician. Yet the illusion held with Randall Byrne in spite of all his scepticism. ...
— The Night Horseman • Max Brand

... speaking, vulgarised; something fresh had rubbed off her—it even included the vivacity of her early desire to do the best thing for herself—and something rather stale had rubbed on. At the same time she betrayed a scepticism, and that was rather becoming, for it had quenched the eagerness of her prime, the mercenary principle I had so suffered from. She had grown weary and detached, and since she affected me as more impressed ...
— Louisa Pallant • Henry James

... opportunity, or any extraneous influence could have had nothing to do. That fact, satisfactory and obscure in itself, had for me a certain ideal significance. It was an answer to certain outspoken scepticism and even to some not very kind aspersions. I had vindicated myself from what had been cried upon as a stupid obstinacy or a fantastic caprice. I don't mean to say that a whole country had been convulsed by my desire to ...
— A Personal Record • Joseph Conrad

... believe that such an event had happened, nothing would persuade me that his opponent was not in the wrong, for in my life did I never meet with a being of a more placid and gentle nature; and it is this amiable turn of his character which has given more consequence and force to his scepticism than all the arguments of his sophistry." The real truth of the matter was that, meeting Sterne at Lord Hertford's table on the day when he had preached at the Embassy Chapel, "David was disposed to make a little merry with the parson, and in ...
— Sterne • H.D. Traill

... the belief that by exercise of his reason a man may enter into communion with that Rational Essence which is the soul of the world; but precisely because of our inability to find within ourselves any such sure and certain guidance do we of to-day accept the barren doom of scepticism. Otherwise, the Stoic's sense of man's subordination in the universal scheme, and of the all-ruling destiny, brings him into touch with our own philosophical views, and his doctrine concerning the "sociable" nature of man, of the reciprocal ...
— The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft • George Gissing

... little wider and deeper, in that I have tried to present not simply an ideal, but an ideal in reaction with two personalities. Moreover, since this may be the last book of the kind I shall ever publish, I have written into it as well as I can the heretical metaphysical scepticism upon which all my thinking rests, and I have inserted certain sections reflecting upon the established methods of sociological ...
— A Modern Utopia • H. G. Wells

... chronicles seem to have been continued by different hands, under the auspices of such men as Archbishops Dunstan, Aelfric, and others, whose characters have been much misrepresented by ignorance and scepticism on the one hand; as well as by mistaken zeal and devotion on the other. The indirect evidence respecting Dunstan and Aelfric is as curious as that concerning Plegmund; but the discussion of it would lead us into ...
— The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle • Unknown

... into his own breast, analyses his faculties, and finds he is only peering into hollow and chaotic vacuity. And then he once more falls from the heights of his eagerly-desired self-knowledge into an ironical scepticism. He divests his struggles of their real importance, and feels himself ready to undertake any class of useful work, however degrading. He now seeks consolation in hasty and incessant action so as to hide himself from himself. And thus his helplessness and the ...
— On the Future of our Educational Institutions • Friedrich Nietzsche

... as I have heard, that he wished we were well rid, would receive no better quarter than an atheist from the generality of the clergy. What recourse now has a man who cannot be thus implicit? Some have run into scepticism, some into atheism, and, for fear of being imposed on by others, have imposed on themselves. The way to avoid these extremes is that which has been chalked out in this introduction. We may think freely without thinking as licentiously as divines do when they raise a system of imagination on true ...
— Letters to Sir William Windham and Mr. Pope • Lord Bolingbroke

... there clung about me some atmosphere of that land between the worlds where I so recently had stood; or the room indeed kept, as I fancied, the melancholy chill of the unseen tide that had washed through it, I met no scepticism from the two who heard my tale of wild experience. They did not interrupt me. Phillida crept close to her husband, putting her hand in his, but she did not exclaim ...
— The Thing from the Lake • Eleanor M. Ingram

... be observed that for the purposes of this discussion we are on 'dogmatic' ground,—ground, I mean, which leaves systematic philosophical scepticism altogether out of account. The postulate that there is truth, and that it is the destiny of our minds to attain it, we are deliberately resolving to make, though the sceptic will not make it. We part company with him, therefore, absolutely, at this point. But the faith that truth exists, ...
— The Will to Believe - and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy • William James

... beliefs upon which their ratiocination grounds itself is not fixed but changing, and not artless and crystal-clear but excessively complex and obscure. It is, indeed, the chief mark of a man emerged from the general that he has lost most of his original certainties, and is full of a scepticism which plays like a spray of acid upon all the ideas that come within his purview, including especially his own. One does not become surer as one advances in knowledge, but less sure. No article of faith is proof against the disintegrating effects of increasing ...
— The American Credo - A Contribution Toward the Interpretation of the National Mind • George Jean Nathan

... "character." These results were reached after much discussion, and by the way of compromise. The issues thus raised were brought forward again at St. Louis, in 1885, when Rev. J.T. Sunderland, the secretary and missionary of the conference, deplored the growing spirit of agnosticism and scepticism in the Unitarian churches of the west. His report caused a division of opinion in the conference; and in the controversy that ensued the conservatives were represented by The Unitarian, edited by Rev. Brooke Herford and Rev. ...
— Unitarianism in America • George Willis Cooke

... spheroidical, though solid, to obtain this end. I use this reasoning only on the supposition, that the earth has had a beginning. I am sure I shall read your conjectures on this subject with great pleasure, though I bespeak beforehand, a right to indulge my natural incredulity and scepticism. The pain in which I write, awakens me here from my reverie, and obliges me to conclude with compliments to Mrs. Thomson, and assurances to yourself of the esteem and affection with which I am sincerely, Dear Sir, ...
— Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson - Volume I • Thomas Jefferson

... Republic." He is uttering a protest against our concluding, that because degeneracy appears to be the invariable law or destiny of all human commonwealths, THEREFORE, no Archetypal Model exists of any perfect state, or polity: and then, in opposition to this political scepticism, Plato adds these remarkable words:—"en ourano isos paradeigma anakeitai to boulomeno oran kai oronti eauton katoikizein," etc. etc.—"The state we have here established, which exists only in our reasoning, but it seems to ...
— Selections from the Speeches and Writings of Edmund Burke. • Edmund Burke

... thereafter seems to have served sovereign after sovereign until his death in the year 368, when he must have been from two hundred to three hundred years old. This chronological difficulty has provoked much scepticism. Dr. Kume, an eminent Japanese historian, explains, however, that Takenouchi was the name not of a person but of a family, and that it was borne by different scions in succeeding reigns. The first was a grandson of the Emperor Kogen (B.C. 214-158), and the representatives of the family in Nintoku's ...
— A History of the Japanese People - From the Earliest Times to the End of the Meiji Era • Frank Brinkley and Dairoku Kikuchi

... is Goethe himself. Goethe belongs to the eighteenth century; he is its disciple, its heir; he is, like it, the sceptic, but he is also the poet. It is this which conceals his universal doubt. Besides, as he perceived, with that admirable tact which accompanies his genius, that his scepticism would injure his poetry, he has laboured to correct its influence, and, for this purpose, has called to his aid all the resources of art and science. He has adored nature, he has been a pantheist, he has distributed God everywhere, to compensate for not having him in his ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Vol. 56, No. 346, August, 1844 • Various

... course of our history is to ascertain, if possible, how this country was originally peopled—a point fruitful of incredible embarrassments; for unless we prove that the aborigines did absolutely come from somewhere, it will be immediately asserted in this age of scepticism, that they did not come at all; and if they did not come at all, then was this country never populated—a conclusion perfectly agreeable to the rules of logic, but wholly irreconcilable to every feeling of humanity, inasmuch as it must syllogistically prove ...
— Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete • Washington Irving

... of the ablest of modern divines. He was chairman for eleven years of the New Testament Revision Committee. He has published commentaries on various epistles; also works on "Scripture and its Interpretation," "Modern Scepticism"; also a commentary for English Readers on the Old and ...
— Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Gloucester [2nd ed.] • H. J. L. J. Masse

... the moral situation, from the traditional and often symbolic language in which it is given to us. The comparative method helps us towards this; and is thus not, as some would pretend, the servant of scepticism, but rightly used the revealer of the Spirit of Life in its variety of gifts. In this connection we might remember that time—like space—is only of secondary importance to us. Compared with the eons ...
— The Life of the Spirit and the Life of To-day • Evelyn Underhill

... meanings of the word they despise or ignore. They regard the world not as a scene of probation, not as a passage to a newer and higher life, but as a "convenient feeding-trough" for every low passion and unworthy impulse; as a place where they can build on the foundation of universal scepticism a reputation for superior ability. This degradation of spirit, this premature cynicism, this angry sneering at a tone superior to their own, this addiction to a low and lying satire, which is the misbegotten child of envy and disbelief, has infected our literature to a deplorable and almost hopeless ...
— St. Winifred's - The World of School • Frederic W. Farrar

... of the literature and history of which it was in possession; to measure the statements of the Old Testament writings by the rules of Greek and Latin literature, and to argue from the history of Europe to that of the East. Uncontrolled by external testimony, critical scepticism played havoc with the historical narratives that had descended to it, and starting from the assumption that the world of antiquity was illiterate, refused to credit such records of the past as dwarfed the proportions ...
— Early Israel and the Surrounding Nations • Archibald Sayce

... [a little offended]. A theory? Me! [Theories are connected in his mind with the late Professor Tyndall, and with scientific scepticism generally: also perhaps with the view that the ...
— John Bull's Other Island • George Bernard Shaw

... organization, such as is more frequently found in India than in America, a fast could be sustained by spirit power for six or twelve months. Indeed, there are records of such fasts in the old medical authors, which are omitted in all recent works. The spirit of dogmatic scepticism had carried the medical profession generally into such a depth of ignorance on these subjects that Dr. Landon C. Gray declared that a forty days' fast had never occurred, and that if Dr. Tanner attempted it, it must be assumed "that he will cheat at ...
— Buchanan's Journal of Man, February 1887 - Volume 1, Number 1 • Various

... unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable greyness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamour, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmosphere of tepid scepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary. If such is the form of ultimate wisdom, then life is a greater riddle than some of us think it to be. I was within a hair's breadth of the last opportunity for pronouncement, and I found with ...
— Heart of Darkness • Joseph Conrad

... which they inspired him. But I am convinced that those characteristics are not the essential characteristics. I am convinced that there is another Montaigne who has nothing in common with the Montaigne of convention and tradition. I am convinced that the scepticism, the Conservatism, the irony, the moderation, the affectation of humility, frivolity, pedantry, and innocent candour, are only a mask and disguise which Montaigne has put on to conceal his identity, that they are only so many tricks and ...
— German Problems and Personalities • Charles Sarolea

... conferred on the United States was priceless. In return, the revolution in America came opportunely for France.... For the blessing of that same France, America brought new life and hope; she superseded scepticism by a wise and prudent enthusiasm in action, and bade the nation that became her ally lift up its heart from the barrenness of doubt to the highest affirmation of God and liberty, to freedom and union with the good, the ...
— Choice Specimens of American Literature, And Literary Reader - Being Selections from the Chief American Writers • Benj. N. Martin

... as much the result of knowledge, as knowledge is of scepticism. To be content with what we at present know, is, for the most part, to shut our ears against conviction; since, from the very gradual character of our education, we must continually forget, and emancipate ...
— The Iliad of Homer • Homer

... loving your Isaiah and Matthew. And I shall have continually to examine texts of the one as I would verses of the other; nor must you retract yourselves from the labour in suspicion that I desire to betray your scepticism, or undermine your positivism, because I recommend to you the accurate study of books which have hitherto been the ...
— Val d'Arno • John Ruskin

... against the doctrines of Christianity. Gibbon afterwards lent the same cause the aid of his brilliant genius and vast industry. Scotland, too, had its own share of the prevailing epidemic. Hume was the great apostle of scepticism, caressed by all Europe. But neither England nor Scotland were overturned by their efforts: on the contrary, Christianity, tried but not injured, came forth unscathed from the furnace. The learning—the talent—the zeal which arose in defence of religion, were at least equal to ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 379, May, 1847 • Various

... Gordon's riots cannot occur again? Believe me, the more you study history, the more you study human nature, the more possible it will seem to you. It is not, I believe, infidelity, but fanaticism, which England has to fear just now. The infidelity of England is one of mere doubt and denial, a scepticism; which is in itself weak and self-destructive. The infidelity of France in 1793 was strong enough, but just because it was no scepticism, but a faith; a positive creed concerning human reason, and the rights of man, which men could formulize, and believe in, and fight for, and ...
— Town and Country Sermons • Charles Kingsley

... religion which saves a society ploughed up by so many elements of dissolution and so many causes of moral and material ruin, rescuing it from barbarism, vandalism, and from irretrievable decay;" but the women of the eighteenth century clung, to the end, to the scepticism and material philosophy which served them as ...
— Women of Modern France - Woman In All Ages And In All Countries • Hugo P. Thieme

... God?" asked Helen, drying her tears. Again Leonard was startled. In reading the life of Chatterton he had not much noted the scepticism, assumed or real, of the ill-fated aspirer to earthly immortality. At Helen's question, that scepticism struck him forcibly. "Why ...
— My Novel, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... clock running down, and he had persuaded himself that all he could do was to wind up the crazy wheels for another year or so. Which all meant that Cautley was working a little too hard and running down himself. He had begun to specialize in gynecology and it increased his scepticism. ...
— Superseded • May Sinclair

... finger issuing from a cloud; and everybody knows how portentous that sight is, and how these broad rays, whether they light upon the Scilly Isles or upon the tombs of crusaders in cathedrals, always shake the very foundations of scepticism and lead ...
— Jacob's Room • Virginia Woolf

... Dollmann's thoughtless talk; the ease (comparatively) with which I had reached this spot, not a barrier to cross or a lock to force; the publicity of their passage to Memmert by Dollmann, his friend, and Grimm; and now this glimpse of business-like routine. In a few moments I sank from depth to depth of scepticism. Where were my mines, torpedoes, and submarine boats, and where my imperial conspirators? Was gold after all at the bottom of this sordid mystery? Dollmann after all a commonplace criminal? The ladder of proof 1 had mounted tottered and shook beneath me. 'Don't be a fool,' said the faint ...
— Riddle of the Sands • Erskine Childers

... from alluding to the fact that his father had displayed an almost equal distaste and scepticism. Let old ...
— Juggernaut • Alice Campbell

... of Mars, which show several of the disputed lines. One would have thought that would settle the question, but, although some of the more reasonable of the objectors have been convinced by the evidence of the photographs, many others still maintain their attitude of scepticism, especially those who have not themselves seen the photographs. They declare it to be quite impossible for any such photographs to be taken, because our atmosphere would prevent any photographic definition of fine detail on such small pictures; yet about ten thousand ...
— To Mars via The Moon - An Astronomical Story • Mark Wicks

... ancestry; Mrs. Hale's was the affability of a gentlewoman and the obligation of her position. To this was added the slight languor of the cultivated American wife, whose health has been affected by the birth of her first child, and whose views of marriage and maternity were slightly tinged with gentle scepticism. She was sincerely attached to her husband, "who dominated the household" like the rest of his "women folk," with the faint consciousness of that division of service which renders the position of the sultan ...
— Snow-Bound at Eagle's • Bret Harte

... ecclesiastical authorities. But it is hardly surprising if Velasquez availed himself less fully of the privilege than a Flemish or Italian painter would no doubt have done, and has given us so chaste and beautiful a realisation of the goddess. Having regard to the scepticism with which this masterpiece was received in England at the time of its purchase for the nation it is worth quoting Senor Beruete's remarks upon it in that connection. "The authenticity of this work," he writes "has found numerous doubters in Spain, less ...
— Six Centuries of Painting • Randall Davies

... opinion of his good friend Sir Matthew Hale. Yet this sounded like the tale of one bewitched; or was it merely the effect of a life of extreme seclusion telling on the nerves of a sensitive girl? My scepticism inclined me to the latter belief, and when ...
— Curious, if True - Strange Tales • Elizabeth Gaskell

... attitude towards such matters is, of course, that of unconditional scepticism. But it is pleasant, occasionally, to take an airing beyond the bounds of incredulity. For my own part, it is true, I must confess my inability to believe in anything positively supernatural. The supernatural and the illusory are to my mind convertible terms: they cannot really ...
— Confessions and Criticisms • Julian Hawthorne

... say." Pat wagged his head in undisguised scepticism. "It's easy to talk, my dear, but I should prefer actions to words. You made a poor show on that ladder yesterday, and I don't like to own a coward for my sister. Look here now, you were worrying me to give you that racket, ...
— Pixie O'Shaughnessy • Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

... upon human nature with a hostile eye, and was inclined to see evil in it where none existed; and Doctor Channing, who inaugurated the great moral movement which swept Puritanism away in this country, tended, as all reformers do, to the opposite extreme,—to that scepticism of evil which, as George Brandes says, is greatly to the advantage of hypocrites and sharpers. This was justifiable in Doctor Channing, but among his followers it has often degenerated into an inverted or homoeopathic kind of Puritanism,—a habit of excusing the faults of others, ...
— The Life and Genius of Nathaniel Hawthorne • Frank Preston Stearns



Words linked to "Scepticism" :   sceptical, unbelief, disbelief



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