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Agnosticism   Listen
Agnosticism  n.  That doctrine which, professing ignorance, neither asserts nor denies. Specifically: (Theol.) The doctrine that the existence of a personal Deity, an unseen world, etc., can be neither proved nor disproved, because of the necessary limits of the human mind (as sometimes charged upon Hamilton and Mansel), or because of the insufficiency of the evidence furnished by physical and physical data, to warrant a positive conclusion (as taught by the school of Herbert Spencer); opposed alike dogmatic skepticism and to dogmatic theism.

Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48

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"Agnosticism" Quotes from Famous Books

... opportune just now. For it lies at the bottom of the most pressing questions of the day. Of the two great problems that stare the Western world in the face at the present moment, both turn to it for solution. Agnosticism, the foreboding silence of those who think, socialism, communism, and nihilism, the petulant cry of those who do not, alike depend ultimately for the right to be upon the truth or the falsity of the sense ...
— The Soul of the Far East • Percival Lowell

... scholarly English Church would appear to have become conscious of this, and is leaving the work of propagandism to vulgar and ignorant sects. There seems to be nothing offered the young Hindus graduated in the universities of India except a repulsive "Salvationism" on the one hand, and a cold Agnosticism on the other. I had conversed with a company of students at Madras, and found them hardly able to understand the interest with which I followed the processions of "idols" about the streets, such things being looked on by them much as a march of the Salvation ...
— The Arena - Volume 4, No. 23, October, 1891 • Various

... these ghosts, my mind being in a just balance of agnosticism. If ghosts at all, they were ghosts with a purpose. The species is now ...
— The Book of Dreams and Ghosts • Andrew Lang

... the spiritual child and continuator of the work of Locke, he appears no less plainly as the parent of Kant and as the protagonist of that more modern way of thinking, which has been called "agnosticism," from its profession of an incapacity to discover the indispensable conditions of either positive or negative knowledge, in many propositions, respecting which, not only the vulgar, but philosophers of the more sanguine sort, revel in the ...
— Hume - (English Men of Letters Series) • T.H. Huxley

... the arguments to which they are replies. But for the convenience of any who may wish to find them, I append their titles and places of publication. These are as follows:—"Retrogressive Religion," in The Nineteenth Century for July 1884; "Last Words about Agnosticism and the Religion of Humanity," in The Nineteenth Century for November 1884; a note to Prof. Cairns' Critique on the Study of Sociology, in The Fortnightly Review, for February 1875; "A Short Rejoinder" [to Mr. J. F. McLennan], Fortnightly ...
— Essays: Scientific, Political, & Speculative, Vol. I • Herbert Spencer

... come after this life Faust makes no mention in his wager. He expressly says that all he cares about, all he can know, is this life, and that he will hear nothing about any future life. This may be agnosticism or whatever else we like to call it, but it is not formally selling one's soul, with or without one's body, for a future life and ...
— The Faust-Legend and Goethe's 'Faust' • H. B. Cotterill

... stages of advance towards the truth: firstly, Disbelief; secondly, Doubt, which is, in fact, only a fond advance towards Disbelief; thirdly, Agnosticism, which is Doubt mingled with Inquiry; and, finally, pure and simple Inquiry or Search, without any preconceived opinion or feeling whatever. It is, I trust, only in the spirit of the latter, that I have written; therefore I say to the reader, Neither, believe nor disbelieve ...
— The Mystic Will • Charles Godfrey Leland

... the truth of the appearances which they present to our imperfect senses. Being transitory, and not what they seem, they are to be considered in the nature of illusions,—impermanent manifestations of the only permanent Reality. But the Buddhist position is not agnosticism: it is astonishingly different, as we shall presently see. Mr. Spencer states that we cannot know the Reality so long as consciousness lasts,—because while consciousness lasts we cannot transcend the antithesis of ...
— Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation • Lafcadio Hearn

... of Confucius, B.C. 551-479, the old order of things began to undergo a change. The Sage's attitude of mind towards religion was one of a benevolent agnosticism, as summed up in his famous utterance, "Respect the spirits, but keep them at a distance." That he fully recognised the existence of a spirit world, though admitting that he knew nothing about it, is manifest from the following ...
— Religions of Ancient China • Herbert A. Giles

Words linked to "Agnosticism" :   skepticism, disbelief, unbelief, scepticism, religious orientation

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