How to develop Intellectual Humility through Scepticism

One can foster intellectual humility by comprehending three fundamental truths.

  1. Firstly, we interpret novel ideas through the knowledge that we already possess, which is composed of the ideas and beliefs we have acquired from various sources, such as our culture, socioeconomic status, teachers, parents, and books. Because we all have diverse origins of information, our ways of perceiving things are also diverse.
  2. Secondly, we obtain raw data through our five senses, which have their own physical limitations.
  3. Thirdly, human reasoning is not perfect and is prone to cognitive biases and thinking errors, thus having limitations.

Therefore, it is evident that no individual can be the ultimate authority on truth or the final judge.

Developing a firm sense of doubt towards one's own ideas, opinions, and beliefs is a critical component of intellectual humility. Acknowledging that everything one knows could be erroneous and that one's personal understanding is just one of many is essential. Others might possess better comprehension and arguments to challenge all that one perceives as the truth.

Thus, expressing all opinions with disclaimers such as "to the best of my understanding," "to the best of my reasoning capability," and "as I have understood it" indicates intellectual humility.

Acknowledging that our reasoning abilities and senses have limitations and that our knowledge is influenced by various socioeconomic factors enables us to be skeptical about our own opinions. This leads to the elimination of any partiality, prejudice, and bias that we might possess. Anger indicates intellectual arrogance, which is an intellectual ailment and suggests that we consider ourselves as the sole bearers of truth commissioned by a divine entity, that our knowledge is perfect, and that we have the final verdict.

By adopting intellectual humility and rejecting intellectual arrogance and cowardice, one can manage anger and remain calm when their opinions are challenged or opposed.




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