Convergence of Skepticism, Empiricism, Fideism and Rationalism Discuss how the philosophical expressions of Scepticism, Empiricism, Fideism and Rationalism converge, together with the names of each of their single most iconic proponents (e.g. David Hume for Skepticism, Thomas Aquinas for Fideism).  Do they have any discernable points of agreement?  Please include in the discussion identification of the four single 21st century writers who, in your opinion, most expressively represent each view, whether philosophical, scientific, theological or sociological (with links, if possible). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skepticism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fideism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationalism  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I would say that what some of them have in common is that they come from the human mind. For example, both skepticism and rationalism basically say that truth comes from what our minds think up.  The same is true for empiricism, except your mind makes things up based on observation.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This is an enormous question. I don't know exactly what kind of answer you are looking for. When you say 21st century writers, do you mean theologians and philosophers, public intellectuals, politicians, etc.?

As for the convergence of the different approaches, skepticism, empiricism, and rationalism seem to have more points of agreement with each other than they do with fideism. If you are thinking specifically about the Thomistic version of fideism, however, it is based on rational inquiry, except within certain bounds. Indeed, Aquinas is often viewed as a progenitor of the use of reason and logic. So one might argue that more similarities exist between fideism and rationalism than the others. Hume's skepticism was based to an extent on empiricism, though ultimately he doubted the ability of observation, and thus reason, to reach correct conclusions.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial