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Assistance with research?

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Description: Assistance with research?
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Lilli
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Lelani Stolp
« Reply #30 on: May 06, 2010, 12:39:23 PM »

I don't really mind when people label me a cynic, just as I don't mind the label 'sceptic' 'atheist' devil-worshipper' 'upstart' 'tart' etc. Some of these labels fit me, some don't, and some only sometimes - people trying to put other people into little boxes all the time are just wasting their own time. but hey, if it makes them feel better...
Problem is, the label 'cynic' has, in modern context, a very negative connotation (much more so than the word sceptic, even) My dictionary defines cynic as
Quote
a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view. 
according to this definition I am cynical, because I believe that it is impossible to commit truly altruistic acts. My dictionary defines sceptic as
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One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions.
Well, duh. The last time I blindly believed what someone told me didn't work out all that well. And what's wrong with just asking a question?

According to the above definitions, then, cynicism and scepticism are not the same thing.
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GCG
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« Reply #31 on: May 06, 2010, 13:28:57 PM »

I realise the paper is done and dusted...but it raised a question in my mind: What is the distinction between a skeptic (why do we use the American spelling anyway?) and a cynic? I know the dictionary definitions...but from the question re destructive vs constructive skepticism...I have a suspicion that cynicism is a destructive form of disbelief or even of a questioning mind...alles is kak regardless of the reality or healthy debate. None of us (not me anyway) would like to be labelled a cynic?? Is this observation accurate? Huh?

nevermind any of this.  we want to read your paper dude.
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Brian
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« Reply #32 on: May 06, 2010, 14:37:19 PM »

My dictionary defines cynic as
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a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view. 


We've got different dictionaries then. Mine (Oxford) says a cynic is "a person who believes people's motives are bad or selfish and shows this by sneering Huh? at them".The 'selfless acts' bit in yours sounds as if they don't like selfishness and here I agree with you...I'd like to see or hear of a totally selfless person.

More to the point though, what I was trying to get at was whether skepticism driven to its extreme (negative) isn't in fact the same as cynicism (an matter of degree then), despite the dictionaries??
 
nevermind any of this.  we want to read your paper dude.

Absolutely.
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Lilli
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Lelani Stolp
« Reply #33 on: May 06, 2010, 15:03:59 PM »

More to the point though, what I was trying to get at was whether skepticism driven to its extreme (negative) isn't in fact the same as cynicism (an matter of degree then), despite the dictionaries??
If you want to go with what the average joe on the street thinks the meaning of scepticism/cynicism is then, yes, I think most people will see the terms as synonymous. Scepticism in its most basic form, I think, implies a need to question stuff. It then logically follows that if a person questions even the good stuff (because a good sceptic will question all sorts of stuff) such as love and the love of god and eternal life and whether or not all puppies should be considered cute and cuddly, that person could be seen as being overly negative - ie a cynic. Don't get the 'sneering' part though - thats usually how the good christian folk treat me after they learn I don't just believe everything (anything) they tell me  Undecided
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StevoMuso
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« Reply #34 on: May 07, 2010, 00:38:11 AM »

Don't get the 'sneering' part though - thats usually how the good christian folk treat me after they learn I don't just believe everything (anything) they tell me  Undecided
So they are cynical about our scepticism.  Cool
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Brian
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« Reply #35 on: May 07, 2010, 09:38:06 AM »

Thanks Lilli...semantics I know but the comments helped to chrystalise my thoughts around this as well...English is my second (early in life it was my third) language. Smiley
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