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					                DOUBT, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Doubt, a status between belief and disbelief, involves uncertainty or distrust or lack of sureness of an
alleged fact, an action, a motive, or a decision. Doubt brings into question some notion of a perceived
"reality", and may involve delaying or rejecting relevant action out of concerns for mistakes or faults or
appropriateness. Some definitions of doubt emphasize the state in which the mind remains suspended
between two contradictory propositions and unable to assent to either of them[1] (compare paradox).

The concept of doubt covers a range of phenomena: one can characterise both deliberate questioning of
uncertainties and an emotional state of indecision as "doubt".

Impact on society

Doubt is like emotional blackmail, but it is self inflicted. Doubt sometimes tends to call on reason. It may
encourage people to hesitate before acting, and/or to apply more rigorous methods. Doubt may have
particular importance as leading towards disbelief or non-acceptance.

Politics, ethics and law, with decisions that often determine the course of individual life, place great
importance on doubt, and often foster elaborate adversarial processes to carefully sort through all
available evidence.


Psychoanalysts attribute doubt (which they may interpret as a symptom of a phobia emanating from the
ego) to childhood, when the ego develops. Childhood experiences, these traditions maintain, can plant
doubt about one's abilities and even about one's very identity.

Cognitive mental as well as more spiritual approaches abound in response to the wide variety of
potential causes for doubt. Behavioral therapy — in which a person systematically asks his own mind if
the doubt has any real basis — uses rational, Socratic methods. This method contrasts to those of say,
the Buddhist faith, which involve a more esoteric approach to doubt and inaction. Buddhism sees doubt
as a negative attachment to one's perceived past and future. To let go of the personal history of one's
life (affirming this release every day in meditation) plays a central role in releasing the doubts —
developed in and attached to — that history.


Descartes employed Cartesian doubt as a pre-eminent methodological tool in his fundamental
philosophical investigations. Branches of philosophy like logic devote much effort to distinguish the
dubious, the probable and the certain. Much of illogic rests on dubious assumptions, dubious data or
dubious conclusions, with rhetoric, whitewashing, and deception playing their accustomed roles.

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio.

Doubt that god(s) exist may form the basis of agnosticism — the belief that one cannot determine the
existence of god(s). It may also form other brands of skepticism, such as Pyrrhonism, which do not take
a positive stance in regard to the existence of god(s), but remains negative. Alternatively, doubt over the
existence of god(s) may lead to acceptance of a particular religion: compare Pascal's Pensées. Doubt of a
specific theology, scripturally or deistically, may bring into question the truth of that theology's set of
beliefs. On the other hand, doubt as to some doctrines but the acceptance of others may lead to the
growth of heresy and/or the splitting off of sects or groups of thought. Thus proto-Protestants doubted
papal authority, and substituted alternative methods of governance in their new (but still recognizably
similar) churches.

Christianity[often debates doubt in the contexts of salvation and eventual redemption in an afterlife.
This issue has become particularly important among Protestant beliefs, which requires only the
acceptance of Jesus, though more contemporary versions have arisen within Protestant churches that
resemble catholicism. The debate appears less important in most other theologies, religions and ethical

Doubt as a path towards (deeper) belief lies at the heart of the story of Saint Thomas the Apostle. Note
in this respect the theological views of Georg Hermes:

... the starting-point and chief principle of every science, and hence of theology also, is not only
methodical doubt, but positive doubt. One can believe only what one has perceived to be true from
reasonable grounds, and consequently one must have the courage to continue doubting until one has
found reliable grounds to satisfy the reason.

Christian existentialists such as Søren Kierkegaard suggest that for one to truly have belief in God, one
would also have to doubt one's beliefs about God; the doubt is the rational part of a person's thought
involved in weighing evidence, without which the belief would have no real substance. Belief is not a
decision based on evidence that, say, certain beliefs about God are true or a certain person is worthy of
love. No such evidence could ever be enough to pragmatically justify the kind of total commitment
involved in true theological belief or romantic love. Belief involves making that commitment anyway.
Kierkegaard thought that to have belief is at the same time to have doubt.


Most criminal cases within an adversarial system require that the prosecution proves its contentions
beyond a reasonable doubt — a doctrine also called the "Burden of Proof". This means that the State
must present propositions which preclude "reasonable doubt" in the mind of a reasonable person as to
the guilt of defendant. Some doubt may persist, but only to the extent that it would not affect a
"reasonable person's" belief in the defendant's guilt. If the doubt raised does affect a "reasonable
person's" belief, the jury is not satisfied beyond a "reasonable doubt". The jurisprudence of the
applicable jurisdiction usually defines the precise meaning of words such as "reasonable" and "doubt"
for such purposes.


Many scientific advances have been started by doubt on preceding hypothesis

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