Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson Doubt discussion


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StepheN this book was heavily referenced in Christopher Hitchens' God Is Not Great


Kirk Plankey Hi Stephen, I have not read any of Hitchen's works but am aware of who he is. I would classify myself as agnostic/atheist. In regards to Jennifer Hecht's work "Doubt" I have read it and I gave it three stars only because I couldn't give it 3.5, but I don't think I would give it a four star though. I am not sure here if you are wanting to know more about the book to decide if you do want to read it or if you want to start a discussion about it. I will assume the latter.

While I enjoyed the work overall from a historical point of view, the book left me flat from a philosophical perspective. I felt that her treatment of doubt as a espistimological stance was to one dimensional and even then fuzzy. It seems to me that the concept of doubt or doubting spans a spectrum.

There is a creative aspect to doubt which is the ability to tolerate ambibuity. This ability is, I believe, one critical aspect of great and creative thinkers. What is necessary as part of the ability to create paradigm shifts, as brought up by T. Kuhn in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." This kind of doubt is something that Hecht completely misses in here work. And this is why I cannot give it a higher rating. It is a good starting point historically but wanting philosophicaly. So if you haven't read it yet and you would appreciate a nice historical perspective on the subject then I would tell anyone to give it a read.


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Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson (other topics)