Distinguishing Skepticism from Cynicism

Key Difference – Skepticism vs Cynicism

Although many people assume that skepticism and cynicism refer to the same attitude, there is a distinct difference between the two. Skepticism refers a frame of mind which involves questioning and challenging accepted facts and opinion. Cynicism is an attitude that involves looking at everything negatively. The key difference between skepticism and cynicism is that skepticism can be considered as a positive quality whereas cynicism can be considered as a negative quality.

What is Skepticism?

The term Skepticism (also written as scepticism) comes from the Greek skeptikos which means to inquire or look around. Skepticism refers to a questioning or doubting attitude of a person. A person who always expresses skepticism is known as a skeptic. A skeptic never accepts opinions or facts without questioning or doubting. He or she does not believe even the most accepted concepts and opinions without further inquiry. Although many people consider skepticism to be a negative concept, it also has a positive side. Since skeptics do not believe things easily, they will always find concrete facts and evidence to accept or challenge them. In this process of finding evidence or facts, he or she may end up introducing a new concept or solution as well. Skepticism requires a certain level of intelligence. Skepticism can also be described as being open-minded about something. Skepticism is a major requirement in scientific thinking.

What is Cynicism?

Cynicism is a negative attitude or a way of looking at things negatively or scornfully. Although many people associate cynicism with skepticism, there is a big difference in these attitudes; skepticism basically refers to not believing anything without concrete evidence, but cynicism refers to not believing in or trusting people in general. Cynics (people who always practice or express cynicism) always believe that people are generally dishonest and selfish. Thus, cynics look at others scornfully and don’t trust others. They are set in their negative beliefs, and thus cannot be convinced by evidence and valid arguments. If skeptics can be described as open-minded, cynics can be called the opposite – closed-minded.

What is the difference between Skepticism and Cynicism?

Skepticism: Skepticism refers to an attitude in which an individual questions or doubts everything.
Cynicism: Cynicism is an attitude in which an individual looks at everything negatively.
Skepticism: Skeptics  can be convinced of an opinion or fact by presenting evidence.
Cynicism: Cynicism cannot be convinced by presenting evidence.
Skepticism: Skepticism challenges the negative factors.
Cynicism: Cynicism focuses on the negative side.
Negative vs Positive:
Skepticism: Skepticism can be described as a positive quality.
Cynicism: Cynicism is a negative quality.
Skepticism: Skepticism results in open-minded people.
Cynicism: Cynicism results in closed-minded people.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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