From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the mental state. For other uses, see Doubt (disambiguation).
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 (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".
Doubt sometimes tends to call on reason. Doubt 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.
Societally, doubt creates an atmosphere of distrust, being accusatory in nature and de facto alleging either foolishness or deceit on the part of another. Such a stance has been fostered in Western European society since the Enlightenment, in opposition to tradition and authority.
Psychoanalysts[who?] 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...