ag·​nos·​ti·​cism | \ ag-ˈnä-stə-ˌsi-zəm How to pronounce agnosticism (audio) , əg- \

Definition of agnosticism

: an agnostic quality, state, or attitude:
a : the view that any ultimate reality (such as a deity) is unknown and probably unknowable : a philosophical or religious position characterized by uncertainty about the existence of a god or any gods Religious agnosticism may accept the ethical value of a religious way of living and even endorse religious ideas as a viable basis for understanding various aspects of human existence.— Gary Gutting
b : an attitude of doubt or uncertainty about something This purposeful agnosticism, which served the tobacco industry well, will sound eerily familiar to anyone following the global warming "debate"—another case in which a few pedigreed skeptics, whose views align with those of a powerful industry, are framing consensus as controversy.— Jonathan Miles The developers of quantum mechanics, attempting to describe the electron's charge or mass or momentum or energy or spin in almost every new equation, nevertheless maintained a silent agnosticism about certain issues of its existence.— James Gleick

First Known Use of agnosticism

1848, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for agnosticism

agnostic entry 2 + -ism

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The first known use of agnosticism was in 1848

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Cite this Entry

“Agnosticism.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on agnosticism

Nglish: Translation of agnosticism for Spanish Speakers

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