agnosticism

noun

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

Examples of agnosticism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For me, the only sensible position at this point is agnosticism. Sean Illing, Vox, 11 May 2024 Rather, the terms atheism and agnosticism answer different questions, Nick Fish of American Atheists said. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, 10 Mar. 2024 So maybe agnosticism on the green-cheese issue is warranted. Sean Carroll, Discover Magazine, 23 May 2011 But the shift towards a subscription model and the platform agnosticism in mobile feels increasingly inevitable. Simon Hill, WIRED, 24 Mar. 2024 In reality, many people think of agnosticism as a less stringent form of atheism. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, 10 Mar. 2024 But despite the fact that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are quite definitely with us, a certain level of AI agnosticism is still required. Adrian Bridgwater, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 Freud's health is failing, Europe is on the brink of war, and Lewis has come to challenge Freud on his agnosticism. USA TODAY, 18 Jan. 2024 But George Eliot was intensely sincere in both her agnosticism and her moralism. James Wood, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'agnosticism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

agnostic entry 2 + -ism

First Known Use

1848, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of agnosticism was in 1848

Dictionary Entries Near agnosticism

Cite this Entry

“Agnosticism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agnosticism. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

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