What is the Origin and Meaning of “Agnosticism”?

For T.H. Huxley, who coined the term in 1869, agnosticsm was as demanding as any moral, philosophical, or religious creed. Rather than a creed, though, he saw it was a method realized through “the rigorous application of a single principle.”

He expressed it positively as: “Follow your reason as far as it will take you,” and negatively as: “Do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable.”

This principle runs through the Western tradition: from Socrates, via the Reformation and Enlightenment, to the axioms of modern science. Huxley called it the “agnostic faith.”

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