We generally agree that a healthy degree of Skepticism is warranted in all or most situations, but how can we tell if a degree of skepticism is “healthy” or “unhealthy”? Taking everything you are told at face value, ignoring everything you are told out of distrust, or delving into the world of far out conspiracy all seem like safe, instructive examples of unhealthy skepticism; but safe instructive examples of healthy skepticism are harder to produce.
Take the example of how we treat academic accounts of history and the nature of reality. Are we responsible for seeking out the sights that bear the marks of history or to reproduce the results which vouch for one account over another? If we do see for ourselves what would then make us so sure we could believe our own eyes or empirical competence? If we follow this path are we doomed to ultimate distrust of everything? Or should we be more trusting, taking the words of our professors at face value and in turn trust their trust of peer-reviewed publications? Perhaps there is some middle ground we should take between these two approaches. If so, what does that approach look like and how do we differentiate it from the approaches listed above?
How does your approach to non-academic accounts differ from your approach to academic accounts? If they do differ, what is the difference between academic and non-academic accounts which warrants the difference in approach?