Хаксли ввел термин "агностицизм" в философию.
"When I reached intellectual maturity, and began to ask myself
whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist
or an idealist; a Christian or a freethinker, I found that the more
I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until at
last I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with
any of these denominations, except the last. The one thing in which
most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I
differed from them. They were quite sure that they had attained a
certain "gnosis" -- had more or less successfully solved the
problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a
pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble. And, with
Hume and Kant on my side, I could not think myself presumptuous in
holding fast by that opinion. [...]
So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the
appropriate title of "agnostic". It came into my head as
suggestively antithetic to the "gnostic" of Church history, who
professed to know so much about the very things of which I was
ignorant; and I took the earliest opportunity of parading it at our
Society, to show that I, too, had a tail, like the other foxes".
"Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence
of which lies in the rigorous application of a single principle.
That principle is of great antiquity; it is as old as Socrates; as
old as the writer who said, 'Try all things, hold fast by that
which is good'; it is the foundation of the Reformation, which
simply illustrated the axiom that every man should be able to give
a reason for the faith that is in him, it is the great principle of
Descartes; it is the fundamental axiom of modern science.
Positively the principle may be expressed: In matters of the
intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without
regard to any other consideration. And negatively: In matters of
the intellect, do not pretend that conclusions are certain which
are not demonstrated or demonstrable. That I take to be the
agnostic faith, which if a man keep whole and undefiled, he shall
not be ashamed to look the universe in the face, whatever the
future may have in store for him.
The results of the working out of the agnostic principle will
vary according to individual knowledge and capacity, and according
to the general condition of science. That which is unproved today
may be proved, by the help of new discoveries, tomorrow. The only
negative fixed points will be those negations which flow from the
demonstrable limitation of our faculties. And the only obligation
accepted is to have the mind always open to conviction". ["
"That it is wrong for a man to say he is certain of the objective
truth of a proposition unless he can provide evidence which
logically justifies that certainty. This is what agnosticism
asserts and in my opinion, is all that is essential to agnosticism".
["Agnosticism and Christianity", 1889]
"Henceforward, I might hope to hear no more of the assertion that we [Agnostics] are necessarily
Materialists, Idealists, Atheists, Theists, or any other ists, if experience had led me to think
that the proved falsity of a statement was any guarantee against its reputation. And those who
appreciate the nature of our position will see, at once, that when Ecclesiasticism declares that
we ought to believe this, that, and the other, and are very wicked if we don't, it is impossible
for us to give any answer but this: We have not the slightest objection to believe anything you
like, if you will give us good grounds for belief; but, if you cannot, we must respectfully
refuse, even if that refusal should wreck morality and insure our own damnation several times
over. We are quite content to leave that decision to the future. The course of the past has
impressed us with the firm conviction that no good ever comes out of falsehood, and we feel
warranted in refusing even to experiment in that direction" ["Agnosticism and Christianity", 1889]
"I neither affirm nor deny the immortality of man. I see no reason for
believing it, but, on the other hand, I have no means of disproving it. I have no a priori
objections to the doctrine. No man who has to deal daily and hourly with nature can trouble
himself about a priori difficulties. Give me such evidence as would justify me in believing in
anything else, and I will believe that. Why should I not? It is not half so wonderful as the
conservation of force or the indestructibility of matter..."
"It is no use to talk to me of analogies and probabilities. I know what I mean when I say
I believe in the law of the inverse squares, and I will not rest my life and my hopes upon
"That my personality is the surest thing I know may be true. But the attempt to conceive what
it is leads me into mere verbal subtleties. I have champed up all that chaff about the ego and
the non-ego, noumena and phenomena, and all the rest of it, too often not to know that in
attempting even to think of these questions, the human intellect flounders at once out of its
depth..." [Из письма к Чарлзу Кингсли.(Charles Kingsley) от 23 сентября 1860 г.]
"I have never had the least sympathy with the a priori reasons against orthodoxy, and I have
by nature and disposition the greatest possible antipathy to all the atheistic and infidel school.
Nevertheless I know that I am, in spite of myself, exactly what the Christian would call, and,
so far as I can see, is justified in calling, atheist and infidel. I cannot see one shadow or
tittle of evidence that the great unknown underlying the phenomenon of the universe stands to
us in the relation of a Father who loves us and cares for us as Christianity asserts. So with
regard to the other great Christian dogmas, immortality of soul and future state of rewards and
punishments, what possible objection can I—who am compelled perforce to believe in the
immortality of what we call Matter and Force, and in a very unmistakable present state of
rewards and punishments for our deeds—have to these doctrines? Give me a scintilla of evidence,
and I am ready to jump at them". [Из письма к Чарлзу Кингсли.(Charles Kingsley) от 6
мая 1863 г.]
"...inclined to think that not far from the invention of fire must rank the
invention of doubt"
"The only question which a wise man can ask himself is whether a doctrine is
true or false. Consequences will take care of themselves."
of Huxley's writings