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Agnosticism

AGNOSTICISM.

The heyday of agnosticism was in Victorian Britain between the 1860s and the 1890s. Its leading exponents were Herbert Spencer (18201903), Thomas Henry Huxley (18251895) (who coined the term), Leslie Stephen (18321904), John Tyndall (18201893), and William Kingdon Clifford (18451879). This group all shared a disillusionment with orthodox Christianity; an opposition to the dominance of British science and education by the Anglican establishment; belief in the theory of evolution and in the importance of science more broadly; and an aspiration to replace dogmatism and superstition with a freethinking, scientific, and ethical religion (see Lightman, 1987, 1989, 2002; Pyle; Turner, 1974, 1993). While agnosticism may have been an antitheological and secularist movement, it was certainly not antireligious. The Victorian agnostics were intensely moralistic people who had a deep sense of the spiritual, especially as evoked by the wonders of the natural world.

The Philosophical Sources of Agnosticism

The term agnosticism, as it is used in common parlance, normally refers to a neutral or undecided position on the question of the existence of God. It is shorthand for a rejection of religious faith on the one hand and of outright atheism on the other. The philosophical sources and Victorian expositions of agnosticism, however, reveal it to signify a much broader set of arguments about the limits of human knowledge, whether religious or scientific.

Bernard Lightman's definitive study, The Origins of Agnosticism (1987), places particular emphasis on the concept's Kantian origins. It is true that Kantian views about the limits of speculative reason, the relativity of knowledge, and the active role of the categories of the mind in constituting that knowledge formed an important part of agnosticism. Lightman argues convincingly for the influence of two writers in particularWilliam Hamilton (17881856) and Henry Longueville Mansel (18201871)on later Victorian agnostics. Hamilton was a Scottish metaphysician who, as well as seeing himself as a defender of the Scottish "common sense" philosophy of Thomas Reid (17101796) and Dugald Stewart (17531828), was probably the most important expositor of Kantian philosophy in Britain in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Mansel drew heavily on Hamilton's particular version of Kantianism in his controversial 1858 Bampton Lectures, entitled The Limits of Religious Thought. In these lectures, Mansel argued that speculative reason on its own led to all sorts of contradictions if allowed free rein in the area of theology. His conclusion was that only relative knowledge was possible and that the absolute (or the unconditioned, to use Hamilton's term) was not knowable through the faculties of sense and reason. Mansel's conclusion was that in the realm of theology, final authority must rest with revelation rather than reason. While Mansel believed that he had used Kant's philosophy constructivelyto demonstrate the necessity of revelation and the authority of the Biblecritics from all sides felt that his arguments constituted, in effect, a complete capitulation in the face of rationalism and modern science and a retreat into an extreme form of fideism.

The idea that Kantian philosophy was at the heart of agnosticism needs to be qualified in a couple of ways (as Lightman himself acknowledges). First, Hamilton and Mansel were far from being simply followers of Kant. They tried to make use of his ideas for their own polemical purposes and certainly did not agree with or reproduce his entire system. The attempt to use philosophy to undermine reason in the realm of theology and establish the necessity and authority of revelation is certainly not "Kantian" in the sense of being a teaching of Kant. Second, a recognition of the influence of Kant on Victorian agnostics should not obscure the very important contributions of David Hume (17111776), to whom Kant himself famously acknowledged an important debt, and of other philosophers in the Scottish tradition. These included Reid and Stewart, in whose footsteps Hamilton was following, as well as Hamilton's principal philosophical antagonist, the empiricist John Stuart Mill (18061873). The agnostic philosophy of Thomas Huxley, for instance, was based on a teaching central to the Scottish school, namely that "mind" and "matter" were merely shorthand terms for unknown realities that underlie the world of experience (which is the only domain in which we can have knowledge).

Victorian Agnosticism

Herbert Spencer's First Principles (1862) laid the groundwork for the hugely ambitious, multivolume Synthetic Philosophy, finally completed in 1896, which articulated Spencer's vision of how philosophy, biology, sociology, ethics, religion, and society itself needed to be reconceptualized and transformed in the light of the doctrine of evolution (see Peel). The first part of the First Principles, entitled "The Unknowable," was considered the Bible of agnosticism for the rest of the Victorian period. Spencer argued that science and religion could be reconciled if they recognized that both, ultimately, were concerned with realities whose foundations were beyond the grasp of human knowledge. However, while science could get on with measuring, analyzing, and interpreting observable phenomena, nothing was left for theologians but total silence in the face of the unknowable. There was no role for revelation in Spencer's proposed scientific and agnostic religion, and Mansel's conservative critics saw

Thomas Huxley and the Coining of Agnostic

Thomas Henry Huxley (18251895) rose to prominence in Victorian Britain as a man of science and a brilliant and combative essayist. His polemical defenses of the theory of evolution against its theological detractors, especially in a legendary debate with Samuel Wilberforce (18051873), the bishop of Oxford, in 1860, earned him the nickname "Darwin's Bulldog." His writings covered topics in philosophy and politics as well as natural sciencehe was a passionate advocate of better and more widely accessible state education, especially in the sciences. His writings, which included a book on the philosophy of Hume, also reveal the depth and breadth of his learning in the areas of philosophy, religion, and theology. The following excerpt from his 1889 essay "Agnosticism" is Huxley's own account of how and why he had come to coin the term agnostic some twenty years earlier.

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; 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 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. Like Dante,

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, but, unlike Dante, I cannot add, Che la diritta via era smarrita.

On the contrary, I had, and have, the firmest conviction that I never left the "verace via"the straight road; and that this road led nowhere else but into the dark depths of a wild and tangled forest. And though I have found leopards and lions in the path; though I have made abundant acquaintance with the hungry wolf, that "with privy paw devours apace and nothing said," as another great poet says of the ravening beast; and though no friendly spectre has even yet offered his guidance, I was, and am, minded to go straight on, until I either come out on the other side of the wood, or find there is no other side to it, at least, none attainable by me.

This was my situation when I had the good fortune to find a place among the members of that remarkable confraternity of antagonists, long since deceased, but of green and pious memory, the Metaphysical Society. Every variety of philosophical and theological opinion was represented there, and expressed itself with entire openness; most of my colleagues were -ists of one sort or another; and, however kind and friendly they might be, I, the man without a rag of a label to cover himself with, could not fail to have some of the uneasy feelings which must have beset the historical fox when, after leaving the trap in which his tail remained, he presented himself to his normally elongated companions. 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. To my great satisfaction, the term took; and when the Spectator had stood godfather to it, any suspicion in the minds of respectable people, that a knowledge of its parentage might have awakened was, of course, completely lulled.

source: Thomas Huxley, "Agnosticism," in his Collected Essays, 9 vols. (London: Macmillan, 18931894), pp. 237239.

in Spencer's system exactly the conclusions they had feared would follow from Mansel's teachings on the impotence of human reason in the theological realm.

Although Spencer was later generally considered to be the leading representative of agnosticism, the terms agnostic and agnosticism did not themselves come into use until about ten years after the publication of the First Principles. The terms gained currency through their use by Spencer but also by the theologian and journalist R. H. Hutton, the editor of the Spectator in the 1870s, and the lapsed Anglican minister Leslie Stephen, who, after leaving the Church of England, wrote An Agnostic's Apology (1876).

Although he made some use of the term in his writings from the 1870s onward, it was only in 1889 that Thomas Huxley revealed himself as the inventor of the terms agnostic and agnosticism and explained how and why he had come to coin them (Lightman, 2002). One of Huxley's earlier essays that gained him much attention (and much criticism) was entitled "On the Physical Basis of Life" (reprinted in Collected Essays, vol. 1). This essay, based on a lecture delivered in Edinburgh in 1868, just a year before he coined the term agnostic, is one of the most helpful illustrations of the essence of Huxley's agnosticism. Although the essay was criticized for espousing a materialistic view of life (the idea that all living things are made up of the same substance"protoplasm"), in fact it defended a nescient or radically empiricist understanding of science as producing nothing more than a set of symbols with which to describe and organize observable phenomena. Huxley rejected materialism on the grounds that it was impossible for empirical science to determine anything at all about the nature of any putative substance or substances underlying the phenomena or of any supposed laws or causes. "In itself," Huxley said, "it is of little moment whether we express the phænomena of matter in terms of spirit; or the phænomena of spirit in terms of matter: matter may be regarded as a form of thought, thought may be regarded as a property of mattereach statement has a certain relative truth" (18931894, vol. 1, p. 164). (The materialistic terminology was to be preferred, however, for the pragmatic reason that it connected with other areas of scientific investigation, which were expressed in the same terms, and for the reason that spiritualistic terminology was entirely barren.) Huxley denied that this was a "new philosophy" and especially that it was the invention of the positivist Auguste Comte (17981857), as some supposed. Comte, he said, lacked entirely "the vigour of thought and the exquisite clearness of style" of the true author of this philosophy, "the man whom I make bold to term the most acute thinker of the eighteenth centuryeven though that century produced Kant" (18931894, vol. 1, p. 158). The man Huxley had in mind, of course, was Hume.

The closing pages of "On the Physical Basis of Life," then, show several important things about Huxley's agnosticism. They show that Huxley felt the need for a new labelagnostic not in order to distance himself from Christianity (everyone already knew he was an opponent of theological orthodoxy) but primarily in order to repudiate the labels materialist, atheist, and positivist. They also show that Huxley considered Hume to be at least as important as Kant, if not more important, in the historical pedigree of agnosticism. And finally, they show that agnosticism involved admitting ignorance about the fundamental nature of the physical universe as well as about the existence and attributes of the divine.

Agnosticism in the Twentieth Century

The scientific and religious creed of agnosticism died with Leslie Stephen in 1904. However, the philosophical and theological questions around which it was based, especially about the relationship between the observable and the unobservable, persisted into the twentieth century (although not generally under the banner of agnosticism).

The logical positivism of the earlier twentieth century, along with more recent antirealist philosophies of science (such as Bas van Fraassen's "constructive empiricism" as developed in his 1980 book, The Scientific Image ), have contained some of the radically empiricist elements of agnosticism as endorsed by Huxley (and derived from Hume and Mill). These philosophers have insisted that all true knowledge must be grounded in experience and that since we cannot have direct experience of unobservable substances, entities, laws, or causes, we must treat them as, at best, useful fictions that serve as shorthand for empirical generalizations. Logical positivists dismissed all "metaphysical" discourse, which claimed to describe underlying realities, as meaningless. In this they agreed both with Comtean positivists and with agnostics.

In the realm of religion and theology, the problems that were central to the agnosticsespecially the difficulty of reconciling religion and morality with a scientific worldviewcontinued to occupy religious thinkers (see Dixon). Some, such as Thomas Huxley's grandson Julian Sorell Huxley (18871975), put forward "evolutionary humanism" as a scientific religion based on reason and morality but without revelation. Others took a similar approach but while remaining within the Christian tradition. Don Cupitt, for instance, in books such as Taking Leave of God (1980) and The Sea of Faith (1984), adopted a "nonrealist" metaphysics and articulated a post-theological version of the Christian religion. For Cupitt, himself a minister in the Church of England, the claims of Christian theology should not be taken to refer to unseen supernatural realities, such as a personal God, but to be expressions of human values and aspirations.

So scientists seeking to give expression to a religious impulse while retaining their intellectual integrity along with theologians looking for an interpretation of the gospel that will resonate in a secular and scientific world have both continued the religious project that the Victorian agnostics had begun.

See also Atheism ; Christianity ; Gnosticism ; Skepticism .

bibliography

PRIMARY SOURCES

Blinderman, Charles, and David Joyce, eds. "The Huxley File." Available at http://aleph0.clarku.edu/huxley. This is an invaluable online resource at Clark University, providing information on Huxley's life and works and access to hundreds of Huxley's published and unpublished writings.

Cupitt, Don. Taking Leave of God. London: SCM, 1980.

Huxley, Thomas H. "Agnosticism," "Agnosticism: A Rejoinder," and "Agnosticism and Christianity." Nineteenth Century 25 (1889): 169194, 481504, 937964. Reprinted in Thomas H. Huxley, Collected Essays, vol. 5: Science and Christian Tradition. London: Macmillan, 1894.

. Collected Essays. 9 vols. London: Macmillan, 18931894.

Pyle, Andrew, ed. Agnosticism: Contemporary Responses to Spencer and Huxley. Bristol: Thoemmes, 1995.

Spencer, Herbert. First Principles. London: Williams and Norgate, 1862. Especially pt. 1.

Van Fraassen, Bas. The Scientific Image. Oxford: Clarendon, 1980.

SECONDARY SOURCES

Budd, Susan. Varieties of Unbelief: Atheists and Agnostics in English Society, 18501960. London: Heinemann, 1977.

Cockshut, A. O. J. The Unbelievers: English Agnostic Thought, 18401890. London: Collins, 1964.

Desmond, Adrian. Huxley: From Devil's Disciple to Evolution's High Priest. London: Penguin, 1998.

Dixon, Thomas. "Scientific Atheism as a Faith Tradition." Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 33 (2002): 337359.

Helmstadter, Richard J., and Bernard Lightman, eds. Victorian Faith in Crisis: Essays on Continuity and Change in Nineteenth-Century Religious Belief. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1990.

Lightman, Bernard. "Huxley and Scientific Agnosticism: The Strange History of a Failed Rhetorical Strategy." British Journal for the History of Science 35 (2002): 271289.

. "Ideology, Evolution, and Late-Victorian Agnostic Popularizers." In History, Humanity, and Evolution: Essays for John C. Greene, edited by James Moore. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

. The Origins of Agnosticism: Victorian Unbelief and the Limits of Knowledge. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987.

Peel, J. D. Y. Herbert Spencer: The Evolution of a Sociologist. New York: Basic Books, 1971.

Turner, Frank M. Between Science and Religion: The Reaction to Scientific Naturalism in Late Victorian England. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1974.

. Contesting Cultural Authority: Essays in Victorian Intellectual Life. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

White, Paul. Thomas Huxley: Making the "Man of Science." Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Thomas Dixon

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Agnosticism

Agnosticism

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Agnosticism concerns the withholding of a persons judgment, or belief, on a matter. Such withholding entails neither believing in favor of nor believing against a phenomenon in question. With regard to the question of Gods existence, for instance, an agnostic would believe neither that God exists nor that God does not exist. Agnosticism can be directed toward any alleged phenomenon. It need not be limited to the issue of Gods existence. It thus is equivalent to skepticism. One might be agnostic about the external world, minds, God, non-physical entities, causal relations, and future truths, among other things. Sextus Empiricus (fl. c. 150 CE), David Hume (1711-1776), and Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) have supported influential versions of agnosticism.

Cognitive agnosticism about an alleged entity (say, God) entails that, owing to counterbalanced or at least highly mixed evidence, one should withhold belief regarding the proposition that God exists. That is, one should neither believe that God exists nor believe that God does not exist. Doxastic agnosticism about God, in contrast, entails that one actually withholds belief regarding the proposition that God exists. A doxastic agnostic can consistently say: I withhold judgment whether God exists, but I have no commitment regarding the status of the overall available evidence on the matter. So a person could be a doxastic agnostic without being a cognitive agnostic. Cognitive agnostics about God, however, are logically required to recommend doxastic agnosticism about God, at least on cognitive grounds, even if they fail at times actually to withhold judgment regarding Gods existence.

A common motivation for agnosticism regarding an issue is a concern to avoid error or at least to minimize the risk of error in ones beliefs. The concern is that if relevant evidence is highly mixed, then in answering either yes or no to a question, one seriously risks falling into error, that is, false belief. The better alternative, according to agnostics, is to refrain from answering either yes or no, that is, to withhold judgment. Refraining from believing that something exists while refraining from believing that it does not exist can save one from mistaken belief. There is, however, a price to pay: One will then miss out on an opportunity to acquire truth in the area in question. For instance, it is true either that God exists or that God does not exist. Agnostics in principle forgo acquiring a truth in this area of reality.

Agnostics about the issue of Gods existence do not endorse atheism about God. They do not affirm that God does not exist; nor do they propose that our overall available evidence indicates that God does not exist. Agnostics hold that (at least for their own situation) atheism goes too far in the negative direction, just as (they hold for at least their own situation) theism goes too far in the positive direction. Theism, like agnosticism and atheism, can be either cognitive or doxastic. Doxastic theists hold that God exists. Cognitive theists hold that, owing to the overall available evidence, one should believe that God exists. Agnostics hold that, at least for their own situation, theism and atheism go too far, positively or negatively, in the area of belief.

An underlying assumption of cognitive agnosticism is that Gods existence would need to be more obvious to justify acknowledgment. This assumption has given rise to extensive contemporary discussion about divine hidden-ness and elusiveness. The discussion shows no sign of ending any time soon.

SEE ALSO Atheism; Monotheism; Reality; Religion; Theism

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Copan, Paul, and Paul K. Moser, eds. 2003. The Rationality of Theism. London: Routledge.

Greco, John, ed. 2008. The Oxford Handbook of Skepticism. New York: Oxford University Press.

Howard-Snyder, Daniel, and Paul K. Moser, eds. 2002. Divine Hiddenness: New Essays. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Moser, Paul K. 1993. Philosophy after Objectivity: Making Sense in Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press.

Paul K. Moser

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Agnosticism

AGNOSTICISM

AGNOSTICISM, denying that human beings can know if God exists, emerged in the 1860s and 1870s as the opinion of a small but influential minority of religiously serious, well-read Americans. Many belonged to the class of writers, academics, and scientists soon labeled "intellectuals." They commonly enjoyed relatively high economic and social status. The word "agnosticism" itself was coined in 1869 (from Greek roots denoting "un-known") by the English scientist Thomas Huxley, and American agnosticism closely tracked similar, somewhat earlier tendencies among British bourgeois intelligentsia. Several of the most prominent early American agnostics—such as the scholar and cultural critic Charles Eliot Norton, the journalist E. L. Godkin, the historian Henry Adams, and the jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.—were deeply entwined in transatlantic webs of friendships that linked the two countries' intellectual life. And as these names suggest, agnosticism first developed in the United States among urban northeasterners.

Agnosticism was not so much a positive belief as a negative conclusion. Victorian agnostics wished to apply to all questions of knowledge what they took to be the criteria of the natural and human sciences. To decide matters of fact by any other standard they characteristically regarded as immoral—a credo classically articulated in the 1870s by the English mathematician William Clifford: "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for every one, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence." That agnostics readily carried this principle into religious issues can be explained not only by widespread faith in science but more specifically by the fact that for two centuries theological writers had enlisted science to prove religious belief. That this hoary scientific apologetic foundered after 1860 owed much to contraction by scientists of what counted as scientific evidence, a restriction associated especially with Darwinism. In ensuing decades, a growing number of Americans weighed the evidence for the existence of God and concluded that nothing approaching scientific evidence existed to prove a God.

Typically, agnostics bore no grudge against those who did retain faith in God. Although agnostics tended to see themselves as clearer thinkers and more rigorous moralists, they rarely trumpeted their unbelief or publicly attacked the churches. In this, agnosticism was unlike atheism, actively denying God. Atheism in both the United States and Europe flowed from dislike of organized religion, and atheists—their outrage at "priestcraft" often stoked by class resentment—were usually anticlericals. Lacking powerful established churches to resent, the United States proved much less fertile ground for atheism than did Europe, and agnosticism became the more common form of unbelief.

Agnosticism was entrenched in American culture by 1900, although the vast majority of Americans have continued to believe in God. Unbelief has probably remained chiefly an opinion of intellectual elites, especially academic ones. Unlike atheists, agnostics have rarely felt any need to institutionalize their views (the Ethical Culture movement was a rare exception, founded in 1876 by Felix Adler). To invent a structure to house a lack of beliefs perhaps seemed oxymoronic. Hence, agnosticism did not really evolve intellectually after establishing itself (except among academic philosophers) but rather in the twentieth century blended into low-key religious indifferentism.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Turner, James. Without God, Without Creed: The Origins of Un-belief in America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985.

JamesTurner

See alsoAtheism ; Science and Religion, Relations of .

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Agnosticism

Agnosticism (Gk., a + gnōstos, ‘not know’). A position distinguished from theism and atheism equally, by its view that neither in principle nor in fact is it possible to know God's nature or even whether he exists. In its broadest sense, agnosticism is compatible with deep religious commitment, as in the case of Nicholas of Cusa or of Henry Mansel (1820–71); in its narrower and more specific sense, however, it normally implies a certain detachment in matters religious. The term itself was coined by T. H. Huxley (1825–95), who defined its basic principles as repudiation of all metaphysical speculation and of most Christian doctrine as unproven or unprovable, and the application of scientific method to the study of all matters of fact and experience.

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agnosticism

agnosticism (ăgnŏs´tĬsĬzəm), form of skepticism that holds that the existence of God cannot be logically proved or disproved. Among prominent agnostics have been Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, and T. H. Huxley (who coined the word agnostic in 1869). Immanuel Kant was an agnostic who argued that belief in divinity can rest only on faith. Agnosticism is not to be confused with atheism, which asserts that there is no God.

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agnostic

ag·nos·tic / agˈnästik/ • n. a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God. • adj. of or relating to agnostics or agnosticism. DERIVATIVES: ag·nos·ti·cism / -təˌsizəm/ n.

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agnostic

agnostic a person holding the view that nothing can be known of the existence of God or anything beyond material phenomena. The word is recorded from the mid 19th century, and comes from a- ‘not’ + gnostic ‘of or relating to knowledge’; it was coined by the English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–95) to describe his own beliefs.

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agnosticism

agnosticism Philosophical viewpoint according to which it is impossible either to demonstrate or refute the existence of a supreme being or ultimate cause on the basis of available evidence. It was particularly associated with the rationalism of Thomas Huxley and is used as a reasoned basis for the rejection of both Christianity and atheism.

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agnostic

agnostic XIX. f. A-4 + GNOSTIC; invented by T. H. Huxley.

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"agnostic." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved September 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/agnostic-2

agnostic

agnosticachromatic, acrobatic, Adriatic, aerobatic, anagrammatic, aquatic, aristocratic, aromatic, Asiatic, asthmatic, athematic, attic, autocratic, automatic, axiomatic, bureaucratic, charismatic, chromatic, cinematic, climatic, dalmatic, democratic, diagrammatic, diaphragmatic, diplomatic, dogmatic, dramatic, ecstatic, emblematic, emphatic, enigmatic, epigrammatic, erratic, fanatic, hepatic, hieratic, hydrostatic, hypostatic, idiomatic, idiosyncratic, isochromatic, lymphatic, melodramatic, meritocratic, miasmatic, monochromatic, monocratic, monogrammatic, numismatic, operatic, panchromatic, pancreatic, paradigmatic, phlegmatic, photostatic, piratic, plutocratic, pneumatic, polychromatic, pragmatic, prelatic, prismatic, problematic, programmatic, psychosomatic, quadratic, rheumatic, schematic, schismatic, sciatic, semi-automatic, Socratic, somatic, static, stigmatic, sub-aquatic, sylvatic, symptomatic, systematic, technocratic, thematic, theocratic, thermostatic, traumatic •anaphylactic, ataractic, autodidactic, chiropractic, climactic, didactic, galactic, lactic, prophylactic, syntactic, tactic •asphaltic •antic, Atlantic, corybantic, frantic, geomantic, gigantic, mantic, necromantic, pedantic, romantic, semantic, sycophantic, transatlantic •synaptic •bombastic, drastic, dynastic, ecclesiastic, elastic, encomiastic, enthusiastic, fantastic, gymnastic, iconoclastic, mastic, monastic, neoplastic, orgastic, orgiastic, pederastic, periphrastic, plastic, pleonastic, sarcastic, scholastic, scholiastic, spastic •matchstick • candlestick • panstick •slapstick • cathartic •Antarctic, arctic, subantarctic, subarctic •Vedantic • yardstick •aesthetic (US esthetic), alphabetic, anaesthetic (US anesthetic), antithetic, apathetic, apologetic, arithmetic, ascetic, athletic, balletic, bathetic, cosmetic, cybernetic, diabetic, dietetic, diuretic, electromagnetic, emetic, energetic, exegetic, frenetic, genetic, Helvetic, hermetic, homiletic, kinetic, magnetic, metic, mimetic, parenthetic, pathetic, peripatetic, phonetic, photosynthetic, poetic, prophetic, prothetic, psychokinetic, splenetic, sympathetic, syncretic, syndetic, synthetic, telekinetic, theoretic, zetetic •apoplectic, catalectic, dialectic, eclectic, hectic •Celtic •authentic, crescentic •aseptic, dyspeptic, epileptic, nympholeptic, peptic, proleptic, sceptic (US skeptic), septic •domestic, majestic •cretic •analytic, anchoritic, anthracitic, arthritic, bauxitic, calcitic, catalytic, critic, cryptanalytic, Cushitic, dendritic, diacritic, dioritic, dolomitic, enclitic, eremitic, hermitic, lignitic, mephitic, paralytic, parasitic, psychoanalytic, pyritic, Sanskritic, saprophytic, Semitic, sybaritic, syenitic, syphilitic, troglodytic •apocalyptic, cryptic, diptych, elliptic, glyptic, styptic, triptych •aoristic, artistic, autistic, cystic, deistic, distich, egoistic, fistic, holistic, juristic, logistic, monistic, mystic, puristic, sadistic, Taoistic, theistic, truistic, veristic •fiddlestick •dipstick, lipstick •impolitic, politic •polyptych • hemistich • heretic •nightstick •abiotic, amniotic, antibiotic, autoerotic, chaotic, demotic, despotic, erotic, exotic, homoerotic, hypnotic, idiotic, macrobiotic, meiotic, narcotic, neurotic, osmotic, patriotic, psychotic, quixotic, robotic, sclerotic, semiotic, symbiotic, zygotic, zymotic •Coptic, optic, panoptic, synoptic •acrostic, agnostic, diagnostic, gnostic, prognostic •knobstick • chopstick • aeronautic •Baltic, basaltic, cobaltic •caustic • swordstick • photic • joystick •psychotherapeutic, therapeutic •acoustic • broomstick • cultic •fustic, rustic •drumstick • gearstick • lunatic

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"agnostic." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Sep. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"agnostic." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/agnostic-0

"agnostic." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved September 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/agnostic-0