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Definition of Freethought

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Definition:

Freethought is defined as the process of making decisions and arriving at beliefs without relying solely upon tradition, dogma, or the opinions of authorities. Freethought thus means using science, logic, empiricism, and reason in belief formation, especially in the context of religion. This is why freethought is closely associated with skepticism and critical atheism, but the definition of freethought can be applied to other areas as well like politics, consumer choices, the paranormal, etc.

The definition of freethought means that most freethinkers are also atheists, but atheism is not required. It is possible to be an atheist without also being a freethinker, or to be a freethinker without also being an atheist. This is because the definition of freethought is focused on the means by which a person arrives at conclusion and atheism is the conclusion itself. However much some atheists wish to create a necessary link between atheism and freethought or skepticism, the fact remains that they are logically and empirically separate.

Also Known As: skepticism, critical atheism
Alternate Spellings: free thought
Examples:
Nineteenth-century libertarians, particularly the individualist anarchists associated with Benjamin Tucker's magazine Liberty, identified with the cultural radicalism of their day - including the labor movement, abolitionism, First Wave feminism, freethought, and "free love."
- Charles Johnson, "Liberty, Equality, Solidarity Toward a Dialectical Anarchism" in Anarchism/Minarchism: Is a Government Part of a Free Country?

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