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What is reason?

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MadArchitect

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Re: What is reason?

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So in essence, you don't think we can define any of the above. Noted. Moving on...
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Re: What is reason?

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Dissident Heart: Maybe reason keeps faith in line, and faith gives reason something to aspire towards?I've made the argument before, usually to a great deal of opposition, that logic can only operate on premises that stand on a kernal of faith. If we decide that logic is essential to reason, then that suggests that faith is essential as well.This sounds like a very dangerous idea, which certainly doesn't make it any more ture or false.It's only dangerous if, like the Enlightenment thinkers, you base equality of rights on the universality of Reason. With another foundation for extending rights to humans, the critique of Enlightenment Reason isn't terribly upsetting at all.
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Interbane

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Re: What is reason?

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DH: "This behavior is insane, delusional, wacky, irrational...and it is reason that tells me so." I think it's this same idea that's behind me saying reason is trump on this forum. Reason is an instrument(the tool) we use in discussion of things such as love and madness, but love and madness in this case are the topic(the subject) we are reasoning about. They aren't much different from reasoning about black holes or abortion. The minor difference is, there are cases due to their interrelationships with reason that lead us to reason about reason. But this still leaves reason as the main instrument for debate on this forum, since we are using reason as a tool to talk about reason as a subject. Give me one example of love being the instrument in this forum. I can think of one way love becomes an instrument rather than a subject, and it has little to do with the details of these conversations.DH: "Reason patrols the borders of madness; madness is constantly encroaching on reason. At least that is another assertion, one I think worth exploring in this discussion."Are reason and madness opposites of a sort? Seems a good thing to discuss. Knowing opposites helps understanding.DH: "I will choose [reason] above all else as my guide and shepherd; reason will serve as my beacon and compass; there will be no drive, passion, feeling or attachment higher than the command of reason." ?You do realize that you use reasoning very much on this forum, and if you weren't able to reason as well as you do, you'd have no place here. Why do you use reasoning on this forum?For me, reason is not my guide nor shepherd, it is a mental instrument. To say that having high respect of reason means abandoning passion, drive, or feeling is simply incorrect. The pope uses reason and logic very well, and I'm sure many religious people value reason as one of the most important human attributes. "When you define something using anything but its opposite, then are you not just deferring meaning or going in a circle?"A definition need not have it's opposite to define it, but to get a good understanding, the opposite should be discussed I think.MA: "Actually, I'd be very interested to see how Interbane would define reason... "So far any definition I'm comfortable with eludes me. How do you look at a photon? With another photon! But you can't actually do that, the uncertainty principle throws a wrench in the works. The closest I get so understanding it comes with viewing knowledge as objective, though I'm sure that's not what you want to hear. Objectifying knowledge embodies it into something rigid enough to be worked into the definition, or something like that. DH: "The flaw in this analogy is that Nietzsche is not identifiying Love with Reason or Reason with Madness, (some Gunkles ARE Bunkles) but saying that they are present in each other in different ways: they mix, mingle, cross borders and boundaries, and find themselves interacting and influencing each."Actually, my analogy was pointing toward the opposite, that it's not necessarily true that they cross borders, or mix and mingle according to that quote. It is impossible to say that they mix and mingle according to the quote you've given, using simple logic. Keep in mind I'm not saying that they don't mix and mingle, but that your avenue in making that assertion is a quote that doesn't necessarily imply it. As faculties of the mind, there are of course interrelationships. But it seems like there's nothing more fundamental in this thread to allow us to jump ahead and discuss that... from what I've read anyway. It went from basic building blocks to 'love and reason are interrelated!'Me: "In any definition of reason that I have form myself, the word 'shepherd' never comes up. It's not anything to do with religion, let's keep them separate."Reason plays a role in religion, but you're approaching a definition of reason with religious verbiage.DH: "Again, why you think human experience can be so simply separated: emotions over here, reason over there, passions under there, religion in the garage.....doesn't seem rational to me."Hehe, you're a jumbled mess then. Can you not tell the difference between love and reason? Sure you can, reason it out, I'm sure love won't give you the answer. If we want religion and love involved, we could write a book about reason and I'm sure they'd come up, but I haven't even seen something wholly satisfying mentioned yet in this thread to do with a basic understanding of reason.DH: "What determines the "place" for reason and love? "?Good question. Answer it yourself using only reason, then only love. How can love even give an answer? Love is only included in this forum as a topic in most cases, not an instrument. Reason is the instrument we use most here.DH: "Why does any forum require a "trump"?It's not a requirement as I see it, it's simply the case with reasoning. Between knowledge and reasoning though, it's more difficult to tell which is more important in a forum like this.DH: "Care to elaborate on the calculus/values that helps you to keep reason, love and other passions in check?"I get the sense that you think I'm a cold, heartless machine. I've never seen you use love as the instrument in any debate on this forum yet, only reason. You talk about love. There is separation even from you between the two, you simply fail to see it.MA: "Is there any particular reason that logic is so strictly associated with reason?"Reasoning as a means to arrive at the truth would be almost inseperable from logic...MA: "if we accept the relation of science to reason, we ought to be able to discern as parts of reason that may be exercised independently of scientific method."The focus is highlighted here. I'm getting a better image of how to define reason. It's almost as though reality is presented to us, through (objective) knowledge, sensory input, whatever, in one jumbled ambiguous mass. We then place it through the filter of reason to sort the true from the false. Our methods of doing so are methods of reasoning; inductive, deductive, logical(or are the prior two part of the latter?). Logic may be the best method, to be employed whenever possible, as it has the best track record. It's the territory outside the jurisdiction of logic that has me confused on how to more concisely understand reason.MA: "Well, in this case the "what" is Chris O'Conner and the support that he receives from the constituency of this sight. The mission statement says that reason is the overriding method and topic of discussion on BookTalk. That may seem arbitrary, but them's the rules."I see that rule as being only beneficial. You can't talk out of your ass, you must have a reason. But like I've said, provide a serious response that lacks reason, or doesn't use reason as the primary tool in formulating the response. Quoting Neitszche is an example I guess, to let another do the thinking for you, but quotes contain the reasoning of another person, which counts as well. I've seen you verbally kick people in the teeth who've lacked reasoning in their posts MA. Lan: "Imagination can play a role in reason - Einstein was famous for using "thought experiments" to provide new directions to explore."In that case I'd say imagination in conjunction with reason played a role in providing new avenues to probe. Almost as though he used reason to focus his imagination in a direction and release it to do it's magic.DH: "If this is true, would a reasonable person endorse the belief, Article 1 from the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights:"I'm a reasonable person, and I'd endorse that on faith. Not sure how that response ties into what Lan had to say though.MA: "It is worthwhile, I think, to question whether or not we have any basis for thinking that Reason is really universal among humans."It seems that reasoning is not an attribute, so can't be universal, it's an act, or something similar. The capacity for reasoning is what may or may not be universal. I think this ties into our discussion on intelligence. Some people may be have an incredible capacity to reason, while others are borderline neanderthals. If we were inhabiting the earth with a few species of primates with an intellectual capacity between that of humans and chimps, perhaps the question would be easier to answer. I'm sure if such a species existed, some of the most intelligent of it's kind would be able to reason better than the least intelligent of our kind.MA: "If we decide that logic is essential to reason, then that suggests that faith is essential as well."I'd agree with that, though I'm wondering what ever happened with our conversation on faith? Some faith is necessary. But it is the object of faith, that if it's able to be reasoned about, should be critically examined before having faith in it. I didn't have faith that I should have faith, so after critically examining faith, I now have faith that faith is necessary. Simple faith mind you, not religious.
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Dissident Heart

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Love's Reason

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Interbane: Give me one example of love being the instrument in this forum.In the face of so much irrationality, madness, lunacy, and obtuse disregard for the facts: via outright ignorance and stupidity; or manipulation and deciet; or enticement and reward; or fear, minimization, and denial...when confronted with all the ways people reject and avoid reason, why be reasonable? Why not succumb to the long and ugly parade of madmen and lunatics, sociopaths and imbeciles, idiots and fools: submit to the lure and threat of ignorance, forfeiting your rare spark of reason to the far more ominous glare of madness?I submit that this is where love fits in, as well as faith, and hope too. Love, in this case, is that which spurs the will to care enough for yourself and the rest of our terribly confused bretheren to stay rational: in other words Love is the reason we maintain rationality.Hope says the love of humanity via rationality will not be wasted, or futile.Faith says risk it, try it, take the plunge. Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 1/30/06 11:55 am
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Re: Love's Reason

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Dissident Heart asks:Quote:If this is true, would a reasonable person endorse the belief, Article 1 from the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights:All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. A reasonable person certainly could support that statement. There is a lot of historical evidence showing what happens when a society does not permit equal rights among all citizens. We have had Kings that rule by divine right over serfs, religious leaders that kill anyone who differs in minute ways on doctrine, and even the U.S. Constitution permitted slavery until it was amended. So yes, a reasonable person could look at history and conclude that U.N. Resolution is correct.
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Dissident Heart

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Re: What is reason?

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Landroid: There is a lot of historical evidence showing what happens when a society does not permit equal rights among all citizens.True. Oppression, tyranny, gulags, concentration camps, plantations, reservations, etc...But is there a lot of historical evidence to support your agreement that a reasonable person would support:Quote:All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.How does reason show that all persons, in all places and at all times are born with these qualities demanding these dignities and rights? Furthermore why does reason require us to follow a particular moral course tied to a "spirit of brotherhood"? Why are gulags, concentration camps, tyranny and oppression considered irrational?
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Re: What is reason?

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Sorry it took me so long to get back to this thread. My time has been limited lately.Interbane: Are reason and madness opposites of a sort? Seems a good thing to discuss.Yeah, maybe we should pay some attention to this question. Traditionally, I'd say they are.Here's the tricky thing about madness, though -- it would appear that those who are mad still exercise logic. They can follow out an argument, but what keeps it from being reasonable, it seems to me, is that they're premises are often delusional and cannot be corrected. Shakespeare had it right, there is method in it.The closest I get so understanding it comes with viewing knowledge as objective, though I'm sure that's not what you want to hear.Doesn't bother me to hear it, but I do feel that it needs to be added that, if reason depends on our capacity for objective knowledge, then we can never be truly reasonable.I've seen you verbally kick people in the teeth who've lacked reasoning in their posts MA.Well, otherwise I'd be wasting a perfectly good pair of Logic Allstars.The capacity for reasoning is what may or may not be universal.From the Enlightenment point of view, that doesn't change the question all that much. If some people aren't capable of reasoning, then the Enlightenment conceit tends towards a tyranny of the Reasonable over the Unreasonable.I'd agree with that, though I'm wondering what ever happened with our conversation on faith?It's somewhere in the listing, I'm sure. But that was a two-point discussion. I was point a and you were point b, and no one else intersected the line between us. I doubt anyone else would have any idea what we meant if we casually dropped the phrase "simple faith" into this discussion.Some faith is necessary. But it is the object of faith, that if it's able to be reasoned about, should be critically examined before having faith in it.No, I'd say that at one point or another, you have to take some object of faith as a given, and refrain from subjecting it to a critical appraisal. Otherwise, you're stuck back in that infinite regress, because you have just as much reason to question the logic of the premises that allowed you to appraise the object of faith in question.
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Re: What is reason?

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Interbane: Give me one example of love being the instrument in this forum.DH: "Love, in this case, is that which spurs the will to care enough for yourself and the rest of our terribly confused bretheren to stay rational: in other words Love is the reason we maintain rationality."I'm not so sure that love is the main reason we are rational. I can't say I'm able to envision a person who is rational yet lacks love, but at the same time I think they mutually co-exist rather than one entirely relying on the other.You gave the one answer that I said I could think of; that participation here may be due to love of rationality, or perhaps love of reading, or love of this forum. Other than that, I can't see love being the primary faculty by which we come to conclusions or debate. It may very well motivate reason, but my point is that reason itself is the primary tool, not love.It may not be the case that love of rationality is what lures some people into debates on this forum. Perhaps there are some who are so arrogant, that love of themselves is what brings them here, so they may feel pride by out maneuvering others in games of wordsmithing.Or perhaps there are some people who do love, yet love plays no part in them coming to this forum. It's merely a way to spend the time, and keep the mind from going idle. Rationality to them is like walking, they do not love it; it's merely a means to an end.For all cases though, reason is the one faculty that must be present for respectable posting. On this forum, we may do without love, but not without reason.MAA method to the madness... if that phrase holds any truth, then depending on how reason is defined, madness can't be the opposite. Comparing reason to madness may be comparing apples to oranges. Madness seems to be a state of mind, whereas reason is a mental process. What also obfuscates finding an opposite is that people can reason out a false answer. Perhaps we should bring to light that not all reasoning is sound, and that if we are to define reason, the definition must include the possibility of false conclusions. That's somewhat obvious, but maybe the opposite of reason is bad reasoning?MA: "...if reason depends on our capacity for objective knowledge, then we can never be truly reasonable."Could you expand on that?MA: "If some people aren't capable of reasoning, then the Enlightenment conceit tends towards a tyranny of the Reasonable over the Unreasonable."We were talking about whether or not reasoning was a universal trait. I said that the capacity for reasoning may or may not be universal. Depending on how you define unreasonable, I might need your response on whether or not bad reasoning(unreasonable?) is the opposite of reason.Without the capacity to reason, you can't even have bad reasoning. What's left is null reasoning, no reasoning whatsoever. That would serve as a good polar opposite, except that the non-existance of something can't really be counted as an opposite.
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Re: What is reason?

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Interbane: I can't see love being the primary faculty by which we come to conclusions or debate. It may very well motivate reason, but my point is that reason itself is the primary tool, not love.I agree. If all we are discussing is the parameters of debate within this forum, then reason is the primary tool. But if we extend beyond the generally safe locale of Booktalk, and enter into the world of gulags, concentration camps, organized crime, family abuse, schoolyard bullies and other high stake settings...where choices have visceral consequences...then I argue that love becomes far more crucial to the equation.When facing the ridiculous irrationality of people, it is love that keeps us reasonable. When the stakes are not so high nor the threat so deadly, then perhaps love is not the driving factor. Then, as you mention, it might be simply habit and routine, a means to an end that seeks reason. But, when the herd goes bezerk and the crowd demands conformity to foolish nonsense, I assert it is love that says "Stay cool, keep your head, be brave, don't give in, it's worth the sacrifice...it's probably going to hurt, may cost you your job, bring harm to your family, your health, even kill you." There is something we love more than reason in these instances, and it compels us to seek rationality in frighteningly irrational circumstances.Interbane: Perhaps there are some who are so arrogant, that love of themselves is what brings them here, so they may feel pride by out maneuvering others in games of wordsmithing.Is arrogance irrational? At what point does love of self become arrogant...when it becomes unreasonable? Is pride irrational?
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Re: What is reason?

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Love does play a greater role outside areas left to reason, but the things you've mentioned; concentration camps, organized crime, and family abuse to name three, have never directly affected me. More often it's the case where again I use reason as much or more than love. In school, in planning business, in building a database for tracking business finances, in driving(sorry, I'm more of a road rager), video games, reading. Yes, love does come into play in all these, just as it does in the forums, but it's not primarily what we use, except in reading fiction, I love the books I'm currently reading.
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