Friday, July 29, 2005

Reason and Logic - what's the difference?

Reason and logic might seem to be very similar concepts, and it would seem that someone using stringent logical syllogisms is also engaging in "Reasoned" thinking. However, there is a very important difference -- the difference lies in what becomes abstract philosophizing versus what becomes a genuine search for truth and clarity in understanding. Anyone well-versed in the rules and principles of logic can create air-tight logical arguments without it having ANYTHING at all to do with any kind of truth or reality! One could always be logical in their thinking, but could be so seperated from reality that almost all their conclusions will have no relevance to truth or existence. For example, a religious person can begin with a premise of faith and then build upon it very strong syllogistic arguments. One case in particular would be Anselm's Ontological argument for the existence of God, which I have refuted in previous posts. This platonic method of philosophizing has been adopted by many philosophers who divorce any grounding of their thoughts from reality and end up with conclusions that are very logical but so abstract that there is no practical application of those ideas in life, and if those logical conclusions are forced into practice, it usually has contradictory, negative, or misguided consequences. The ONLY way to truly understand REALITY and find guidance for our ACTIONS in this real and physical world is to FULLY INTEGRATE the principles and facts of REALITY INTO OUR LOGICAL syllogisms! And this is the meaning of REASONED or Rational thinking. It is like building a house. If you wish to build a strong and sturdy house that will last atleast your own life-time, you must build it in compliance with the reality of your surroundings. In other words, you must understand the nature and consistency of the soil, you must have knowledge about where your foundations are going to be, where your crucial supporting pillars are going to rest, etc. etc. You cannot just DREAM up a house and try to conform the reality of the location to YOUR idea of the house. Nor can you just assume that one can NEVER know anything in certainty about the nature of your location and how to build a house and so merely attempt feeble approximations at building the foundations to your house. One should use real facts, objective truths, and universal axioms as fundamental premises to ALL their logical and physical constructions. For example, Cartesian and Kantian solutions to escape from the problem of solipsism is based on very good logic. Decartes ends up with logically sound conclusions that lead him to the idea of God as the originator of our experiences of reality, and it has to be true because God does not deceive, he says. The logic is good, but it is fully divorced from the crucial facts of REALITY. Instead of basing his logical premises on the axioms of existence and consciousness, Decartes basis it on erroneous assumption that existence outside of our self-consciousness does not exist, only our consciousness can be accepted as an axiom. Kant, on the other hand, leads up to logical conclusions that were considered "revolutionary" because he said that the entire REALITY of existence rests upon individual's consciousness and experience! Thus, according to Kant, our experience of reality makes it real for us. According to him, if we did not have the consciousness to experience, then reality simply does not exist for us. It's clear that Decartes and Kant were engaging in abstract philosophizing without any regard for reality itself. In fact, they doubted the very fundamental fact that ANYTHING was real. These influential forces of thought created future philosophers who believed in many things including Empiricism (where all knowledge is only degrees of certainty and that it can only be gained through repetitive experience, i.e. there is a 0.0005% chance that there is a rhino next to me right now) and Rationalism (where knowledge can be gained purely through the rational and logical method without NEEDING ANY REAL EXPERIENCE, i.e. even if I were not here to experience it, I can logically deduce that a rhino cannot be next to me because it is usually in a Zoo, and I'm in my office at work right now). Clearly, philosophers have deluded themselves in their pursuit of understanding the world through such broken systems of epistemology. One must fully understand the nature of what such philosophizing does: it allows you to entertain whatever abstract ideas you want, however contrary to reality, or absurd, or abstract, or immoral or untrue, and simply say that that is purely theorizing and that you don't actually practice it. This divorce of ideas from actions is a contradiction of the very nature of Humans. Humans function on the survival mechanism of THOUGHT and IDEAS. Those are our TOOLS to actually survive and thrive in this real and physical world. If our ideas are not based on integrate the information from the real world and coming up with methods of surviving and thriving in this real world, then our ideas are useless to our survival... we might as well starve and die, and the whole while think about unicorns! This does not mean creativity and imagination should be discouraged. Infact, quite the opposite. This means creativity and imagination is always guided by a very clear and mature understanding of real contexts, real environments, believable scenarios, and identifiable creations. If I were to write a work of literature where the protagonist was an Isosceles Triangle and the antagonist was an Equi-lateral Triangle... I could construct a very logical progression of events and situations in an imaginary quadrangular world with geometrical theorems for laws... but I'm sure to have lost almost all of my audience because my creativity and imagination is so dramatically divorced from any identifiable commentary on reality that it is simply unintelligible and laborious. When it comes to the issue of morality and behavior, all our philosophies of life MUST bear some clear commentary on practical situations so that it can guide our actions in those situations. Rational thinking puts all your philosophizing into a clear focus based on real situations, real contexts, and real principles. The very notion of philosophizing rests on the principle that concrete reality exists which is your brain which gives rise to consciousness which is the faculty of awareness with which it is aware of itself (reality) and of everything else (other real existents).


Blogger Semperviva said...

OH MY GOSH !!!!!
OK I HAVENT' READ THIS YET BUT I WAS THINKING ABOUT THIS YESTERDAY AND I HATE LOGIC i took the class twice and failed it both times NOT becuase i'm dumb but i think because i refused to think in that little box--I HATE HATE HATE IT



to them its wrong BECUASE IT IS REASONING IN A
blinded little box

OK SORRY FOR THE CAPS LOL but reality is not neccesarily conformed to that little so i have no idea whaat yer article says yet but i felt like

7/31/2005 07:12:00 PM  

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