The Necessity of Reason

And so in these last two posts, we have arrived at the necessity of an omnipotent being within the scope of reason.  I here intend to address the question that I have hitherto answered only in part: Why reason?  Of course, it is ultimately impossible to give a reasonable answer to such a question because it questions the very scope in which such an answer would have to exist, but the question itself may nonetheless arise within the scope of reason.  That is, even a reasonable man may ask the question at some point, but to answer it, we must turn to the unreasonable.

It is here that I will, as I mentioned at the beginning of the first of these posts, venture into a less functional scope.  This argument will indubitably seem circular–it is–but it is not circular reasoning because it is not reasoning at all.  I am merely trying to identify the qualities and ramifications of the scope of reason, and then allow the reader to decide where he or she stands on the matter or identify the position that he or she has already taken.  The unreasonable is no matter of logic, but of rhetoric.

First of all, lets consider the functionality of our reason on a simple level: on the level of natural science.  We see patterns in nature all the time and consequentially draw the conclusion that these patterns will most likely continue to exist.  And after drawing that conclusion for which there is no evidence, we run “scientific experiments” in which we identify these patterns and come up with some sort of model that can be used to predict the physical outcome of a system assuming the identified patterns repeat themselves.  So far, to my knowledge, we have observed the patterns to hold true one hundred percent of the time.  “We have no reason to believe the sun will rise tomorrow,” but it always has.  In my mind, the remarkable thing about this is not so much the fact that the patterns exist (in fact, I could hardly say I’d be all that surprised if the patterns were disrupted one of these days; they are not absolute truths) but rather that humanity has been able to come up with working models of them.  The conclusion, then, from all this is that human reasoning is valid, at lest to some extent, if used properly.

Notice the circular quality of such a conclusion.  I am using some evidence that only has value within the scope of reason (i.e. beyond reason, it might not mean anything at all that humanity is able to create working models of patterns; a “pattern” is, as the naturalists would say, a human invented concept) and then applying it within the scope of reason (i.e. reaching a conclusion based on evidence). Therefore, I have, in reality, not proved anything here, but I have rhetorically identified the scope of reason relative to itself.  This is about all that can be done with a scope–it can be identified relative to other scopes.  But reason is the mother of all scopes, it is the “Omnipotent” scope, if you will.  It parallels in scopes what the omnipotent is in reality.  It exists relative only to itself; to be believed in or not.  For that matter, the omnipotent and the scope of reason are very much like an inseparable package: one must either believe in both or neither as he or she feels is best, but it makes no sense (admittedly within the scope of reason) to believe in one and not the other.

No one comes into philosophy disbelieving in reason just as no one comes into the world disbelieving in God or ethics, but hell has its reasons, and many would sooner deny that which is most naturally within them–their very heart–then bend their stubborn knees to an all powerful creator that would make himself to rule over them and take away their precious freedom.

Oh that precious freedom, some would sacrifice anything for it–even freedom.

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One thought on “The Necessity of Reason

  1. So far, to my knowledge, we have observed the patterns to hold true one hundred percent of the time.

    Early on the pattern was that rest was the natural state, since obviously anything you didn’t push on came to a rest. Galileo proved that wrong. Early on the pattern was that obviously the sun went around the Earth; anyone could see that. We know that’s wrong. The patterns we observe are frequently wrong as are the models we create (e.g. epicycles and phlogiston, for example)!

    With regard to the belief that the sun will rise tomorrow, look into something called “Justified True Belief.” It’s the philosophical term for what we commonly call “knowing” something.

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