Three a week: Reason

We are rational beings. Few things make less sense. Three questions:

Question 1: What is rationality?

Put “reason” in perspective. On one tiny speck in the universe, there are little creatures who walk around and discern “right” from “wrong”. What an odd situation it is, indeed, to have the existence¬†of something like comprehension. Good luck finding that anywhere else in the universe.

Question 2: Can we trust reason?

If it is the case that humans are entirely physical, that our rational brains are confined to the physical universe, how much weight can we give our own beliefs? If ideas can be reduced to chemicals, why in the world would we think we have access to something like objective truth, when we are completely, inescapably physical beings? Physical things do not have a truth value. A chair is not “true”. Chemicals are not “true”. So why in the world (where in the world) do we get the presumptuous notion that the physical products of our minds, beliefs, have truth values, and can be reliable?

That is, of course, unless the mind is not entirely reducible to physicality.

Question 3: Well, how can we trust reason?

How can one know whether or not a belief is truly objective? Are there unchanging criteria by which we can judge the accuracy of a statement. How can we know?

Of course, what does “trust” imply? If the possibility of being wrong exists, it must be in contrast to being right. Falsehood can not exist without truth. Indeed, by questioning the accuracy of a belief, we are acknowledging and presuming the existence of logic. Logic just might be how you can always judge certain beliefs to be right or wrong.

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